The Most Useless Useful College Essay Writing Tips


Graphic by Chloe Choi

Vikesh Dheeriya, New Editor

  1. “Don’t be cliche!”

 Remember seniors, if you write about a common topic that means you will be auto-rejected from your favorite college. Instead, what you should be doing is finding an obscure, random topic that is sooo unique and quirky that it will stand out compared to your peers. Admissions officers clearly would rather you write about the shape of a McDonalds chicken nugget than something meaningful yet common. Realistically, choosing a topic is the hardest part of applying to college, but living by “not being cliche” is the wrong approach when tackling an essay.


  1. “Show, don’t tell!” 

Would you rather us submit a Netflix documentary on our whole life story? We are supposed to be writing an essay to highlight our accomplishments in our four years of high school. Telling a student to show what they are saying rather than “tell” it is extremely frustrating because we aren’t professional creative writers. 


  1. “Use all 5 senses!

Ah yes, because describing how your mouth tastes during an MUN meeting tells your admission officer SO MUCH about why you are qualified to attend their college. Your admission reader will love it when you say “My perspiration gleamed as a result of the intransigent torridity originating from the cerulean sky.” The secret to college admissions is obviously to fill your essay with so much flowery description and intense vocabulary that not even you can understand what you are saying. Turn your essay into an exciting search for your main point! That way, you prove how intelligent and advanced you are, so they HAVE to admit you!


  1. “Find your true voice!” This isn’t a singing class. Aside from the topic, how is my writing “voice” going to be uniquely different from others? Is eliminating the oxford comma in my essay finding my “true voice”? 

This tip makes it sound like I need to go on some deep, adventurous trip to Tahiti to find my true voice, but really it’s been inside me the whole time, and the real lesson is the friends I made along the way. 

This advice really needs to listen to Tip 1 and not be so cliche. 


  1. “You Should Have Started Early!”

Well, it’s a little late for that. There isn’t a more iconic duo than teenagers and procrastination. After all, here we are again at 2 a.m., scouring the internet for the best way to write our essays due in a week. 

But starting early is difficult when you keep deleting the first sentence you write and stare at a blank Google document for days on end during the summer, worrying about “not being cliche” and “finding your true voice.”