The biggest and most common mistake application essay writers make is hiding themselves from the reader. In an application essay, you are writing in a personal tone. Be naked and honest! Let a reader get to know you. Paint a picture of some important pieces of your life. Let your personality shine through.
In the essays you write for English or history classes, you can distance yourself from the personal by using the 3rd person nomenclature. Not in a personal application essay! In the 1st person voice, what is written and implied is only you.
Interesting ideas, sharply worded sentences, correct word usage and writing mechanics are not only needed, but mandatory. To make a positive first impression on the reader, one must catch their attention quickly. Genial first impressions set up positive expectations about what follows.
VOICE IS VERY IMPORTANT! Do not have your English teacher edit your essay. Admissions readers are very sensitive about hearing two or more voices in an essay. No matter how careful your teachers and family may be, they are likely to subtly insert their voice in your writing, albeit unwittingly. Cultivating a singular, personal voice is the main task in writing an interesting, appropriate application essay.
The very best and most memorable essays are simply stated and written with clear language and logic. A good essay contains relevant personal details, important experiences, and a unique voice. Concentrate on one or two important life lessons, experiences, or personal traits and explore them fully. Do not force humor or exaggeration, but rather be honest and make sure that the narrative flows smoothly.