The Ivy Coach Daily

August 10, 2011

Common App Admission Essays

It’s easy to think you’re avoiding trite topics for college essays and yet so many students write cliché essays nonetheless (photo credit: chensiyuan).

It’s college essay season! Now is the time for rising seniors to be crafting and refining their Common App admission essays and all of the supplemental essays for the various universities students intend to apply to. We’re going to give you one tip right now as you complete these college essays and it’s not a tip to be taken lightly. Avoid the cliché and avoid it at all costs! Be original! Add some spice. Show your character. Share your unique voice and tell your story.

You may have read the line “avoid the cliché” and thought to yourself, “duh!” But just because it may seem obvious doesn’t mean you will actually follow this advice. Let’s put it this way…your “original” idea about writing about your grandmother’s death and how it impacted you is cliché, cliché, cliché. Your inspiring sports story about how you used to finish last in cross-country races but now finish first through hard work and perseverance is cliché, cliché, cliché. Your story about building a house for impoverished families in South America and learning the value of giving back (while wonderful) is cliché.

Are there ways to shape a cliché topic into an inspiring essay. Yes. But sometimes there’s only so much you can do with a topic that leads admissions counselors to roll their eyes and think to themselves, “How many grandmothers do I have to read about dying today?! Ahhhh!” So if you have that grandmother essay, we suggest scrapping it. Start over. It’s a sunk cost. Brainstorm some new ideas and then get to work showing admissions counselors who you are and what you’re all about.

For help crafting powerful college admissions essays that help you stand out to college admissions counselors, contact us today. These writing samples may well be the most important essays you’ll ever write! And before you get started, have a look at our posts on College Essay Topics and College Admission Essays.

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