October 11, 2016

Worst Common App Essay Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Worst Common App Essay Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
An application essay is a usual requirement when enrolling in a college or university because it allows the admissions department to look into your values and accomplishments other than your academic and extra-curricular records.

In order to submit a good application essay, you must, of course, have good writing skills. There are a lot of essay writing tips you can find online, starting with common app essay mistakes that applicants usually make hindering them from actually constructing an app essay that will manifest their true personality and passion.

There are several common app essay examples online. You can investigate as many as you can and learn as much common app essay tips as possible. Here are the common mistakes and some very useful tips you might want to consider when writing your application essay:

  1. Keep it organized. Before writing down your app essay, make an outline first of how you intend to go about it. This is to ensure that all questions are addressed as well as to keep track of your progress. An essay that lacks structure might confuse your readers and, in turn, fail to show what you really want your audience to know about you.

  2. Do not choose a topic and subject immediately. College and university applicants usually provide a list of topics to write about in their app essays. Before choosing a topic and a subject, look into the list carefully first and consider which one will best portray you in the most desirable way. Consider your passion, your interests, and the subjects you excel in.

  3. Do not beat around the bush. Once you have selected a topic and a subject, make sure to answer the questions. Read them carefully and ensure that every question or topic is accounted. Be particularly attentive to multiple-part questions because this is where applicants usually miss out on some points.

  4. Start with a really good introduction. A good start will encourage the admissions department to read on. This is especially applicable when they are reading thousands of app essays which are already starting to look very generic by then. Make a good impression as early as possible.

  5. Avoid ambiguous answers. Remember, the admissions department wants to see your character and spot your potentials. In order for them to do that, you have to let them into your life through your app essay so avoid constructing an essay that is generic and instead is more specific and descriptive.

  6. Avoid being too lengthy. A lot of common app essay prompts specify the required word count so make sure to strictly follow the limit. The admissions department will look into your ability to understand instructions and follow them accordingly and non-compliance to these instructions could even lead to your disqualification.

  7. Mind your tone. The tone of your essay must maintain a certain level of decorum. After all, it is an academic paper. Try to avoid sounding sarcastic or too humorous. While the goal is for the real you to manifest, you also have to remember that you have to put yourself in the best light possible.

  8. Make it a mutual relationship. Another common mistake that applicants make is sounding too one-sided in their app essays. Do not make it appear that you are only looking forward to the benefits the college or university can offer but also what it can benefit from you.

  9. Do not rely on a single spell checker. Most students will probably draft their app essays in a Word Document which has its own spell checker but do not rely on this solely. You have to double check it yourself and make sure your grammar is perfect. You can, of course, ask a family member or a friend to check for you.

  10. Do not overlook the small things. Remember that good essays do not necessarily have to be grandiose. Simple thoughts and simple words can go as deep as well and even reach out to more audience because it is easier to read and understand. In fact, some of the best and most memorable essays come from the simple conversations but are nevertheless valuable and very engaging.

  11. Avoid writing about volunteer trips. While community service is always a good thing, it will less likely impress the admissions department, not with thousands of other applicants writing about it, too. Remember that you have to make an extra effort for your app essay to stand out so instead of writing about generic answers and experiences, try including something that is out of the box or unique.

  12. Avoid stating the obvious. Your app essay is not a reflection of your resume so do not make it appear like it is. The point of these essays is for the admissions department to look into your values and other characteristics that are otherwise unavailable in academic records. Instead, include things that will showcase your personal qualities such as leadership skills and strength of character.

  13. Do not be too aggressive. There is nothing wrong with being a go-getter but if you cross the line and come out as being too egoistic, it will reflect badly on your application. Try to balance your strengths with weaknesses but make sure to include how you have or intend to overcome these weaknesses.

  14. Do not forget to edit and proofread. Never submit an essay after the first draft. Essays require editing and proofreading more than twice to ensure that your thoughts are aligned and your grammar is perfect. You might want to wait a few hours or even a day after your finish your first draft to edit to make sure that you are looking at it with fresh eyes and perspective to easily spot errors and mistakes.

  15. Do not miss the deadline. You have to thoroughly plan out your application by making a timeline to track your progress. Start early, research the requirements, make a checklist, and ensure you follow it accordingly. Try to spare extra time in case you need to make more revisions than intended.

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