4 First Draft Essay Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes

In a way, the most tedious part of your college applications process is undoubtedly the college essay. It is not only about entering a long list of your extracurricular activities or sending out transcripts; you also have to craft an appealing and personally crafted essay that will get you noticed beyond your transcript. This can be a difficult task for someone without any writing experience. Fortunately, there are several college essay tips that can make your job a little easier. Keep these in mind when crafting your college essay and you will be sure to impress the admissions officers.

1. Concerns your choice of words

While the college admissions officers will have their own favorite terms for what they like to see in applications, you may not. Use the words they use to strike a chord with them and use something unique to describe yourself or your accomplishments. This will get you into the good graces of the admissions officer and may even earn you an interview. If you really want to stand out, write something that is controversial or even humorous. This will definitely garner attention.

2. Not repeat content from your senior year essays

While you may have an idea how you ended up where you are now, this may not be enough to impress a college officer. Do some research to find out how you ended up in your current situation and then tackle your current topics from there. While your senior year topics were important, it will be a better impression on the officer if you start fresh this time around.

3. Not go too over the top with your arguments

Too much information can often prove irritating to a college officer. Keep your stories brief and simple and allow your ideas to speak for themselves. Do not shy away from being personal and do not hesitate to use strong arguments or examples.

Remember, college essays are not the place to wax poetically about your favorite band or movie. These types of essays are not particularly interesting to read, and unless you plan to turn your college essays into poetry or a novel, chances are you will keep them fairly short.

4. Proofread your essay before submission

Most admissions officers will check your work for grammar, punctuation, spellings, and other such errors. If your first sentence is confusing, or you find that certain aspects of the writing are wrong, try to find the source of the confusion and fix it. Sometimes the writer intended to say one thing but inadvertently said another. Double check your work to ensure accuracy.

One of the most important college essay tips is to be truthful in your admissions essay. You want to persuade the reader that you are the right candidate for the job.

However, admissions officers are very discerning and they can tell a lot about a candidate by the way they write an essay. They are also very detail oriented. If you take the time to double check your facts, it will only help you in your application.

One of the best college essay tips for the written word is that you should write your essay from your own point of view. In other words, you should write from your point of view and not from the perspective of someone researching the school for a writing assignment. Use the information you gather to support your statements and not to refute them. This will take time and may require several drafts but your arguments will be stronger for it. Even after submitting your first draft, you should go back and edit it to remove any factual errors.


College admissions officers get beyond just a basic application and determine whether or not a candidate is worthy of being in the classroom. They need to see the depth of the applicant’s knowledge and commitment to education. They need to see that you can get beyond the basics to the complex issues.

College essays are one way to show this. Avoid using them as an opportunity to get beyond one’s application and present something original. Highlight your strengths and build on them with your unique essay.