The Top Mistake on College Application Essays

I’ve read a lot of college application essays -- both during my time as part of the UC Berkeley admissions team and over the past ten years guiding students as they apply to college.

Within moments of reading a college application essay, I can tell if a student makes one of the most common mistakes when it comes to writing a college application essay:

Staying on the surface.

I oftentimes find that students either are too afraid to get personal in their essays or have no idea how to reveal their true selves.

They’re afraid of getting judged (let’s get real — they ARE getting judged by the admissions team) or feel like it’s too weird to share their personal thoughts and experiences.

You know what’s even more weird? A student self-sabotaging their chances of getting into their dream school by not opening up in their college application essays.

Students oftentimes have no idea how incredible and unique their stories are. 

I had a student last...

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