Show how you fit into the campus culture and how you will impact the community through specific examples.DON’T say what you think the admissions office wants to hear.Spelling and grammar errors can take away from an otherwise stellar essay – so be mindful. This is one of the most common mistakes that students make.
Your college counselor can provide valuable insight into how to improve your college application essays, so seek feedback on your drafts as soon as possible.
School-based counselors have a lot of students to advise and are very busy, so seek guidance early and often.
While it’s important to put considerable effort into all college application components, essays are often the finishing touch and should be treated with great care and consideration.
Here are some college application essay dos and don’ts for students to keep in mind as they complete their applications this fall.
When writing about a meaningful experience or event, you don’t have to give a long timeline of events.
Instead, give the reader the piece of the puzzle that conveys your message. With upwards of 25 or more essays to write for a balanced college list of 10-12 schools, it’s tempting for students to repurpose essays across applications if the prompts are similar.So many students think that they “know” what colleges want from an applicant, and this can have a big influence over their essays.Students will abuse the thesaurus and write about strange topics in an effort to impress and stand out.Take the time to read over all your essays carefully and keep an eye out for things like “out” when you meant to say “our” and other common typos.Have a parent or counselor read over the essay, too, to catch any errors you might have missed.Take the time to write original responses to all the prompts.It’s a lot of work, but it will pay off in the end. When tailoring responses to individual college prompts, it’s important to use specific details you’ve learned through visiting and research.While the Common Application prompts for the main essay are general enough to allow students to write about whatever they choose, it still needs to be clear how that essay addresses the prompt. Check and double check that a clear connection is made between the topic or lesson of your essay, and the question the prompt is asking. If you’re applying to 10 colleges and wait until two weeks before applications are due, you’re going to have a lot of writing to complete in a very short amount of time.Waiting until the last minute leads to stress and rushed essays that don’t accurately convey your message.The college application essays are often the college application component where students experience the most stress, and the element where they’re more likely to make mistakes.College admissions essays, from personal statements to school-specific supplements, are not rocket science, but there are a number of steps that students can take to put together the most accurate and compelling essays that will help their chances of gaining admission to their top-choice colleges.