Nine Ways to Ruin Your College Essay

  1. Rely heavily on the thesaurus; include words in your essay that you would never use in conversation.
  2. Use emoticons for a lively effect.
  3. Click “send” before you proofread. Spell check said everything was perfect.
  4. Buy an essay and pass it off as your own work. No one will know.
  5. Have all your friends and family read your essay, then incorporate all suggestions.
  6. Write about a person you admire; leave yourself out of the story.
  7. Compose your essay in the voice of a beloved pet.
  8. Try to sound intellectual. This is college, after all.
  9. Read dozens of sample essays. Find one you like, and treat it like a Mad Lib fill-in-the blank puzzle.

All kidding aside, you should write your essays in your own voice, in your own words. This is your chance to tell admissions officers something real about yourself. If you are funny, be funny. If you are serious, be serious. Above all, be you.

Need help? Sign up to work with a Wow Writing coach, or send us your completed essay for a review by a professional writer. We’re here to help you sound like yourself.