College Essay Mistakes

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Imagine the admissions offcer who must choose which of these well-deserving applications to accept. It is your opportunity to demonstrate why you’d be a perfect ft at the college, how you’d contribute to the student body, and why the college should accept you over those other 11 applicants.

The essay is also the one part of your application that you have complete control over.

The secret is that any topic can be a winner but it all depends on your approach.

If you spend the time to analyze your subject and can convey that quality of thought that is unique to you through words, you’ll have a powerful essay.

It doesn’t have to be beautifully written or crafted as the next great American novel.

At its core the essay is not a “writing test.” It’s a “thinking test.” So you do need to spend the time to make sure that your thoughts are conveyed correctly on paper.

For more than 35 years, students and families have trusted The Princeton Review to help them get into their dream schools.

We help students succeed in high school and beyond by giving them resources for better grades, better test scores, and stronger college applications.

Over our thirteen years of coaching students through the college essay process, we have identified the three most common mistakes that students make when writing their college essay. You only have so many words, sometimes as many as 1,000 in the case of Villanova, and sometimes as few as 150 in the case of Harvard. Start your essay off with something that hooks the reader, not puts them to sleep.

Don’t waste words regurgitating the prompt admissions officers have already read a thousand times. You’re a teenager with a soon-to-be High School diploma, Admissions Officers aren’t expecting you to sound like the most well-read Ph D student on the planet!


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