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What to Avoid on College Application Essays

What to Avoid on College Application Essays

Every year, college admissions officers cringe upon seeing hundreds and thousands of students’ attempts to win their hearts with mediocre to bad college essays. To ensure that your essay won’t have this effect, avoid these five commonly found mistakes on college application essays.

1. Blatant overuse/misuse of rhetorical devices

By the time you’re applying to college, you’ve inevitably learned about simile, metaphor, and other commonly used rhetorical devices. While these devices function well in literature and poetry, successfully incorporating them into your essay can be a challenge. With these devices, the rule is not "the more the merrier;" try to ensure that your literary comparisons create a tangible sensation in the reader and don’t disrupt the flow of your essay.

5. Being overly formal

There is no need to write like Shakespeare. College application officers know how high school students really talk. A better approach is to write in a laid back, friendly manner while still employing the correct use of . Use your essay to show your personality: feel free to include jokes, snarky remarks, sarcasm, or exaggeration. You can’t trick application officers into believing that you really use archaic vocabulary and phrasing in your everyday speech. Chances are, they won’t take you seriously.

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