6 College Essay Myths and Facts You Need to Know – 2020 Guide

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Writing a good college essay can be very intimidating, and many students get extremely overwhelmed once they’ve set on writing it. So how do you write it properly? The important thing is to be aware of the common myths that can have a negative impact on the quality of your work. In this small guide, we will discuss both the things you should and shouldn’t do when writing your college essay to make the whole process much easier to handle.

So, without further ado, let’s get to the bottom of it!

1. The topic must be academic

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You’re a high school student, so you can’t possibly believe that the college will expect you to have mastered the subject of your future major before you’ve even started studying it. The topic of your essay shouldn’t be a scientific paper, it should rather be something that’s related to you and your way of thinking. Your college wants to meet you through this essay, so make sure to pick a topic that shows your critical thinking and your personality.

It could be basically anything, it doesn’t have to be an impressive story at all! The only important thing is that it captures your thoughts and unique way of perceiving things around you. The admission office wants to know what the story you’ve chosen means to you, so you should be the main topic of your essay.

2. I should use „big words“ in my essay

Since your essay will be a personal story of yours, a story of discovering who you are in a sense, your language doesn’t need to be professional or „advanced“. Remember, you’re not writing a research paper, you’re writing your own story! So keep the language in a tone that’s most comfortable to you. You don’t need to use the dictionary to write about a personal experience. The essay should really capture your personality, and that means your way of expressing yourself as well.

You’re not Shakespeare nor Tolstoy, you are uniquely you, and that’s what the college really cares about. Think about it like it’s an interview of a sort, your future college wants to meet you properly and learn about your personal experiences that have impacted you as a person. The ability to analyze yourself and think critically is what matters the most.

3. The essay is not important

If the essay was not important to the admission office, there would simply be no essay requirement in the admission process. While it’s not the most important thing in their consideration, it really does make a difference. Your grades and recommendations are extremely important, but what can make you stand out from the candidates with similar scores is the essay. So don’t just brush it off as something unimportant!

Make sure to put enough effort and time into writing it. Don’t just leave it for the day before the deadline. The more time you leave to think about it, the better ideas will come to your mind. Think of it as something that can make or break your whole application, so don’t underestimate the importance of it! They do read them, so don’t listen to people who say that these essays are going to be ignored.

4. You can’t ask for assistance

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While the whole essay should be written by you, it doesn’t mean you can’t ask for any assistance from other people. Websites like the OwlEssay can help you find your voice and get to some fresh ideas. Still, don’t rely completely on google, since you want to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense, and your whole application can be rejected if any plagiarism is noticed in your essay.

So yes, while it’s never a good idea to have someone write it for you, getting some advice is not prohibited. Even looking at a well-written example can help you get more comfortable when writing your own college essay. It’s important that the essay is unique, and that it sounds like it’s written by a 17yr old teenager.

All in all, if you feel really stuck, getting a professional to help you could be the best choice you’ve ever made. Just make sure not to overdo it, and make sure to add a bit of yourself into the essay since that’s what’s important.

5. I need to fit as many of my accomplishments as I can

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This is perhaps one of the most damaging myths there is. It’s not a job interview, and the rest of your application will speak of your accomplishments anyway. It’s much better to focus on your story and let the college meet you as a person. Showcase some other important skills in your story, skills you can’t learn through formal education.

Your topic can be something small, it doesn’t have to be a major accomplishment in your life. It should be something that made you become a person you are today, something that helped you grow and something that’s important to you. It should be an experience, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a major milestone in your life.

All in all, make sure to keep it as personal as possible, all while showcasing your uniqueness and individuality.

6. I should write about something that has gotten someone else admitted

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While it’s not a bad idea to talk to someone who has gotten admitted to the college of your choice before, you should never try to copy them. Everyone has a different experience, and just because this worked for someone else, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Be unique, and be yourself. It’s your story, and if you try to write about something that’s not important to you, the admission officers will be able to see it. Your essay could end up looking forced and it could lack the important „feel“ most colleges are looking for in their candidates.

The takeaway

Writing a college essay can be a daunting task. The most important thing to do is to keep it unique and personal. Pick a topic that’s important to you, and showcase your personality and thoughts.

Whatever you do, don’t copy anyone else, the essay has to be completely original. Use your natural voice, let your individuality shine, and you’re guaranteed to get the best results possible!

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