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Published On: Tue, May 8th, 2018

College Essay Myths: Techniques to Borrow and to Avoid

Have you already decided which college or university you’re going to apply to? Will it be something local or maybe something abroad? Harvard? Princeton? Cambridge? Or Monash in Australia? And what about the strategies you’re going to use to get accepted there? Have you already thought about what you’re going to mention in your application and admission essay particularly?

If you’re serious about education, you’ve probably already found a lot of information about the techniques on how to apply to a college online. In fact, most of those recommendations are quite disputable and can harm your application instead of making it better. That’s why we don’t recommend trying to implement all of those Internet recommendations in your writing at once. What we do recommend is looking through the expert’s advice and pointing out what will be useful for you particularly in the article below. By the way, for all of those who are dreaming of Melbourne or Monash Universities, we recommend a professional Australian writing centre in case you need a guide on how to write for Australian universities specifically.

photo/ 简体中文

How to Write and Not to Write for a College

There are a lot of college writing myths, which so many students follow when working on their own admission essays. This kind of mistake can destroy even the best application ever. As not all of those myths are suitable for every candidate. If using standard cliches and recommended approaches, your essay risks to look like hundreds of other applications sent to a college.

So, what to write and what to avoid when working on your college essay?

  • One of the most popular misconceptions among students is about the fact that the only aim of the admission essay is to impress a college committee. Considering the only goal of your essay is to sound impressive is absolutely the wrong thing. Don’t think about what to write to sound impressive before working on your application. If you don’t want to miss the entire point of the college essay, don’t think about it like about something, which should sound great enough for a committee. Universities are not looking for that;
  • Don’t talk about leadership and wonderful test scores in the very beginning of your essay. Don’t talk about it in your college essay at all. All of those «fancy» things don’t look fancy for a committee. It is something very basic, which so many students pay attention to in their writings;
  • Don’t use academic or «cleverish» vocabulary. Don’t use those words and phrases, which are not typical for you in real life. If you’re not using a specific word on a daily basis, why should you use it in your essay? Stick to a conversational tone. At the same time, avoid cliches and slang words. Always think whether you’re using this or that word or phrase in common conversation. If not, avoid it in your admission essay too. You have to sound like you, rather than a qualified and experienced professor.

Since you already know what not to write in your college essay, let’s have a look at what exactly should you write in it.

photo/ ilipp kozachuk

  • First of all, think about the things and features which make you who you are. Don’t read someone else’s college essays for inspiration. Think about your own skills, features, and achievements, which make you a personality. Be authentic;
  • Find a balance between a conversational tone and something you would say to the professors. How would you talk to a committee if you had a live interview? Work on expressing your ideas in a simple but professional way. Drop the formality, which is typical for all other types of academic writing;
  • Keep the focus on your personality. Even if you want to mention someone else from your family or friends in your essay, don’t go too far with that part. The central piece of your essay is you, but not other people;
  • Write about something that shows a side of who you are. Let it be something that has influenced your decision to apply to this particular place or to learn a subject, which you’re planning to build your career around in the future. Let it be something simple, but meaningful for you. What are you most proud of in yourself as a human? This is not about your scores and marks. Write about something, which can’t be found in other parts of your application. Your essay is not a list of your best grades, scores, and achievements. It is a story about you and how you perceive the world around.

So, don’t hesitate to use all of those recommendations mentioned in the article to make your admission essay the best part of your application. Use this chance of speaking directly to a commission officer to get accepted to the desired college or university without a doubt.

Author: Julia Smith

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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