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.