- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Common Mistakes of a Custom Application or Admission Essay

Students often believe application essays are easy to write. The fact is students often make many mistakes ranging from the instructions concerning the essay or problems in grammar. It is important to carefully write college or graduate application essays because more than one person may be reading the application essay and deciding who they want to attend their college or who to give scholarships to. Taking the proper time to write the essay with some proofreading the essay while giving the following instruction is vital to the application essay.

Essay Mistakes

One of the common mistakes in writing application essays is not following the directions. While many applications essays look similar often they have different directions and ask for different information from others. Reading the application essay before writing it is important.

A not-so-common error is receiving the application back from the instructor and failing to correct the specific mistakes the instructor lists. Begin the revision with the part the instructor asks to be corrected and then do a final revision of the application.

A common mistake is failing to answer all the questions on the essay. Many instructors who see that a question was not answered will not read any further. Of course, this means the student will not be chosen for a scholarship or they may be refused entrance into the college. Another common mistake is making the application essay too long. An application essay should answer all the questions in detail but the student should not ramble on. Students should use the allotted space and not exceed the word limit the essay requests.

Often students make the mistake of using passive verbs. Action verbs should always be used in writing applications. Verbs in the form of "be" should not be used such as are was, were, are, had, have and etc. Many students think big words will make the essay sound intelligent. The fact is these words will not. Use simple language answering the questions in the essay.

Often students make the common mistake of trying to write essays other students have used. Application essays need to reflect the individual who is creating the essay. What have you excelled in during high school or college (if graduate application)? Have you volunteered in any organizations? What is important to you besides college? Are you motivated? Why did you choose this particular college? What are your long-term goals? Answering these questions and the questions on the application essay will allow the instructors to see you as a student wanting to attend their college.

A common mistake made in application essays is failing to do the homework. Begin with checking the programs available at the college and the courses they offer. Know the college before trying to write an application essay.

A common mistake many students make is jumping into the essay without a hook or attention-grabbing lead that motivates the instructor to keep reading. Every essay should have a hook in the first paragraph. Often if the first paragraph does not grab the reader then it may not get read.

Do not whine or complain about life. Most students have had serious problems in their lives. If you mention an incident in your life explain how you over came the obstacle to reach the point where you are today.

A not-so-common error in application essays is forgetting to change the names on the essay. This happens when a student sends several application essays to different colleges and universities.

Common mistakes in many essays including the application essay are mistakes in grammar and spelling. This is the most commonly cited error that instructors complain over. The Admission Committee will see mistakes in spelling and grammar as a reflection of the student's personality and the type of future work he/she will do.

Common mistakes can often be corrected when a student takes time to write the essay and have it proofread. It is important for every essay to be read by a neutral person and for the student to read the essay out loud listening to mistakes. The application essay is important to the student so it is important to spend time writing a great application essay and to spend time proofreading it.

Advice on Writing Personal Admission Essays.