Common App Essay Mistakes You Should Avoid at all Costs

So you want some tips on Common App essay mistakes?

Well, buckle up because I’ve got you covered!

Let’s cut to the chase, college application essays can be a real pain. And that blinking cursor on an empty screen can be very demotivating.

Sometimes, students can make a ton of Common App essay mistakes because they feel “stuck” and just want to get the thing written, even if it means going in the wrong direction.

But hey, here’s the deal: saying the wrong thing or going overboard can actually do more harm than good. A killer college essay requires serious thought and preparation.

The Common App not just about showcasing your writing skills; it’s also a chance to reveal your perspective, personality, and life experiences. This is your one shot to introduce yourself to your dream colleges and show the admissions committee how you’ll rock their freshman class.

Sounds important? Well, that’s because it is!

In this article, we’ll take a look at seven common app essay mistakes you need to avoid when writing your college essay. Follow these tips, and you’ll be one step closer to that acceptance letter!

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7 Common App Essay Mistakes to Avoid

1. Telling lies

Don’t lie, my friend. Seriously, it should go without saying, but let’s emphasize it anyway. Instead of fabricating stories, reflect honestly on your successes, meaningful experiences, hobbies, and unique essay topics. You’ve got plenty of material that already qualifies you for the college you’re applying to. No need for embellishments!

If you’re writing a Common App essay, choose the topic that enables you to shine. Our guide to the Common App essay prompts should help.

2. Fixating too much on grand future ambitions

Look, it’s totally okay if you haven’t figured out your entire life plan yet. Most students at your stage don’t have it all mapped out, and that’s perfectly fine. Colleges understand that too. Focus on what you’ve accomplished and experienced so far; that will make a more impactful essay than a bunch of future fantasies.

3. Forgetting your audience

Don’t treat the common app essay like a chore to check off your to-do list, especially if you’re applying to multiple universities. Understand that your essay will be read by someone important, someone who’s looking for specific things. So, write with purpose, avoid being too casual or overly detailed, and consider what matters to your readers.

4. Using a cookie-cutter template

Keep in mind that it’s a competition out there. Admissions committees have to go through hundreds of essays each year. Imagine being in their shoes, reading countless accounts of “perfect” students who all blend together. Boring, right? You want to stand out! Be the essay that grabs their attention, evokes emotions, and makes them remember you as someone special.

Check out our guide to how to start an admissions essay for help creating a unique hook.

5. Being too formal

Don’t get too formal or wordy. Using a thesaurus won’t magically get you into your dream college. Admissions officers can spot pretentious language from a mile away. If your essay is filled with words that no normal 18-year-old would ever use, it’s a red flag. Keep it readable, informal, and engaging. Explain your thoughts clearly and concisely, instead of trying to impress with unnecessary complexity. Use college application editing services to get the best result.

6. Writing the Common App essay on the last minute

Avoid last-minute essays like the plague. Seriously, procrastination leads to stress, sloppy mistakes, and a subpar final product. Even if you’re a talented writer, your first draft is rarely a masterpiece. Treat your essay with care. Take time for brainstorming, revise it multiple times, and edit meticulously to catch errors. Your essay should be a strong asset, not a liability.

7. Confusing the essay with the application

Remember, your college application is like a puzzle, and each component should add something unique. The essay shouldn’t repeat what’s already in your transcripts or other application materials. It’s an opportunity to share a personal challenge, a lesson learned, a moment of growth, or a unique experience that makes you stand out from the crowd. Admissions committees don’t just want to see repetitive information; they want to learn something new about you through your essay.

So, when you’re writing your essay, think about what makes you unique and how you can showcase that. Share a story that reflects a challenge you overcame, a moment of personal growth, or a lesson that shaped you into who you are today. Let your college application essay be a window into your world, a glimpse of what sets you apart from other applicants.

Remember, you’re not just filling out forms and writing essays for the sake of it. Each component of your application serves a specific purpose. Your essay is your chance to demonstrate your character, resilience, and individuality. Make it count by avoiding these Common App essay mistakes!