We can’t stress enough the importance of taking advantage of the real estate an applicant is afforded in essays to make his or her case. These short-takes too are opportunities to present a window into your world, to distinguish yourself from other talented applicants to an elite institution.
But don’t think that an essay means only boxes that allow for 100 words or more.
Anyone can write about how they won the big game or the summer they spent in Rome.
When recalling these events, you need to give more than the play-by-play or itinerary.
We’ve seen a lot over the years, and we’ve pinpointed five you should watch out for.
Run spell check on everything you turn in to your instructor, but run a mental spell check too because there are words your computer won’t catch.You shouldn’t set a prepositional phrase apart with commas (“the students, of Ameritech, passed the NCLEX in record numbers”), or add commas in compound constructions that aren’t compound sentences (“That guy seems to know everything about writing, and photography.”).Too many commas looks just as bad as when you’re missing one.It’s basic grammar in sentences like that one, where the subject “nouns” is clearly plural, so you know to write “need” and not “needs.” It’s trickier when a plural subject is followed by a prepositional phrase with a singular noun, or vice versa.The rules of English tricky sometimes, like this sentence, when “English” could be mistaken for the subject.At Ameritech, writing is a part of all of our curricula, because it’s such a critical part of life.You may graduate and never deal with another essay for the rest of your life, but as a healthcare professional you’ll write emails, reports, and possibly blogs — so you need to master common writing mistakes while you’re in school.When you’re a real estate developer in Manhattan and you’re allowed to build twenty-five stories, you don’t build ten stories and dedicate the rest of the space for the native pigeons of Manhattan. Capitalizing on the maximum word count of college essays doesn’t just apply to the Common Application Personal Statement, which allows applicants to write 650 words. If Dartmouth asks you to write 300 words, don’t give them 250 words because you think empty space looks nice. When Dartmouth admissions officers come across an essay that doesn’t come close to their max word count, they’re likely to think, “This kid doesn’t love our school enough to put in the work to write an essay specifically for us.She probably wants to go elsewhere.” And if that thought happens to cross the mind of an admissions officer, the odds are good that same admissions officer is unlikely to offer the student a spot in the incoming class. It applies to every highly selective institution in America. Go up to the maximum word or character count in these opportunities too — and opportunities is the right word because that’s precisely what they are. It’s easy for your mind to write “defiantly” when you meant “definitely,” since they look and sound so similar.Scrutinize your writing for these errors, and consider asking a friend or parent to review big assignments to ensure you haven’t overlooked a mistake.