Graduate School Top Ten Most Common Mistakes

  1. Careless Mistakes:
    There is absolutely no excuse for spelling or grammar mistakes.
  2. Rehashing:
    Do not reiterate accomplishments or activities that are already mentioned elsewhere in your application. A good essay should introduce a facet of your personality, something your test scores, GPA and activities don't reveal.
  3. Too Personal:
    While you do want risk something and share a piece of yourself, you don't want to embarrass the reader.
  4. Waiting until the last minute:
    Don't expect or even attempt to write the perfect essay in one sitting. Write something, edit it, put it aside, and go back to it later. Good writing is the product of good, constant rewriting.
  5. The Thesaurus Syndrome:
    Don't overutilize ostentatiously pretentious language to delineate subject matter you are attempting to address. Big words aren't impressive; a clear, direct style is.
  6. Life Histories:
    Make sure your essay has a point. An endless stream of phrases like "then I did this, and then I did this..." is boring and meaningless.
  7. Hackneyed Phrases:
    Admission officers are sick of applicants "who want to help people." Think of something that's unique to you.
  8. Too Gimmicky:
    Writing your essay in purple crayon is pointless. Being creative and being nonsensical are not the same.
  9. Cynicism:
    Schools want bright, active people-not Mr. Gloom. A positive approach to life-and to the essay will score points.
  10. Too Long:
    More is not better. Schools want a concise, well-reasoned essay. Try not to exceed the word or space limit.