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What to Avoid in Your College Essays

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College essays are required when applying to a majority of institutions and are notoriously intimidating to approach. However, you do not need to be an excellent or passionate writer to draft an amazing college essay. To become comfortable with this task, it is beneficial to break the process down into understandable parts. A college admissions essay may prompt students to provide more information about themselves or ask students questions pertaining to their interest in the university. This allows students to provide unique insight on their personalities and their ambitions for the future, as well as have their authentic voices shine through their writing.

When beginning to write your college essays, there are endless tips of advice to follow, points to cover, and boxes to check off. What topics, however, should you not include? Try not to summarize a list of past accomplishments. Colleges have access to your transcripts and resumes; they likely have a sense of your academic strengths already. Rather, use your college essays as opportunities to highlight your character and charisma. If one of your achievements plays a significant role in your personality, then write about it in an compelling way that extends beyond merely recapping the event. Instead, bring yourself back to that moment: explain your feelings and the work ethic that brought you this situation of success. Further, research the university in the right way. While it is easy for students to simply look up and write about the average class sizes and the number of undergraduates in attendance, college admissions offices want to read about your role at the institution, not the facts they are already aware of. Instead, go to the university’s website and look through the academic and extra-curricular programs they offer. Writing about specific courses, majors, and clubs on campus will encourage college admissions offices to picture you at their university.

Remember that college essays should be personal and interesting to read. Admissions offices read thousands of essays each year, so don’t hesitate to write in an engaging manner that extends beyond academia.

By Anna Marguleas


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