Eleven Essay Mistakes to Avoid Like the Plague
Article Type: Checklist
- Don't be offensive.
Hey, we get that it's hip to be edgy. We're with it. But watch that you don't
overstep the bounds of good taste in your essay when ruminating on faith, race,
socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or politics.
controversial political topics. You're in the Tea Party. The admissions officer
is a communist. Step back, everyone, this could get ugly.
- Don't be negative.
It's not okay to talk about your dead dog in your college essay, unless Fido's
death spurred you into caring about the plight of homeless animals so much that
you felt compelled to start your city's first animal shelter.
- Beware the
overshare. There are some things that the admissions office does not need, or
want, to know.
- Don't disparage
the school you're applying to. You're trying to get in, right? Just...just don't do it, okay?
- Don't be “too
creative.”The admissions office at
Vanderbilt is looking for a solid, real, interesting piece of prose, not a
- Don't be arrogant.
Highlight your strengths in your essay, but not at the expense of others.
- Answer the essay
prompt. We've discussed this before, but it's another one of those things we
can't say often enough, rather like “Brush your teeth twice a day” and “Milk
belongs in the fridge, not on the counter.”
- Don't write too
little. There's a word limit attached to your essay, which means that the
admissions office thinks you'll have at least that much to say about
- Remember what your
English teacher taught you. Check for spelling and grammar errors, write in
paragraph form, and don't use profanity.
- Don't spell the name of the college incorrectly. It's“Johns Hopkins”, not “John Hopkins.” Yeesh.
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