College Admission Essay Dos and Don’ts

November 14, 2022
By AdmissionSight

College Admission Essay Dos and Don’ts

Your ability to craft a college admission essay that is both well-written and compelling can make all the difference in the world in terms of determining whether or not your application will be approved. When the admissions committee must pick between you and another applicant who possesses comparable qualifications, a compelling essay may tip the scales in your favor and sway your decision.

You have the opportunity to express your unique personality and indicate that you have given careful consideration to the reasons why you would be a good fit for the college that you are applying to through the essay that you will submit with your application.

Unidentified woman studying on a table strewn with paper.

It demonstrates both your dedication to education and your enthusiasm to make a positive contribution to the community of the school of your dreams. Your essay not only serves as evidence of your writing skills but also provides an opportunity for you to convey who you are through your application.

In order to assist you in writing an outstanding essay for college entrance, we have developed the following list of dos and don’ts:

What not to do in college admission essay?

What not to do in your application essay for college? The following is a list of some of the things you should steer clear of when writing a great essay for college entrance.

Don’t go on and on about all of your achievements.

Even if admissions officers are interested in hearing about how outstanding you are, your achievements don’t tell them anything about who you are (listing them may reveal cockiness or boastfulness). You can learn a lot about yourself via thoughtfulness, contemplation, and even vulnerability. In addition to that, there is also a section on the application for you to list your achievements.

Don’t cover too many topics or themes at once.

Keep it simple. Most of the time, the most successful essays are the ones in which the author is able to present a basic but compelling story centered on a single topic. One is more than enough!

Don’t inform an admissions officer about your past experiences!

Share your experience with a knowledgeable companion. When they picture an admissions officer reading their work, a lot of students become nervous and start writing in a manner that is unnecessarily professional and rigid.

Even if it’s said in a straightforward manner, the communication that you have with friends is straightforward and genuine. This voice will almost invariably produce a better college admission essay than anything that is unduly lengthy or scholarly in tone.

Don’t “go for laughs” just because you’ve heard that it helps since it’s not true (which it can).

The art of comedy, particularly when put into literature, is fraught with difficulty and is very subjective. A little bit of wit goes a long way (it demonstrates genuine personality and intelligence), but trying to write an entire essay using comedy might not work out so well.

Don’t wait until the last minute to write your essay.

If you’re having problems starting on your essay, try making a list of potential themes, collaborating with some pals, and writing a first draft that’s not very good. It takes time to become a good writer, therefore you should begin as soon as you possibly can.

View of a male student studying in a library writing his college admission essay

It makes no difference if the initial draft of your essay is terrible because the more time you have, the more you will be able to improve it.

Avoid writing about topics that are overused or too prevalent.

Such as the loss of a beloved pet or the accomplishment of achieving a major goal. Sometimes students have the erroneous notion that colleges expect a particular style of essay from them, such as a story about overcoming adversity, a useful lesson learned, a meaningful exchange with people of diverse cultures, or something along those lines. It’s probably a cliché if it has an overly familiar sound to it.

Don’t make the same point twice.

When used intentionally, repetition in written work can be quite effective. In poetry, for instance, this technique is frequently used to generate rhythm and to linger on a particular thought or image.

However, in order to avoid going over the allotted number of words for your college essay, try to be as succinct as you can. Make sure that your essay is as concise as possible, it can be by eliminating any unnecessary repetition, which is a telltale indicator of shoddy writing.

Don’t squander words.

For instance, rather than saying “I recall when I was five,” simply state “when I was five.” Also, be cautious not to include adverbs that aren’t essential, such as words that finish in -ly, such as rapidly or abruptly.

Your work may become difficult to read if you use an excessive number of terms such as just, really, or really. If you are experiencing problems with this, you can consider having an instructor or tutor revise your essay for wordiness.

Do not undervalue the impact that a well-written, compelling essay may have.

It is important to emphasize that essays play a significant role in the selection process for colleges. They differentiate one student from others who have submitted applications that are comparable, whether for the better or for the worse. The more that universities can engage with you on your personal website, the harder they will work to get you admitted.

What to do in college admission essay?

How to approach the application essay for college? Below is a list of useful tips for writing an essay that will impress college admissions officers.

Choose a topic, and continue discussing It.

Provide an answer to the topic posed in the prompt, and make effective use of structure to tell a compelling story throughout your essay.

Bare your soul… judiciously.

Some of the most compelling essays written for college applications are those that discuss a personal or family tragedy, illness, or sadness. If you decide to write about something that is really close to your heart, the reader should get the impression that you have conquered the challenge and are better or stronger as a result of it.

Young woman eating on a table and looking out the window.

But if that isn’t the case, it’s possible that the content isn’t the greatest it could be — colleges want to know that you will arrive at college well-prepared and ready to give it your all.

The best way to tell a story is to provide as many specifics as you can.

Telling the committee how terrific you are isn’t as effective as showing them your impact and the human characteristics you possess through an engaging narrative. Even if you require details, you should avoid coming to judgments about the “meaning of the narrative.”

