No one wants their college application to end up in the trash pile. This is detailed coverage of all the don’ts, plus the topics to avoid when writing essays.

The college essay is among the requirements for joining institutions of higher learning. Through it, prospects get to convince admission officers that they would be a valuable addition to their institution by showcasing their unique personalities and strengths. Even so, not everyone gets accepted. And the blame for failure goes to two common pitfalls: poor subject selection and doing the wrong things. This article provides detailed coverage of things to do, plus the topic to never consider.

What not to do in essay writing

Knowing which pitfalls to avoid when writing admissions or acceptance essays will transform applying to college into a less daunting task. Furthermore, you’ll be one step closer to creating a flawless application, sure to earn you a spot in the institution you are eyeing. Below, we discuss the mistakes to avoid. Have them at your fingertips, and you will automatically know what to do.

1. Underestimating the importance of college essay writing

College essays are just one of the requirements of the application process. Do not underestimate its worth, though, as it makes a difference in acceptance. That being the case, requesting custom essay writing help is always an option if you do not have enough time to give your college write-up the attention it deserves. This service allows you to submit instructions to a preferred writer after signing up. An added perk is that it is possible to ask for a few free changes or additions.

Still, mastering the rules of curating a university essay is important. This way, you’ll know what to look out for and the recommendations to put across. You might also give the write-up a personal touch before submission.

2. Repeating information

A repetitive admissions essay is boring to the readers, making them abandon reading it midway. Introducing new aspects of your personality and experiences at every stage is the ideal thing to do. If you mentioned your extracurricular activities earlier, for example, do not mention them again unless you want to describe a particularly fascinating one.

3. Complaining about School or Teachers

In Michael Dugan’s directorial debut film, a student gains entry into Harvard with an essay pointing out the education system’s shortcomings. Watching it before crafting your entry paper is probably not a good idea, as emulating the example could be costly. There might be a need to complain about the education system, but it’s not advisable to do so in your entry monograph. The admissions officer wants to see that you are mature and capable of handling challenges, not that you have a negative attitude toward school.

4. Focusing on negativity

When describing an unpleasant experience, look into how you overcame the challenge or how it helped shape you into a better person. Getting caught up in the cons is easy, but avoid it at all costs. Admissions officers in colleges want prospects who reflect on setbacks positively and constructively.

5. Using offensive language

Essays should not contain language that may sound rude to the reader. Even when it is unclear whether you are disrespectful, avoid derogatory comments about individuals or groups. Another to steer clear of is profanity or graphic descriptions of violence or sexual content. The intended audience is looking for people who express themselves respectfully.

6. Sounding arrogant

While candidates want to highlight their achievements and strengths, they should do so humbly. They have to show gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities granted to them. For instance, it is not okay to say they deserve onboarding to top schools because of their family’s legacy.

7. Trying to be another person

It is tempting to try to present oneself as the ideal candidate. After all, it makes sense for higher education institutions to be on the hunt for first-years that excel in studies, sports, and other activities. However, trying too hard to present yourself as the ideal candidate can appear deceitful. Aim to be authentic to yourself in your voice.

8. Sounding too formal or stilted language

Of course, you want to sound formal. But overdo it, and you will be stilted instead. While it is important to present yourself professionally, don’t go overboard with formal language, as it makes you sound like a robot.

Essay topics to avoid

There is no limitation to the number of subjects prospects use to demonstrate their unique perspectives and experiences. However, some, like the ones discussed below, are best avoided, as they reduce the acceptance chances.

1. Clichéd subjects

When deciding on a subject, an internet search is probably not the way to go. That’s because it’s the most likely route every other average candidate will take and choose the same subject. A family trip is an example of a clichéd topic to avoid as a sharp person. While it may be one of the go-tos, it’s unlikely to make a lasting impression as it has been used too frequently.

2. Controversial subjects

On the one hand, controversial topics are an effective way to showcase your critical thinking skills and intellectual curiosity. But they are perceived as insensitive or dismissive if the writer is not keen. So avoid politics and other controversial subjects. If you cannot, be empathetic and neutral because the institution is on the lookout for thoughtful first-year entrants who know the things to say without disrespecting others.

3. A personal discussion

The college essay should focus on you, but take our word for it. The last thing you need to do is make it too personal. For instance, discussing family and personal struggles or turning your write-up into a pity party is potentially embarrassing. It’s important to acknowledge and address issues and difficulties in life, but a university entry discourse is not necessarily the best place to do so.

4. Unrelated subject matter

Usually, the college issues an essay prompt, expecting students to select a related topic. Choose to write about an unrelated subject, and you will be deemed ignorant, unfocused, or simply someone who cannot follow instructions. Higher education institutes offering public relations courses will, for instance, require you to explain the role of PR in community interactions and how that has affected you. A good rule of thumb is always to read and fully understand the issued prompt and brainstorm ways to address it directly.

5. Broad topics

Another mistake freshmen-to-be make choosing subjects that are too broad or generic. A good example is writing about how they want to “make the planet a better place” or are “passionate about helping others.” The officials want to see specific examples of how they have uniquely impacted change or pursued their passions.


Curating a successful college essay is about finding the right balance between two things. The first is showcasing your unique experiences and perspectives. And the second is avoiding topics that are overdone, offensive, or unrelated to the prompt. Doing that guarantees that you create a standout write-up sure to boost your chances of acing multiple admissions to dream institutions of higher education.