College Essay Wring Ideas: What to Avoid
Essays are either a boon or a bane to your collegiate existence, depending on your point of view. For some of us, they’re far more preferable and easier to prepare for than those multiple choice or in-class essay tests. For others, it can seem like a veritable minefield of mistakes and bad decisions waiting to happen. There’s a lot of room for creativity and original thought in college essays, but that means there are a lot more chances for you to make a fatal mistake, too—and that’s definitely something you want to avoid.
So, in that spirit, here are four things to avoid when writing your next college essay.
- Generalizations: You always want to avoid generalizations (except for this one, of course.) If you use words like “all,” “entirely,” “completely,” or other such terms, you’re just begging for your professor to mark up your professor with all the possible instances in which your generalizations are wrong or could fall flat. Instead, try and introduce “qualifying statements” into your writing. A few examples: “This may be seen as,” “Some might argue that,” “It could be argued that,” etc.
- Illegitimate Sources: What do we mean by this? Well, if you’re writing an academic paper, there are certain standards you’re going to be held to, and one of those standards is an insistence on using what are known as “academic sources” or “peer-reviewed articles.” What does this mean? Simply put, if you’re looking for a source to use in your next Shakespeare paper, you want to use recognized academic journals, not www.shakespeareconspiracies.com.
- First Drafts as Final Drafts: At the very least, you need to take your time to review your essay when you finish it. Go through it, look for typos, and see if you can’t maybe make it just a bit better. Don’t turn in a paper seconds after you complete it—chances are, there’s at least one thing you can fix or one typo out there you can catch that’ll help save you a point or two on your essay’s grade.
- Clichés: You don’t want to use cliché phrases in your paper. Ever. If you’re concluding your paper with “And so, in conclusion,” you’re just asking for trouble. Don’t use that. Other phrases to nix from your paper writing vocabulary include—“Webster’s defines *blank* as,” “As we all know,” “Would you believe that,” and so on.
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