3. Avoid discussing your romantic or sexual experiences. Remember the goal here is to impress the admissions counselor, not to make him/her uncomfortable. Yes, I did say make the essay personal but not to the extent that the person reading it gets squeamish. Similar topics to avoid: discussing a volatile religious or political issue like same sex marriage especially if you feel particularly strongly about one side or the other. The reader may not agree with you and subconsciously take it against you. Same with talking about topics that imply an elevated social standing: like taking that trip to Europe or volunteering in Thailand. Admissions counselors take a dim view of what they might see as an application from a rich, spoiled, snooty little brat. Oh and drop that idea about writing how you become a level 80 warrior on a video game.[caption id="attachment_1126" align="aligncenter" width="284"] Don't talk about your love life in your college essay. But even if you do, it's still a better love story than Twilight[/caption]
4. Avoid cliche topics like "What I Learned When I Won (or Lost) the Basketball Championship". What's wrong with that bittersweet story of your youth when you sank/missed the winning free throws to win the league championship? Nothing. Except it's everyone's bittersweet story of their youth. You want to stand out in some way and not blend in the background noise of thousands of applicants clamoring to be heard.5. Keep your audience in mind. You are not writing to the Queen of England so avoid stilted or overly formal language. Think of your guidance counselor or English teacher as your audience, i.e. people who are friendly and willing to listen to your story but they're not your kid brother or sister that you can just write any old thing in any old way you want to. [caption id="attachment_1121" align="aligncenter" width="265"] Sound advice.[/caption] 6. Answer the question! Read the prompts carefully and address them directly. An old essay prompt went something like, "Talk about how a certain person or historical figure influenced your life". A lot of essays went on to talk about the applicant's mother or father, a teacher, or Jesus Christ. That's all very nice but if you read carefully, it says to talk about the influence the person had in your life...not the person itself. The colleges are not looking to admit Mom, Dad, your 3rd grade English teacher, or Jesus Christ, they're looking to admit YOU. 7. Finally, don't procrastinate. I know that I discussed this in the previous post but it bears repeating. A good essay is never written...it is re-written. Rewriting and editing takes time and the more of this you do the better the chances your essay will be quite good. Good luck with your essay. Comments (and prospective college essays) welcome.
- Common Application Essay Advice for 2013-2014 (veritasprep.com)