Do’s and don’ts of the college application essay

You can stand out to college admissions officers on your application essay as long as you follow these tips.

Do’s and don’ts of the college application essay

Writing Essays

The application essay is your chance to let admissions officers know that there’s more to you than just grades and SAT scores—and it’s an opportunity that you should maximize.

As an admissions officer myself, I can tell you that we certainly do read your essays—each and every one. Your essay sets the tempo for your candidacy, and along with the interview, gives the admissions staff a sense of who you really are.

So what advice can I give to a stressed essayist?

Remember the cardinal rule of writing an application essay: Your reader should know you better after reading your work. It’s important to keep in mind that you are the star of your essay, so be sure to involve yourself in your topic.

Make sure your topic is one you are passionate about; “What I Did on my Summer Vacation” isn’t going to cut it. Be creative. And most of all, be yourself when writing your essay.

Here are some other application essay do’s and don’ts.

Do’s
• Begin writing early in the process to give yourself time to revise.
• Write, rewrite and polish your essay.
• Show your essay to people whose opinion you value, but don’t have parents or teachers craft your essay for you.
• Check your grammar—clear out any fragments, run-on sentences, comma splices, split infinitives, etc.
• Type your essay if at all possible.
• Be specific and descriptive.
• Vary your sentence structure. Avoid repetition of compound sentences filled with prepositional phrases. Use simple, short sentences to give power to important points.
• Show us your weaknesses as well as your strengths—they make you uniquely you.
• Incorporate humor (with good taste). Make us laugh, and your essay will stand out.
 
Don’t
• Avoid being wordy, overblown or flowery.
• Stay away from colloquial, folksy or overly informal words such as “very,” “a lot,” “cool,” “awesome” and “nice.”
• Avoid clichés, such as “…as American as apple pie.”
• Don’t leave us hanging. Make sure there are no ideas
introduced without being fully discussed.
• Avoid using the same words over (and over and over) again.

 



Comments



Trending Articles

Your Path College Search






Register Step 1 of 2

Note:
* Indicates required fields.
+1
USA
Add Interest

By pressing the continue button, I hereby consent to receive autodialed and/or pre-recorded calls from NextStepU and their partners, regarding their products and services, at the phone number above. I understand that consent is not a condition for attending any school.

  • Oops! Seems there were some errors above..
×

Login Required

  • Your Path

    Your Path

    Get customized college, life and career planning with step-by-step instruction and resources, all catered specifically to you.

    Register FreeSign In
  • Scholarships

    Scholarship Search

    Find over 2.2 million scholarships catered to a wide variety of your interests and strengths.

    Register FreeSign In
×
Enter here to Win $10,000!