7 Mistakes To Avoid In Your University Essay

7 Mistakes To Avoid In Your University Essay

The last three months of the year are overwhelming for most high-school or college students who wish to apply to universities in the UK, US or Canada. The application process involves writing essays and personal statements to allow the admission officers to know you better. 

Universities receive thousands of applications from students across the globe. The best way to ensure they remember yours is to make your essay or personal statement unique. One way to do this is to avoid the most common cliches and mistakes. 

Using Quotes in the Essay

 We have been taught in our Literature classes to use famous quotes to gauge the attention of the reader. However, when writing a college essay, it is best to avoid them. 

Your college essay is about you and you only. It is a word-restricted space that you must utilise to your advantage. The admission officers are interested to know different aspects of your personality. You are the protagonist in your essay so it’s fine to leave out eminent people Gandhi or Einstein. A quote takes away the attention from the main subject of the essay. 

Also Read: How To Write Your Essay On “Why Do You Want To Study In This University?”

Repeating Information

We have observed that many students share essays that are a re-iteration of their resumes or accomplishments. It is a wasted effort as an essay is your prime real estate to convey relevant information about yourself. When an admission officer reads your application, they read your resume, personal statement, essays and other documents in a single go. 

Use it as an opportunity to convey how you have gone beyond your school to engage deeper with a subject, participated in reputed competitions, and carried out research work. You can also write about your volunteering experience and extra-curricular interests to demonstrate your well-rounded personality.

It is a good practice to read your resume and essays together to remove any repetitions. 

Using ChatGPT

With ChatGPT at your disposal, writing essays is a cakewalk. However, you may want to think twice before using technology to write an essay for you. Firstly, it will generate generic essays, and it is not difficult to figure out when an essay is not personal. Secondly, universities are using plagiarism-detection tools that will catch AI-generated content.

An essay that shows your vulnerabilities and human side is always a better option than turning in a piece that throws plagiarism errors. 

Also Read: The UK Personal Statement – 5 Key Recommendations

Writing about Volunteer Work and Not Making it Relevant

You may have helped unfortunate children learn their alphabet or supported your neighbourhood with a pet animal drive. It must have been an enriching experience, and you are excited about sharing it in your essay. The only problem here is that, just like you, most other students have done similar volunteer work.

When you write about it without a larger meaning or a connection with your personality development, the experience loses its relevance. Instead, write about a particular incident, observation or conversation that happened during your volunteer work. You can elaborate on how it influenced you or how you followed it with more work to leave an impact on the cause closest to you.

Struggle/Hardship Essays

You could come from an unprivileged background, an unsupportive family or a developing society. You could have faced struggles and failures despite your best efforts. However, berating yourself or anyone else is not going to leave an impact on the reader.

If you still want to mention it, say how it has led to your personal growth. A large part of your essay needs to be about  your learning and growth, not excruciating details of your experience. Give it a positive spin and mention what you have learned from these circumstances.

Also Read: Why do You Need a Master’s Degree?

Using Complex Language

Some students tend to use complex words, often needing the reader to open the Thesaurus. You may think you would come across as smart and impress the admission officer with your language skills. However, the impact could be the opposite. Admission officers understand when students are trying to go out of their way to impress. It is advisable to use regular language to make your essay seem authentic.

Not Proof-Reading Your Essay

Submitting an essay with spelling or grammatical mistakes is a big no-no. It is the quickest way to get rejected. Make sure that you re-read your essays and ask your parents and friends to read them before submitting your application. 

They could also give you a fresh perspective to make your writing better. 

Applying to universities is a challenging time. It is normal to doubt yourself and not be sure of your writing. With the information shared here, we are sure that you will turn in your best essays and personal statement. Avoiding cliches, being authentic and using a simple, readable language is the best way to give it your best shot.

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