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Bad College Application Essay: 4 Mistakes You Must Avoid

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Even the brightest of us worry about getting into a college of their dreams, because even if you have good grades and perfect test scores, you might still fail. Why does it happen? Because these days it’shard to surprise college admission board with good grades (especially if we are talking about the best colleges of your country). Sure, admission boards do check out students’ grades but they don’t settle with them – instead, they try to find out more about the person behind these grades. And that’s what the college application essays are for.

Your essay could be the key to you getting into your dream college, but only if it’s written well enough. That’s where the hardest part begins: while most of us know the basics of application essay writing, this still doesn’t stop some of us from making mistakes that can ruin everything.

That’s why today I want to tell you about 4 main mistakes you must avoid while working on college application essay.

1.Not putting enough effort into it

Did you know that one of the most common mistakes students make is also one of the most obvious? They simply change the name of a college in their essay, thus showing the admission board that they wrote only one essay, and then send it to all colleges.

A personal approach is necessary if you want to get into your dream college. That’s why you shouldn’t save time on your research, you shouldn’t write your essay in one day, and, of course, you shouldn’t write one essay for all colleges.

Remember that college is the place that will shape your future and the place where you will spend the next few years of your life, so don’t take it too easy. Research well and try to tailor every essay to the college you’re going to send it to. To do so, focus on the things that are the most important for a certain college in your essay.

And don’t forget about grammar: be sure to reread your essay at least a couple of times and eliminate every mistake you find.

2.Trying too hard

We all know that it’s important to impress the admission board.However, some students take this advice too literally, coming up with the craziest things just to demonstrate their creativity. There’s a fine line between creativity and weirdness, but some find it hard to see.

Remember, that while writing about your personal experience is completely okay, adding details that might seem too personal or even intimate is definitely not a good thing. If you have doubts, better ask someone’s advice or avoid writing about things that seem doubtful to you.

Moreover,over-emphasizing your accomplishments isn’t a good thing to do too.It doesn’t look sincere and might force the admission board to question your other achievements (even if they are real). Don’tbrag too much and don’t lie about your success – instead, focus on your real achievements and skills and try to sound sincere and modest.

3. Adding too many details

While things like test scores and extracurricular activities are definitely important, there’s no need to mention them in details in your college application essay. The admission board knows about these things already, and if you start describing them again, you might look like you are bragging or trying too hard.

Of course, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t mention them at all.However, be sure that it looks natural and happens because you want to strengthen your point of view with some examples.

Sometimes, students also add too many personal details, and that could be a bad thing. For example, when a student writes that they want to get into a certain college because three generations of their family studied there, it doesn’t look like a valid argument – more like bragging. Avoid this at all costs.

4.Writing it poorly

Some write college application essay like a school essay, adding too many quotes, using clichés, and so on. It’s a bad thing to do because such essays don’t look personal at all.

Another bad thing to do is to write your application essay like if you were a real writer. Both these approaches actually don’t show the person behind the writing at all, and so the main goal of an essay isn’t achieved.

Every application essay is read by the admission board and so, the best approach is to address these people in your writing. Sure, you don’t know them at all, but you probably could imagine what kind of people they are and what kind of writing they would appreciate. Make interesting and personal, but not too personal at the same time.Avoid using slang and language that could look inappropriate and avoid being too formal too. Basically, write an essay that would be interesting for you to read.

And, of course, don’t forget to take your time. There’s no need to rush when it comes to writing such an important paper: the faster you do it, the more mistakes you make and the rawer it seems.

Prepare well, spend a few days on research, come up with some kind of a structure and with a writing plan if it helps you. Then move on to the writing. It’s a good thing if you can afford to put your finished essay aside for a couple of days and rereading it after.This way, you will be able to not only spot all the mistakes and typos but also to notice all the flaws and edit them out. That why, no matter how scary and responsible the whole writing process looks, you still shouldn’t put it aside until the last moment –the earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to make your essay good enough.

I hope that these tips will help you write your college application essay and impress the admission board in a good way. I wish you good luck with getting into the college of your dreams!


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