Common college application essay mistakes
If you're looking at online college degrees or signing up for a traditional four-year program, you'll probably have to write an essay as part of your application. Although it's certainly not the be-all and end-all of your application, it's definitely one of the most important parts, and you should make sure your essay is as good as it possibly can be. Here are a few examples of things not to do in your college application essay:
• Don't make jokes: Even if your friends and family are always telling you that you're a riot, resist the temptation to make jokes in your essay. Remember that college admissions officials have to read thousands of essays, and the last thing you want to do is hurt your chances of acceptance by having a joke fall flat.
• Be original: This one is harder than it sounds. Maybe you really do volunteer at a homeless shelter in your spare time, but one of the most common mistakes some students make in college application essays is trying to tell admissions officials what they think they want to hear. Admissions officers want to see the real you, and even if you're passionate about volunteer work, try to think of an original way to say it. Don't forget - admissions officials have seen it all before, so resist the temptation to paint yourself in a less-than-honest light.
• Write with a little perspective: Sure, maybe high school was one of the most defining periods in your life, and that's great. However, college application essays should be written with some insight into how those experiences fit into the bigger picture. Rather than dwell on the events of the past, show admission officials that you've got your sights set on bigger things. Demonstrating that you can write - and think - with a little perspective is a good idea.
• Don't brag: Even if you've got a list of accomplishments as long as your arm, don't use your essay as a platform to talk about how great you are. It's important to recognize achievement, and there's nothing wrong with taking pride in your actions, but most college applications give you space to list your accomplishments, so don't do it in your essay. If you must talk about the things you've done, focus on what you learned from your experiences, not necessarily what you did.