Check to see that the essay focuses on you and not someone else.

For instance, when students are asked to write about someone they care about, they may end up writing more about the other person than they do about themselves. In this situation, you should concentrate on the ways in which that person influenced the values, ambitions, and strengths that you hold.

Keep in mind that colleges read your essays in order to understand more about you; your essay’s focus should be on you.

Find your own unique style.

Some college admission essays feature conversation; some have none. Some are narrative-driven; some are contemplation-driven. Some of them illuminate a special facet of your life and history, while others are connected to your academic interests. There is no one correct style.

Some educational institutions adore pupils who exhibit such audacity and creativity, while others adhere to more conventional teaching methods and could look askance at it. Get in touch with admissions coaches and counselors to receive direction on how to best present yourself to the school of your dreams.

It’s better to show than to explain.

The people reading your application want a clear picture of who you are. When you pick up one of your favorite novels, you’ll immediately be drawn in by the vivid scenes and particular details that are described in the book.

If you want your reader to remember moments from your college admission essay long after they’ve finished reading it, be sure to include sensory specifics in what you write (things like what you see, hear, feel, and smell) and steer clear of generalizations and summaries.

Solicit the opinions of those you hold in high regard.

It takes a village to raise a writer! However, you should choose your counselors wisely, particularly when it comes to selecting a topic for your paper. Many times, parents have the misconception that they know their children better than their children do. It’s possible that this is true, but what most parents don’t understand is how the college admissions process works.

View of two women taking on a table.

You should discuss your essay with someone who is knowledgeable about the college admissions process, such as a college counselor, an English teacher, or one of our admissions coaches. In conclusion, it is imperative that you follow your instincts and settle this matter on your own.

Put an emphasis, or a “grand” ending, on the theme of your story.

And make sure you end on a note of significance for your reader to carry with them. Consider the topic in the context of your entire life, your family, your community, your nation, and the world at large rather than limiting it to the parameters of the story you are telling.

College is all about thinking on a higher level. Demonstrate to the readers that you are already engaged in some activity.

Keep revising!

This point can’t be emphasized enough by us. Even if you think your essay is perfect after reading only the first draft, you should have faith that there is always an opportunity for growth. We typically find that a strong essay requires a minimum of four rounds of revisions before it is ready for a final polish. Rewriting is the key to unlocking the potential of your writing.

Out loud reading of your essay.

When you read out loud, you discover instances where our brains eliminate words without our awareness; this is something that admissions officers will notice, and as a result, they will reject your application. Be cautious, however, because there are situations in which something that is appropriate in spoken language can be incorrect when it is written down.

Two students talking near a building.

It takes time to create original work, so make sure you give yourself enough headroom before any deadlines. At the eleventh hour, one is not likely to have a creative epiphany.

Carefully proofread the grammar and spelling.

After you have written, reviewed, and reread your essay hundreds of times, it is going to feel as if it is impossible to spot any grammatical or syntactical problems that you may have made. Because of this, it is quite vital to have other people proofread your essay, not only to check for misspellings but also to evaluate the essay’s style and content. If at all possible, you should have an English instructor or a specialized consultant look through your work.

College admission essay topics that stand out

What are those college admission essay topics that stand out? The following is a collection of helpful guidelines that can be used when choosing topics:

  • Topics that hold a significant place in your heart. Your conversation will flow more easily and sound more natural if you stick to subjects that are meaningful to you
  • Be genuine and communicate how you’re feeling. Never lose sight of the fact that this is ultimately your essay. Writing essays for college applications can be an instructive and exciting process all the way through.

You have a lot to be proud of, both in terms of what you’ve accomplished so far and what you still have to give colleges. Your personal voice should come through clearly in the essay you write.

  • Be positive. For instance, rather than writing about how physics has been your greatest area of struggle – your own personal kryptonite – you could characterize it as a challenge that taught you the importance of self-discipline and the most efficient use of your time instead.

You should not utilize the fact that your grades have suffered because of a death in the family, a significant illness, or any other extenuating circumstances as a topic for your personal statement. You should save this explanation for a more in-depth explanation later.

  • Appeal to the reader’s senses in order to capture their attention (feelings, smells, sounds, sights). Literacy and fluency in one’s native language are essential assets to have at this point in the game. If you are experiencing writer’s block, consider warming up by reading the first and ending paragraphs of your favorite novel to generate some inspiration.
  • Do not simply restate the information that is on your resume or activities list. First things first, if you’ve never had any of the life experiences that are being asked about in the prompt, don’t lie about it. If you aren’t being honest, admissions officers won’t believe the story you tell them. There are always prompts that are up to your discretion, so the narrative you select for your essay does not need to perfectly meet each and every one of the prompts.

Need Help with Your College Admission Essay?

Reach out! At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. From choosing school subjects in high school to preparing your college essays, AdmissionSight got you covered. Schedule an appointment for an initial consultation now.


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