43 Phrases You Should Avoid In a College Admission Essay


When most students are writing their college admission essay, they aren’t thinking about the Essay Readers at colleges whose entire job is to sort students’ essays into NO, MAYBE, and YES piles.


As hard as you’ve worked on your essay, you may get exactly two minutes of a Reader’s time if he or she feels your writing is boring or unoriginal.


Unfortunately, a huge percentage of essays fall into this category.


On the other hand, the few essays that show clear, original thinking get promptly placed into the YES pile.


The admission essay is one truly personal section of the college application; if your essay stands out, your chances of getting into your top choice school goes up dramatically.


Therefore, take careful note of these 43 phrases.


Using them might spell NO for your admission chances.



Phrases to Avoid in a College Essay

    1. From that moment on, I always knew
    2. Marching to the beat of my own drum
    3. I felt at home
    4. Throughout history
    5. I’ve always known I wanted to be a doctor
    6. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” -Confucius
    7. When I traveled to Africa to help kids with autism
    8. My grandmother’s death taught me to not take life for granted
    9. Our nation has experienced monumental changes in society
    10. I learned so much about myself
    11. I realized I had been in this situation before
    12. Much of life is unexpected
    13. I don’t sweat the small stuff
    14. I learned to adapt
    15. My true reward
    16. I have loved/found/learned; I also love/found/learned
    17. I learned first-hand the importance of
    18. I hope to one day impact
    19. Since my discovery
    20. For billions of years, Earth has
    21. My passion for
    22. My thirst for knowledge
    23. This is where I grew the qualities of being a strong leader
    24. I may have traveled a world away, but by the time I left, I was no longer an outsider.
    25. Drive me to go the extra mile
    26. A catalyst for change
    27. There comes a time in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroads
    28. One of the most remarkable realizations
    29. From the time
    30. Of my life
    31. An experience central to my creative and intellectual point of view
    32. Made a difference
    33. I received an excellent grade
    34. Winning that game was indicative of my larger ability to be a leader
    35. For if I’ve learned anything in this brief life of mine
    36. Rare curiosity
    37. Big appetite for learning
    38. Taste for Intellectual experimentation
    39. Immensely difficult
    40. I began to wonder
    41. A land of introspection
    42. A magical experience
    43. I am not afraid to push limits











By Caroline Koppelman a college admissions expert. Her college admissions consulting firm, The Kopelman Group, has helped students get into the finest schools in the country, including Harvard and Upenn. If you need help brainstorming topics, editing essays, coming up with your college list, or anything relating to the college process.

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