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Common Stupid Mistakes

Poor essays are often turned in without anyone reading the essay before the teacher. This often leads to poor essays and poor grades. Why is it important to know how to write a successful essay? Because they affect your grades and they show the instructor what type of students you are. Knowing how to write a "great" essay is important for the next essay written and for the future because often a poorly written essay will influence the teacher about whom you are. Knowing the common mistakes and not-so-common mistakes in essay writing is important as a student who wants to please the instructor and to make good grades. A more obscure but equally noteworthy mistake is the use of the possessive apostrophe within a possessive. It is hard to resist the temptation to write "That was a mighty wonderful speech of Churchill's." Well, the possessive is already there in the "of." To what does the "'s" refer? A noun is missing: "of Churchill's maid"? "Of Churchill's dog"? We will never know. If you can't say, "That was a wonderful speech of Churchill" (and that cer- tainly isn't idiomatic), say, "That was a wonderful speech Churchill gave." Sometimes, a writer has to go back and straighten out an entire sentence in order to fix a small problem. The heart of any successful essay is strong paragraphs. The first paragraph should have a good hook that will keep the reader wanting to read. Quotes, illustrations, or statistic usually captures the attention of the reader. The relevance of the topic needs to be shown in the first paragraph.

Many essays are not planned and lack organization. Often the transitions are missing or they do not adequately link the points of the essay. Each paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence that emphasizes the thesis of the essay. Explanation of the evidence supporting the thesis should be clearly written for the reader to grasp. Another serious problem with essays is a missing conclusion. Poor support of the main ideas will make a poor essay. Carefully plan your essay with main points and thesis listed in an outline.

Typing errors or misspelled words often annoy the instructor. Every essay should be revised or proofread. Many famous writers have a critique group that suggests corrections on the person's writing. A person should read their work out loud as well as have someone neutral to read their work. Punctuation and grammar are important in writing a "good" essay. Some basic common errors to consider are due to grammar or punctuation errors. Often students write fragmented sentences (a sentence fragment is a sentence that is incomplete). Every sentence needs a subject and verb. Often sentence fragments begin with words such as often, that, or because. The best ways to recognize fragments in an essay is to read the essay out loud. Comma splices are often found in essays. A comma splice occurs when a comma separates two complete sentences. The best ways to correct these comma splices are to make it into two complete sentences using a period or to use a semicolon instead of the comma. Sometimes adding a conjunction is a great way of fixing these types of errors.

Another common error in an essay is using faulty parallelism. Faulty parallelism is a sentence that does not balance such as in a series. "When I go home, I plan to read, to write, and watch television." It should be: "When I go home I plan to read, to write, and to watch television." Keeping the parallelism the same in sentences. If you say you are going to swim, to read, and sleep, the sentence needs to add "to" before sleep.

Often sentences have a subject that does not agree with the verb. This is annoying to instructors. Examples of this error are: "Several boys in class were present." This should read, "Several boys in class were present." Another example would be: "Tom like to swim." This should read, "Tom likes to swim." Reading the sentence slowly helps the writer to catch these simple, but often irritating mistakes.

A not-so-common error of some students is procrastination, or hopefully, it is only a few students who wait until the day before the essay is due to hurriedly writes it. Often these students quickly throw their work together and hope for the best. However, most teachers recognize this rather quickly.

Another not-so-common error of essay writers is choosing a topic that they do not know well or choosing a topic they simply are not interested in doing. Good writing comes from the heart and the reader will recognize if a person is writing what a person is interested in knowing. Students bored with a topic or dislike a topic will usually have poor essays.

The following are common mistakes made on custom written application essays and how to avoid them.

An Application Essay Is NOT a Resume:

When the Admissions or College Entrance Committee sits down to consider your essay, they will have a copy of your resume in front of them. It will not impress them to have a prose version as well. Application Essays are not allowed to be very long because the Admissions Committee has so many to read. Do not waste space with resume material, unless you have something new and relevant to your Application Essay to say.

An Application Essay Is NOT a Transcript:

The Admissions Committee has a copy of your Transcript. You do not need to retype it into your Application Essay. You may include your GPA only if you are using it to support your claim that you will be an asset to the school.

Answer the Question:

Admissions Committees want to know who you are and how their school can be improved by your being there. In order to uncover this information, a number of common Application Essay questions have been developed. Your essay should focus on the question you have been asked. If you have not been asked for your life story, the Application Essay is not the place to write your autobiography.

Do NOT "Lay It On" Too Thick:

The Admissions Committee does not want to hear about how wonderful their school, faculty, football team, or the landscaping on their campus is. They already know that. They also do not want to read through several pages of excessive self-praise. They simply want to know who you are and why you believe you will be an asset to their school.

Writing an Application Essay - "Never Let They See You Sweat":

The Application Essay is not the place to beg to be allowed to attend a particular school. You have worth and value and you want the Admissions Committee to know that you will be an asset to whichever school you choose. In addition, if you have low self-esteem or suffer from self-doubt, do not include any hint of that in your custom application essay for college or university. Sentences beginning with "I may be wrong, but...," or "I am afraid that..." have no place in a well-written college entrance essay.

Double Check for: Spelling, Punctuation, Sentence Structure, and Passive Voice:

If you are in competition with others for a scarce number of positions, you do not need to weed yourself out early simply on the basis of problems with spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, or sentences that are difficult to quickly read and understand.

Plan Your Application Essay and Stick to the Plan:

Lack of structure, wandering thoughts, and jumping from topic to topic with no valid transition statement is as deadly to the Application Essay process as poor spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. If you’re Custom Admission Essay feels rootless to the Application Committee that is almost a guarantee that you will not be a student at their school.

If you can avoid these common Application Essay errors, there is every reason to believe that you will be more than a few steps ahead of the pack when the Admissions Committee sits down to decide which students they will invite to be part of the university experience at their school.

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