College Essay Writing Tips – a List of “Do Nots”
By Sydney Liu
College essays can be a stressful but also exciting part of the college application process. Most college essay tip sheets tell you what to do. Here, you can use these college essay writing tips for what NOT to do to make sure you are not making any of these clear mistakes when you submit your essay.
Do not view it as a chore, view it as an opportunity. You can study and study and still not get the SAT score you want, and by senior year, your grades and GPA are pretty much set in stone. The college essay is really the only part of the application you have control over, so enjoy it.
Do not recycle essays. Generic essays are easy to spot. Don’t waste anyone’s time by sending the same essay to a bunch of schools. Personalize your essay to each school, and you will reap the benefits.
Do not give the reader a history lesson. It is incredibly boring to re-read what many authors have written before. College essay writing tips tell you to be original. If you are writing about a historical event, it should be about your experience with this event, not just the event itself.
Do not “free write.” Make sure you have a clear thesis that the reader can easily find, and that your paper follows that thesis completely. There is nothing worse than a jumbled essay that is nothing more than walking along with the rambling thoughts of the writer.
Do not skimp on appearances. While the actual appearance and formatting of your essay will not get you into school or make up for any other crucial mistakes, they certainly can’t hurt. A good appearance is the same thing as dressing nicely for an interview. More than anything, it shows that you took the time to care about the finished product and the perception.
Do not write for writings sake. One of the common college essay writing tips is to stick to word count. This is true, but unless your essay specifies a minimum, the word count is usually there just as a guide. If an essay asks for 1500 words and there are 1503 words, I know the writer probably used a lot of unnecessary fillers. I would rather read a clear and concise essay that is close to the word count than a wordy essay that is right there.
College essay writing tips commonly tell you all of the things you should do to have a perfect essay. Follow our checklist of what not to do and you will avoid many glaring mistakes.