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  • Writer's pictureKate-Jen Barker-Schlegel

Not So Uncommon Essay Mistakes

As college admissions consultants, we read countless essays. Many of them are amazing. Others contain mistakes that are just plain frightening. Take the time to follow these tips.

1- Read the essay prompt completely. Make sure you answer each part of the question. Many applicants only respond to part of the question. This shows a lack of attention to detail... not a good way to sell yourself.

2- Have a second set of eyes review your work. Having an objective person check your work for grammar, style, and clarity of message is very important. Your message should be well written, easy to digest and presented without careless errors.

3- Read your essay out loud. You will be amazed at how many mistakes you will discover when you read your essay out loud. For some reasons, when we read silently, we tend to miss errors. When you read out loud, you're more likely to identify run-on sentences, missing words, incorrect verb tenses and more.

4- Be careful with copy and pasting. Some students borrow one college essay supplement to satisfy the requirements for another school. Unfortunately, not all questions are framed the same. Some students misread the question entirely. Even worse, sometimes students copy and paste essays and forget to change the name of the school in the body of the essay. Admissions counselors at MIT are certainly going to question why you're telling them about your passion for studying biomedical technology at Johns Hopkins.

5- Give supporting evidence. Don't just say you're a humanitarian. Give the reader specific examples. Without specifics, the essay is ambiguous and gives the vibe that it could have been written by anyone. College admissions counselors want to know YOU. This is your opportunity to SHOW them who you are using solid examples. 6- Review sample essays. If you're not sure how to approach an essay prompt, there's no reason to fret. There are plenty of sample essays that can be found on the Internet.

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