Score our Exclusive Video Brainstorming Guide and more!

Don’t Make These Mistakes in Your College Essay

Ivy Divider

The admissions essay is a crucial part of your college application because it is the only chance you have to communicate with admissions officers in your own voice. You need to take advantage of every word at your disposal and send the message that you’re the kind of student that colleges should want on their campuses.

We have been reading admissions essays for over thirteen years now, and we have identified the three most common mistakes students make while writing their college essays. So don’t:

Repeat the prompt in your essay

You only have so many words, sometimes as many as 1,000 in the case of Villanova, and sometimes as few as 150 in the case of Harvard. Don’t waste words regurgitating the same prompt admissions officers have already read a thousand times. They know the prompts by heart, trust us. Also, it’s plain boring! Start your essay off with something that hooks the reader, not puts them to sleep. 

Try to sound like an academic

You’re a teenager with a soon-to-be High School diploma, admissions officers aren’t expecting you to sound like the most well-read PhD student on the planet! Word choice is important to convey meaning and capture the moment, but there’s no need for you to be using words you wouldn’t use in everyday life. It will come off as phony and manufactured.

Use cliches

We know you know cliches are on the outs, but it bears repeating, don’t use cliches! Your grandma might think you’re the diamond in the rough, one in a million, and a needle in a haystack (and you may very well be!), but find another way to describe yourself that doesn’t include phrases old ladies use over bridge. There are other ways to emphasize your uniqueness. 

Do you prefer getting your information in video format? Check out our video on this topic below!

Want an expert to take a look at your essay?
Ivy Divider

We're here to help.

Share this page:

Want free stuff?