I wanted to make a quick post detailing some common mistakes that my students are making this year in their personal statements and application essays for schools like the University of California (UC) and the University of Texas (UT).

Writing your essay about sports:

  • Many of you are still writing about sports…I urge you not to do this.
  • Your activity resume will show all the time you spend on sports and the sports essay is entirely overused.
  • Be careful writing about dance or cheerleading as well for the same reasons.

Sports/Dance Injury:

  • See above

UC prompts

  • You cannot have more than 1000 words total.  For example, one essay can be up to 400 words and the other 600 words.  The UC application truncates.  You cannot write 1112 words and think it will go un-noticed.
  • Do not have any overlapping themes between your 2 prompts.  Use them as a chance to show 2 different sides to yourself.  Otherwise it’s a waste of everyone’s (including your) time.

Apply Texas Essays

  • Essay A asks you about a SETTING where you have collaborated or interacted with PEOPLE.
    • Don’t write your essay about your experience with one person.
  • Essay B
    • This essay is not mandatory for UT…but can be a good essay if you feel you have a great answer.
    • Essay B is recommended for other Texas schools…but your “conflict” doesn’t have to be about death or something tragic.  You can talk about an obstacle or circumstance that may have been tricky with your family or at school or at your job.
    • The most important part of Essay B is skills and resources you used to resolve it…and how you might have changed.
  • Essay C
    • The most important essay for UT-Austin.  It asks you about current and future activities that might help you achieve your goals.
    • You can use this as a story about how you decided what you would choose as your major and make it specific to a school you’re applying to at UT.
    • You can discuss how community service/job/family obligation/extracurricular activity paved the way for your goals and aspirations.  Remember, we all have our own descriptions about what success or happiness can be…that’s what differentiates this response among applicants.

 

Personal Statement and Application Essay Mistakes 2013 last edited by Danielle Bianchi Golod on