You’re Doing It Wrong: The 3 Biggest Mistakes You’re Probably Making in Your Application Essays

By: Michael Noltemeyer, North Star Editing

Writing an application is like being trapped in a choose-your-own-adventure story that someone else is reading: your fate lies in the hands of your audience.

Problem is, most applicants don’t understand what their audience wants.

I don’t make that claim lightly. Over the last ten years, I’ve read literally thousands of personal statements and statements of purpose and everything in between.

That’s why I’m confident when I say you’re probably making at least one of these three mistakes I see on almost every essay that comes my way.

1. Thinking Your Essays Don’t Matter

Consider these figures from 2017:

Competition for Ivy League spots is so fierce that Harvard, Yale, and Stanford could each rescind their offers of admission to every student they have already accepted, choose another freshman class of the same size, and suffer no statistical drop-off.

In fact, they could probably do that...

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