Let’s face it; essays are a big part of a lot of college applications. It’s understandable why; colleges and universities want to know exactly who they are considering accepting to their school. Essays allow recruiters and admissions personnel to see how well you write and how well you communicate through writing. Can you get your point across? Can you answer the essay questions without going off on a tangent? These things matter. What if you aren’t sure how to write an essay for a college application? Here are some things you want to avoid when writing your essay.
1. Using Words That Are Too Complex
Colleges love an intelligent student, but can spot when someone is gloating. Avoid using a thesaurus to find the most complex words for every sentence. Do not be afraid to show your smarts, but don’t overdo it. A good rule of thumb is to write more formal than you normally would. Write your age. The staff in admissions is not expecting you to write like a physical science professor who has been teaching for fifty years.
2. Using Informal Language
It is easy to type how we text, be careful of this and make sure you are punctuating correctly and using a language that is appropriate for your age.
3. Beating Around the Bush
I understand that some essays have a length requirement. However, before you start typing, make sure you picked an answer or a topic you can easily elaborate on. This will keep you from using filler words to make your essay longer. These are professionals you’re dealing with; they have seen it all and know when someone is struggling to find relevant words to complete their essay. They will not be impressed by this. Be straight and get to the point quickly.
4. Weighing Heavy on a Sob Story
You’re an adult now. It is important for you to realize that a sob story can only get you so far, and sometimes it won’t get you anywhere. You go through things that seem almost impossible to get through, but so does everyone else. I especially encourage anyone with a sob story that is unrelated to pursuing an education to keep from including that in your essay. Anyone whose story has encouraged them to push through and continue school, it wouldn’t hurt to mention it. But, be mindful that admissions representatives have probably heard a similar story a few dozen times. Keep your focus on your goals and you have a better chance of impressing the school you’re applying to.
5. Forgetting to Get Your Essay Proofread
It is very important you let a couple of people read your essay to check for any spelling or grammar mistakes. It is a lot easier for someone else to catch these than it is for you.
6. Using a Format That’s Unprofessional and Hard to Read
To play it safe, I would stick to using 12 point font and Times New Roman. This is usually a standard format that everyone is used to. Make sure to space between new paragraphs or ideas and punctuate correctly when needed.
College essays don’t have to be scary. It is a lot easier when you know exactly how to answer a question or discuss a topic, but don’t let a difficult topic keep you from applying to a school you really want to go to. You can always ask a former teacher or your parents for help getting you in the right direction.
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