What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What are the biggest mistakes made on college essays?

Hey everyone! I'm starting to write my college essays, and I want to avoid any common mistakes. What do you think are the biggest no-no's when it comes to writing college application essays?

9 months ago

Hello! It's great that you're thinking about mistakes to avoid in your college essays. One of the most common errors with college essays is choosing a cliche topic. While you don't need to find a topic admissions officers have never seen before, as they read so many thousands of applications each year that that would be practically impossible, there are some tropes that are so common they're unlikely to do much of anything to help you stand out from the crowd. You can read about some of those topics to avoid on CollegeVine's blog: https://blog.collegevine.com/cliche-college-essay-topics

Additionally, many students forget to proofread their college essays for grammar and spelling errors. To make the best impression, ensure your essay is polished and revised multiple times. You can also check out CollegeVine's peer review essay service, which is free and allows other students to read over your essay, or submit your essay for a paid, expert review from one of our many excellent advisors.

Finally, not showcasing your authentic self is another significant mistake. While being honest about who you are with a bunch of strangers can be intimidating, trying to appear perfect or say "what they want to hear" will backfire on you, as you'll end up just blending into the background with all the other students who are catering their response around what they think admissions officers want rather than who they actually are.

Good luck with your essays, and don't hesitate to reach out for further advice!

9 months ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.