The three most common college essay mistakes

For seniors who are still working on college essays, make sure you avoid the three most common college essay mistakes. 

1.  Injecting deep meaning into an event that wasn't all that meaningful at the time.

2.  Claiming an experience taught you a valuable lesson you didn't actually learn, or don't seem to be using today.

3.  Writing the essay in a formal and academic tone that doesn't sound like you.

All three of those mistakes come from students trying too hard to be impressive.  Worry less about what you think they want to hear; worry more about what you want to say. 

You can find even more advice in our video, “How to Write Great College Essays.”  It’s $12.99 and available as a streaming download.


  1. says

    As a college consultant who reads a lot of essays, these are probably three of the biggest mistakes I see. If students would brainstorm more with topics that are really important to them and not what they think a college would like to see, I think their essays would improve dramatically. You hit the nail on the head.
    College Direction
    Denver, Colorado