Putting yourself in the shoes of a college admissions committee member may seem like a laughable bit of advice when writing your admissions essay. But if many more students performed this very exercise when critically reviewing their admissions essays, they would walk away with much more confidence that their writing would stand head and shoulders above the rest of their competition. There are some common, completely avoidable mistakes that people make in writing personal statements (admissions essays by another name, and other schools call them the statement of purpose) that keep them out of their college or program of choice.
1. Too many spelling and grammar errors
Imagine reading through an essay - in a stack of hundreds of other applicants - where every other sentence had some glaring typo, spelling mistake, or just plain-out grammatically made no sense whatsoever. It is hard to understand the point that you're trying to get across when your writing is difficult to read. And yet, this is an easy fix - run spellcheck, review your essay time and time again with a fine-toothed comb, or get a trusted friend or advisor to review your sample. Readibility is essential to passing "go" with the admissions committee.
2. Forgetting to change the name
Yes, you're probably up to your ears in applying for different schools and programs. If you have a list of four or five essays to get done, you're probably using a similar format for each. Did you check to make sure the correct name of the program is included in your essay? This is a major big "oops" that many applicants make. From the perspective of the admissions committee, it shows lack of care and attention to detail. No one wants to admit a students who did little more than submit a "generic" essay to every program on their list.
3. Answer the question
This may sound really obvious, but really it's not. You were given an essay prompt or a series of questions to answer for a reason - the committee wants to hear your thoughtful responses. Failing to follow these basic instructions does not look good to the eyes of the admissions committee. It could signal several things: Again, this may be a generic "cookie cutter" essay submitted to multiple schools, which is BIG no-no! Your critical thinking skills to actually answer the question are somehow lacking - and seriously you don't want to give off that impression. Or if can even give the impression that you're not a careful, diligent student. Beating around the bush and "kind of" answering the questions doesn't go very far with the admissions committee.
Your admissions essay is your time to shine and really set yourself apart from other applicants with similar grades, class standing, and standardized test scores. Far too many of these common mistakes are more the result of procrastination and waiting until the last minute to write your essay. You're bound to make easily avoidable mistakes when you're up against a deadline and pressed for time. Following these tips will help you write an awesome admissions essay that gets results - acceptance letters to your top university of choice in the mail!
Your personal statement is your chance to speak for yourself and tell the committee WHY you're their top applicant. So what if you're not the best writer - personal statement writing help is here at your fingertips! Please visit our site for more information on personal statements, reviews on GRE test preparation books, and more tips and strategies on how to get into grad school!