KING: What to avoid in your college application

Applying for college can be stressful and time-consuming for Seniors trying to take the next step in their life. Here are some useful tips on what you should avoid putting in a college application to make the process a little less demanding.

  1. Only talking about that one service project you did

It’s great that your service trip to Peru was the most amazing thing that you have ever experienced. You probably made memories that you will never forget with people you hold close to your heart, and that’s great. However, many other applicants are probably writing the same essay as you. So, how are you supposed to stand out in a crowd of millions of students your age? Instead of saying something general along the lines of “I went to Peru and my life changed for the better,” focus on a particular situation or confrontation you had while in Peru. When you reach the end of the application, ask yourself about the importance of this story or whether the lesson you learned was essential to your identity today.

  1. Exaggerating

Do not try to be someone or something that you aren’t intimately familiar with. You should avoid pretending to play a bigger role in something or being someone you aren’t. Your insincerity will hurt you in the long run because it’s much more difficult to write meaningfully about something you haven’t actually experienced. Instead, you should focus on something true and meaningful in your personal life. You could also discuss a failure you’ve experienced and tie it into how it led to your success. That way, you are able to flaunt your abilities and accomplishments while sounding more humble and mature. Remember, everyone has a story to tell. What matters when writing a college application is how you present your story.

  1. Cheesiness

I know that most of you are used to writing an English paper, beginning with a universal idea and expanding it in the three or more paragraphs that follow. Since you were taught to write this way in school must mean that you should follow this structure for everything, right? WRONG. At least in the case of college applications. A formal essay is ineffective when trying to convince admission officers to let you into their school. So, change it up and make it your own. Avoid cheesy quotes at all costs. The voice that the admission officer reads should be yours and only yours. They aren’t interested in something someone famous said in the late 1800’s or after winning the biggest NBA playoff game of their career. They want you; simple as that. However, if there is a quote that you have lived by your whole life and you have to put it into your essay, make sure to talk about how it affects you, not why it is an interesting quote. That way, the college admissions officer will be able to see the way you think rather the way others think.

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