Common Personal Statement Mistakes

Essays, Uncategorized

After reading several hundred personal statements and various college admissions essays, we’ve narrowed down the most common mistakes made when writing to impress a admissions team.

Please DO NOT try to be funny if you’re being offensive, tacky, etc.

Many of us do not have the same sense of humor as one another. An admissions officer from Cornell might not find your jokes funny, particularly if they contain vulgar language or inappropriate remarks. Be cautious when writing and think about your audience.

With that being said… Don’t be a robot either

Now, not being inappropriate is a big one. However, not showing any personality through in your essay can be a big downer for a college admissions officer who has read through hundreds or thousands of student essays. Try to bring humor or personality in if applicable. Entertain your audience (the admissions team) while staying structured and poised. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Did you EVEN proofread?

We love proofreading your essays and making sure they are the best they can be in terms of content and style. However, forgetting commas or capitalizations are a big no-no. If you can’t form a proper sentence, how do you expect to survive in a college setting?

Your mom/dad/grandma/uncle/first cousin once removed is your hero.

If we have to read another essay about how inspirational your mom is and how you want to be just like her, we might need to shut down the site entirely. Sure, our mothers can be important to us and a big factor in our lives. But don’t center your story around a parent or relative unless the story is both interesting, unique, and TRULY epitomizes a big change in your life/or a reason why you chose a course of study/school. Be specific.

Don’t be weird.

Sure, writing a 300 word essay about Papa Johns may have gotten a girl admission to Yale University and a one-year supply of free pizza, but don’t write a haiku as your admissions essay. Or a poem, or a script, or something completely bizarre. Although they sometimes work, it’s rare and must be done well under the proper circumstances. Don’t risk losing points for choosing to be artsy in your application.

What are my chances of acceptance to Florida State University?

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We received a submission from a student applying to three Florida universities. The student’s dream school is Florida State, but they aren’t sure if they are qualified for admission.

GPA: 3.82

SAT: 1300

With your numbers and according to Florida State’s records, you should be in great shape to get in next fall! Make sure your extracurriculars and letters of recommendation are lined up and you will be good as garnet and gold!

 

 

A Typical Day at UF

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7:00 AM – Wake up call. Tried not to wake up my roommate while getting dressed. Didn’t get much sleep last night (Do not recommend!)

7:30 AM – Caught the bus to the center of campus. No one is really around because people don’t like morning classes.

7:45 AM – Made it to the cafe. I’m on a meal plan so I eat meal plan food. Got waffles with chocolate while I go over my notes for the lecture today. Professor typically gives pop quizzes so, I like to be ready.

8:30 AM – In class. Professor did give a pop quiz. I got a 100%. Tip: Go over your notes one last time before a test, you never know if something you just read would be on it.

9:40 AM – Have a tiny break between classes. Got some Starbucks while I wait.

10:30 AM – Theatre class. Big auditorium style course with at least 100-150 people. Professor gives a big lecture on modern musicals. Test coming up soon so I get some kids from my section together for a study group.

11:40 AM – Lunch! Headed on over to the cafe for some Pollo Tropical. Saw one of my friends from College Dems and met up with her.

12:45 PM – Last class of the day. Was called on in class (and wasn’t prepared for it). Oh well..

2:00 PM – Quick nap back at the dorm before my club meetings later this afternoon.

4:00 PM – College Dems meeting. Heading out later to my internship downtown.

6:00 PM – Downtown at my internship’s campaign office. Working the phones there for a few hours.

9:00 PM – Back at the dorm. Eating easy mac with my roommate while we study.

12:00 PM – Off to bed.

How to ask for a letter of reccomendation?

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This can be summed up in three easy steps.

Step 1) Do not ask a teacher (after not speaking to them for a year) for a letter. They won’t remember you or want to write a letter for a student who simply hasn’t interacted with them. Ask a teacher who you know likes and approves of you.

Step 2) Ask in person, if possible. The best way to ask for something is in person. Approach them after class or schedule a meeting with them to discuss the letter. Ask nicely.

Step 3) Don’t ask them a week before the letter is due. TRY and ask them at least 1-2 months in advance. Teachers have busy lives and need time to write you a good letter.

Step 4) Send them your resume as well as some key points you’d like them to highlight (Writing, Leadership, etc.) This will help guide the teacher in their writing process.

Step 5) Tell the teacher THANK YOU after they are done.

Sample Freshman Schedule

Academics, Uncategorized

For a Full-Year Schedule:

Science: Honors Biology/Chemistry

Social Studies: AP Human Geography

Math: (Depends on level) Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II

English: Honors English

Elective: Honors Language (Of Your Choice not including ASL)

Elective: Band, Debate, Theatre, HOSA, Leadership, Etc. (Main Extracurricular Focus)

Elective: Second Extracurricular Focus or Necessary Graduation Requirement (Gym, etc.)

How can I get letters of reccomendation from my teachers?

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This can be a tricky process. Not to worry! We have the advice to get you great letters, but only if you are willing to work for it!

Our best piece of advice would be to plan out which teachers you want to get your letters from early on. Say you seem to get along great with you English teacher and you are doing really well in that class. This might be the time to attend after school sessions with the teacher once in a while, stop by to say hi and chat, and generally seek guidance from. While you are in class, offer to read that passage aloud to them, volunteer to run down to the office, or sign up to help decorate the classroom. That way, you are building a relationship with this person as opposed to randomly asking for a letter when you barely said two words to them all year.

Furthermore, think about timing. Say this teacher is someone you have only for your sophomore year. Well, you can’t drop off the face of the earth and then go strolling by two years later looking for a letter of recommendation. Teachers have plenty of students and they aren’t going to remember every last detail about you (Sorry to break it to you!). So, be sure that you stop by their office, email them, and CONTINUE to build a relationship with them. Maybe join a club that they sponsor at school, etc.

There is also the option to be a rock star at that subject. Say you want a letter of recommendation from your drama teacher. You can easily be the shining star in your teacher’s eyes if you win all the awards and get superiors on your performances. If you prove your talents and are a good student overall, there is no way your teacher won’t want to write you a letter!

Remember, you don’t have to be the best in the class to get a letter from your teacher. The foundation of a great letter of recommendation is one that is based on a great relationship with your teacher. Prove yourself to them, and they will vouch for you!

I need to drop out of one of my AP classes… how bad will this look on my transcript?

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Not as bad at you think. From experience speaking to our students, we have learned that many students have done this in the past and it has not affected their chances at a great college acceptance letter coming in the mail! One student, for example, had to be placed in an Honors Biology class as opposed to an AP Biology class due to the rigor of the course. She wasn’t able to handle the balance of school, her part-time job, and her leadership positions. She was able to receive an A in her Honors Biology class and her GPA and transcript still looked stellar.

Our advice if you are having these thoughts? Speak to your guidance counselor and see if this is an option for you. We doubt that you can switch out of the class on the last semester of school, but it is worth a shot if you are feeling buyers remorse early on in the school year.