Admission Essay Tips: Top 10 Admission Essay Gaffs to Avoid

Admission essay writing mistakes are commonplace; however, there are a few recurrent yet easily avoidable admission essay writing mistakes to keep in mind when applying for college. The following list represents the top 10 admission essay writing mistakes that students need to avoid when writing their admission essay.

  1. Thinking that your life lacks significant events. When writing admission essays, consider every aspect of your life. Significant events can be small and personal, perhaps attending your grandfather’s funeral, or hosting an exchange student from another country. Admissions committees want to know who you are and what you will bring to campus, so be yourself.
  2. Bragging. Avoid the temptation to advertise your brilliance. Be authentic, deliberate, and honest about what you have achieved.
  3. Downplaying your achievements. Admission essay writing requires subtle self-promotion. If you are naturally shy, ask an outgoing friend or gregarious relative to weigh in on your achievements. This will help you to overcome your aversion to talking about yourself and see yourself from another angle.
  4. Offending the committee. If you have strong feelings about contentious issues such as stem cell research, avoid writing about them in the admission essay. College admissions committees are composed of different people with different values, none of whom want to be browbeaten.
  5. Too much personal information. Writing admission essays require a professional and tactful approach. Avoid including highly personal information about recreational drug use and sexual promiscuity in the college admission essay.
  6. Rambling. Keep in mind that the admissions committee reads literally thousands of admission essays each year. Stick to the point to make sure your application doesn’t hit the slush pile.
  7. Going over the word count. Keep your essay succinct and adhere to the requirements. Going over the word count portrays a certain lack of respect that the admissions committee will not appreciate.
  8. Rushing. College admission essays require months of lead-time. Avoid writing them the weekend before they are due. Rushed essays will be apparent to the admissions committee and will demonstrate a lack of commitment that hurts your application.
  9. Boring first paragraph. Make sure you open the essay with a bang. The first paragraphs needs to motivate the admissions committee to read the rest of your essay. Keep the pace fast and avoid passive verbs.


Gushing. Avoid telling the committee how great their school is. They already know that. Maintain your credibility.

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