Things You DON’T Want In Your College Admission Essay

Lisa R. Parker

These days, it seems that university admission committees think that acing your SATs, boosting your GPA, and having glowing recommendations are not good enough to guarantee admission to your dream school. After the entrance exams and submission of other requirements, they still require you to write a college admission essay. True, the essay is an added work, but it is your opportunity to market yourself to your dream university. Application essays allow you another opportunity to convince the school board to accept you. It also gives the board an overview of how you are as a student and individual. Therefore, the prospect of writing your college application essay must not be taken lightly – your essay can spell the difference between acceptance and rejection.

Even if a college admission essay is your chance to express yourself, it requires good and effective writing. Just typing something up does not qualify as an admission essay – this is your best bet if you want your essay to meet the document shredder. Good and effective writing means that you have to curb your enthusiasm for self-expression and be on guard about things that have the potential to ruin your essay. A study on admission essays submitted in recent years show several common mistakes. These mistakes range from content to grammatical mistakes – the very things you don’t want in your essay.

Most universities provide guide questions for essay writing but you don’t have to answer each one in detail unless they expressly ask you to do so. The questions were just provided to give you an idea what to write about. But candidates often write mile-long essays thinking that the longer the college application essay is, the more impressive. This is contrary to what admission officials are saying. Compositions that are unnecessarily lengthy are thought of as lacking in language mastery and clear thinking. Lengthy essays often lose focus and become circuitous while too short essays come up, well, short. Take out unnecessary words like too many adjectives, and instead, focus on using nouns and verbs. A good application essay should be concise but informative and interesting.

Speaking of being informative and interesting, resumes, SAT scores, and GPAs are not crucial in a college admission essay. They are not interesting and they do not provide new information about you. The admission board has your resume and academic records — they don’t need these in your essay. Brown-nosing and excessive praise for the university do not impress admission officials. They are great and they know it. They also know what they can do for their students, so you don’t have to remind them. Take all these details out of your essay; nobody needs them. Come up and write about a topic that you feel passionate about to showcase your strengths as an individual. An essay about your stint as a volunteer is more interesting than grade enumeration.

Of course, good writing also means good grammar. College application essays with spelling errors give the impression of sloppiness. So do essay with errors in grammar and punctuation. Grammar books are effective solutions for these problems. Write a draft of your college application letter and reread it. Having other people – especially your English teacher – to read and point out errors is also a good idea. Revise and rewrite as often as needed and get as many comments as possible. Do this until your essay becomes concise and error-free.

The essay is about you, your talents, and how the school can benefit from accepting you. Writing an effective college application essay can be taxing but it can pave the way for your entrance into a brighter future.

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