9 essay mistakes that could cost you acceptance

person holding a stop signAfter you've spent so much time on your college admissions essay, you wouldn't want to be denied admission because of a small mistake. So while you're writing your essay, make sure you're not doing any of these things:


Naming the wrong school. If you name the school you’re applying to in your essay, make sure you double and triple check that you send the right essay to the right school. Your application may be denied immediately if you have the wrong name.

Not answering the question. Colleges ask specific questions for a reason – they want to hear your response. It’s one way of comparing one student to another, and not answering the question could hurt your chances of getting accepted.

Rewriting your resume. There’s a time and place to talk about all your accomplishments, and the essay isn’t one of them. Use the space to tell a single story that illustrates why you would make an excellent addition to their school.

Not writing about you. Especially when you’re writing your essay on an influential person, make sure you keep the focus on you.

Using other people’s essays. This one’s an obvious no-no. Admissions officers read thousands of essays every year and they can spot a plagiarized essay right away.  

Overusing the thesaurus. If you don’t use a word in your everyday life, don’t use it in your admissions essay. It is too easy to misuse a word you don’t know, and it will distract from what you’re trying to convey.

Relying on your computer’s spell-checker. Remember that spell-check on Word doesn’t catch every error. You need to proofread your essay many times to be sure your essay isn’t dismissed because of a small mistake.

Not following directions. If there are specific guidelines for the length and format of the essay, make sure you follow them.

Writing about an inappropriate topic. You may be tempted to choose a topic that’s not appropriate for an admissions essay because you’re trying to catch the reader’s attention. While there’s an exception to every rule, you want to steer clear of topics such as depression, addiction, and eating disorders.


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