What are some do's and don'ts for the admissions essay?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

What are some do's and don'ts for the admissions essay?

Heather Tomasello
Writing Coach The EssayLady, LLC

What are some do's and don'ts for the admissions essay?

DON'T try to sound "academic" or give the "what they want to hear." DO write what only you can write. DON'T be being. ("I am... I was... I have been...") DO use active, interesting details. DON'T just talk about why the school is a good fit for you. DO talk about what you plan to contribute to the school, and why you are the perfect candidate for it! DON'T tell. DO show. DON'T send it off without having someone else read it first! I read and review essays for a living and my students tell me the insight is invaluable.

Ronald Harris

What are some do's and don'ts for the admissions essay?

This is your chance to stand out so make sure that your admissions essay truly reflects you. An essay that is truthful, appealing, and motivating can increase your chances of acceptance. What should and shouldn't you do in writing your admissions essay or personal statement? Do: • Prepare an outline and create a draft. • Answer all the questions being asked. • Make sure your essay has a theme or a thesis. • Provide evidence to support your claims. • Make your introduction unique. • Write clearly and make sure it is easy to read. • Be honest, confident, and be yourself. • Be interesting and positive. • Make sure your essay is organized, coherent, and concise. • Write about yourself and use examples from your own life experiences. • Use a mixture of long and short sentences. • Discuss your future goals. • Mention any hobbies, past jobs, community service, or research experience. • Speak in the first person (I…). • Mention weaknesses without making excuses. • Discuss why you're interested in the school and/or program. • Show, don’t tell (Use examples to demonstrate your abilities). • Ask for help. • Proofread and revise your statement at least 3 times. • Have others proofread your essay. Don’t: • Have any grammar or spelling errors. (Proofread!) • Be wordy or use jargon (don’t try to impress the readers by using big words). • Swear or use slang. • Digress or be repetitive. • Be boring. • Generalize. • Include cliches. • Use gimmicks. • Be comical (a little humor is okay but remember it can be misconstrued). • Be defensive or arrogant. • Complain. • Preach. • Have your essay focus too much on other individuals. • Discuss politics or religion. • Give excuses for a low GPA. • Make lists of accomplishments, awards, skills, or personal qualities (Show, don’t tell). • Write a term paper or an autobiography. • Summarize your resume. • Include information already cited on the application. • Forget to proofread.

Brittany Maschal
Founder/Director B. Maschal Educational Consulting

What are some do's and don'ts for the admissions essay?

Do: 1. Start early. The more time you have, the less stress you’ll have. 2. Be honest and yourself. One of the biggest mistakes students make is “writing what they think others ?want to hear.” 3. Take a risk. Don’t settle for the essay that everyone else is writing. 4. Keep in focus. Use the essay to help the admission officers get to know you as a person. 5. Write and rewrite. Don’t try to write a masterpiece on your first try. 7. Get a second opinion. Even best-selling novelists ask other people to read their manuscripts be- fore they’re sent to the publisher. Don't 1. Find an essay online and copy it or have someone else write it for you. College admission officers have read hundreds—even thousands—of essays. They are masters at discovering any form of plagiarism. 2. Try to write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. This is not only lame, but not a good way to allow the committee to know who you really are, which is what they are looking for more than anything else! 3. Wait until the last minute to begin writing. 4. Skip "optional" essays. 5. Forget to proofread your work and have at least two others proofread your work!

Susan Knoppow

What are some do's and don'ts for the admissions essay?

DO 1) Make sure your story is about YOU! 2) Make sure you know what you want the college to know about you before you decide what story to tell. Find a story that illustrates your point. 3) Make sure your story has a theme. What happened? Why does it matter? 4) Focus your story on one moment. 5) Answer the prompt. DON'T 1. Feature someone other than yourself. 2. Forget to answer the question. Read the prompt before, during and after you write your draft, then ask someone else to tell you whether or not you responded to it. 3. Use the wrong school name in your essay. This mistake shows that you don’t care enough to proofread your application. Admissions committees might forgive a typo, but they don’t like to hear that you wish you were going to school somewhere else. 4. Copy most (or all) of someone else’s essay. There aren’t too many things you can do to ensure rejection, but plagiarism, also known as cheating, is one of them. Just assume you will get caught. 5. Rely on the thesaurus. If you use a thesaurus to find words rather than trust the words you know and use every day, you will not sound like yourself. What’s more, you might use a few big words incorrectly, which will never impress an admissions officer. Colleges are not looking for the next Ernest Hemingway or Toni Morrison. You will sound smart when you use your own words and your own voice to tell a genuine story that shows who you are. 6. Get too much help.There is a fine line between asking someone you trust to review your essay and getting too much help. When your mom, dad, teacher or tutor starts giving you words to use or edits too much, your voice disappears.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

What are some do's and don'ts for the admissions essay?

Do's: Answer the prompt. While you wan't to show your individuality, you don't want to write a beautiful essay that fails to answer the prompt. Be specific. Make sure your essay is reflective of who you are and separates you from the pack. Proofread. Make sure you review your essay a couple of times to check for errors. Dont's Avoid politics and religion. You don't want to alienate your reader. Allow others to put their "imprint" on the essay. While it is helpful to get feedback, make sure the essay maintains your voice.

Andrew Belasco
CEO College Transitions LLC

What are some do's and don'ts for the admissions essay?

Although the college essay is perhaps the most the daunting part of the college application process, it can also prove to be the most rewarding, provided you follow a few simple rules. First, be yourself. Admissions officers don’t want the extraordinary; they simply want to learn something about you that they cannot glean from the collection of grades and scores in your application file. If it’s authentic, an essay about a daily ritual, ordinary hobby, or family tradition can prove just as captivating as a story about cheating death or overcoming insurmountable odds. Second, bring your writing to life. Use anecdotes, sensory language, and strong verbs to show (not tell) your reader how you feel, what you have seen, and/or what you have experienced. Finally, keep it clean. A clean essay is a concise essay, and one that is free of artificial and/or flowery language. At the height of admissions season, officers will be reading up to 100 essays per day. An unnecessarily long essay may cause your reader to tune out, or worse yet, neglect other parts of your application file.

Henry DelAngelo
High School Counselor 20 + years Your Key to College

What are some do's and don'ts for the admissions essay?

Do take your time and write several drafts. Do pick a topic that you relate with the most. Do not rush. Do not repeat your resume.