Top 5 College Essay Mistakes You MUST Avoid

The Common Application 2021-2022 will be ready on August 1. Year after year, when parents call us because their children were rejected from their top-choice schools, the first thing I ask is to see their Common Application main essays. I always find egregious mistakes!

Here are 5 mistakes you must AVOID!

  • Mistake #1:  Not answering the question.  The admissions committee uses certain essay prompts for a specific reason:  They want you to answer it! 
  • Mistake #2:  Trying to impress the essay readers.  Do not try to impress admissions officers or the admissions committee.  They will be able to sense a pretentious, patronizing or even condescending voice beneath descriptions of seemingly philanthropic contributions, grand, earth-shaking events and ontological musings. 
  • Mistake #3:  Making an essay into a resume.  Many times applicants want to impress readers so much that they completely ignore the essay prompt and make the essay into a list of their accomplishments.  Admissions officers and readers dislike redundancy!
  • Mistake #4: Obtaining “ideas” from websites .  Do not copy from other people or download essays!  Many students assume that if they copy directly from other people’s work and sources that no one will find out.  This assumption is definitely wrong!  Don’t you think admissions officers also visit theses websites.
  • Mistake #5:  Picking an inappropriate topic.  In an attempt to be clever, many applicants resort to writing an essay that they believe would be witty, overly serious, or flattering. Admissions officers are unimpressed!

Your college essay is the only part of the college application process over which you have complete control.  Your essay or essays (short answers included) should capture admissions committees’ imagination and make them want you on their campuses.  Missing the opportunity to make this piece of your student profile outstanding is a HUGE mistake and will certainly result in a rejection by top schools.

After years of hard work, you don’t want to make mistakes that can cause you to be rejected!
Successful college acceptance results is not just about essay editing revisions. It involves continuous expert advice. We take a comprehensive approach involving student profile development, interview preparation, letter of recommendation assessments and our long standing networks and relationships in the college admissions industry!
Dr. Paul Lowe, Admissions Expert

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions Advisors.  For colleges and universities that recommend or require videos: College Admissions Video Productions.