The 10 Most Common Mistakes When Writing College Essays

The 10 Most Common Mistakes When Writing College Essays

Writing a college essay can be very stressful, but if done correctly you will see your chances of getting accepted increase. However, there are many mistakes students make when writing one that can decrease their acceptance rate.

Here are the top 10 mistakes often made when writing a college essay:

10. Being too vague

While it is important to choose a topic that interests you, being too vague can be boring for the reader. Your essay should have a clear thesis with evidence from the text in support of this claim.

9. Using poor language and grammar

Poor writing skills in a college essay will very likely result in an instant rejection from the school or college of your choice. Make sure to proofread numerous times before submitting your final draft!

8. Lack of research

Choosing a topic that has not been researched well enough can make for an essay with poor evidence to support the thesis. Make sure to do research before starting on your actual writing!

7. Being too clichéd

This is probably the most common mistake, but it is also one that can be easily fixed if you are aware of it. This means avoiding overused topics that every other student in your school or college will likely write about. For example, sports-related topics often fall into this category. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and this may work for some students who have something unique to say about their chosen topic, so don’t let clichés deter you from writing about something you are passionate about!

6. Being too wordy

College essays are not novels, so you do not need to use several pages to get your point across! Many students fall into the trap of writing too much without enough evidence to support their thesis. This can be very frustrating for the reader and result in a lower score. Keep it concise!

5. Using quotes or passages from books/sources without citing them

This is plagiarism, which will definitely lead to serious consequences if caught. There might be some cases where this may work (e.g., your essay topic is about how an author uses symbolism), but usually, direct quotes should be used sparingly with proper documentation. It is important that you cite all sources properly, whether it’s paraphrased or quoted material. Make sure to always give credit where credit is due!

4. Stretching the truth

This mistake often occurs when students are tempted to write about something they have no experience with, which can lead to obvious fabrications and an essay that falls flat. A good rule of thumb for this type of situation is – if you can’t prove it, then don’t include it in your essay!

3. No clear direction

The most common mistake that occurs when students can’t seem to get started is a lack of clarity in the thesis statement. This means knowing exactly what you want to say before you begin writing.

2. Using flowery language and unnecessary adjectives

You need to be creative, but being so descriptive that your essay bores the reader will have a negative effect on your score. Make sure your tone is conversational and not stiff or pretentious, which can be a turnoff for readers.

1. Not following directions

This includes disregarding required formatting, font size/type, number of sources used, etc., which are usually included in the assignment guidelines given by an admissions committee. Without proper formatting, even brilliant ideas can be overlooked.

Hope you enjoyed reading these tips! Thanks for reading!