With October comes another month of college applications as students finish early decision and early action applications and select additional colleges of interest to round out their list.

Most of the application process is straightforward, requiring students to check boxes, enter numbers, and present snippets of background information. When it comes to application essays, though, many students feel overwhelmed, especially if writing multiple main and supplemental essays. Application essays solicit in-depth responses with room for choice, and the need for personal perspective and more intimate details can lead to uncertainty and procrastination.

While many of our blog readers enjoy reading about topics other than college admission essays (such as resume and business writing and online content strategies), All About Writing wants to empower and prepare college students in the best way possible so they can proactively conquer their applications with confidence and success!

After this post, we promise to vary our post topics so there is something for everyone throughout the year!

Application Essay Mistakes to Avoid

  • NOT answering the prompt; don’t go off-topic
  • NOT adhering to the maximum word count (some applications will cut off extra words, leaving your essay unfinished) or writing too little
  • Aligning your essay topic with what your peers wrote about (be unique and showcase something that reflects your passion)
  • Presenting a “laundry list” of your activities (instead, develop one situation in great detail; the application lists your activities)
  • Listening to well-meaning but inaccurate advice
  • Writing too much about the story (include enough about your realization, growth, take-away, future projection, as well as the impact it will have on you as a college student and lifelong learner)
  • Getting the essay “over with” in one sitting (write a thoughtful, solid first draft, then rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite!)
  • Writing about the same topic or too similar of a topic in multiple essays for one school (showcase the many interesting parts of you, without contradicting yourself)
  • NOT proofreading the final copy several times, including after you copy and paste it into the application

Now that you have a list of what NOT to do, get started, and be sure to frequently check how you are doing throughout the writing process by revisiting this checklist. Nothing is as difficult as typing that first word!

All About Writing’s in-person and remote application essay consultations deliver customized strategies rooted in extensive experience with academic writing and admissions essays. We have successfully provided essay assistance for a range of undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, medical school, dental school, and fellowship candidates.

Visit our website page “Academic Writing and College Application Essays” for a sampling of colleges we have worked with during the application process, as well as an overview of the services we provide, from the initial brainstorming of ideas through the final proofreading.

Learn more about All About Writing, Howell, NJ and owner Christa Riddle at www.allaboutwritingconsulting.com. Remember, with All About Writing, writing help is just a call or click away!

-by Christa Riddle


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