...from GuidedPath Edge Guru

The Do’s and Don’ts of College Essay Writing

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It’s September – time to finalize your college essays.  Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to guide you. 

College Essay General Do’s and Don’ts 


  1. Do be concise and write about something you know. 
  2. Do be open and authentic.  Reveal something about your identity in your essay. 
  3. Do show rather than tell. Giving examples and illustrating your topic brings it to life. 
  4. Do write in your own “voice” and style. 
  5. Do have multiple people help you edit your essay for grammar, spelling, and context (parents, friends, your counselor, etc.). 


  1. Don’t write what you think others want to read. 
  2. Don’t exaggerate or write to impress. 
  3. Don’t use a flowery, inflated, or pretentious style of writing. 
  4. Don’t ramble—say what you have to say and conclude. 

Your college essay, along with your high school record, standardized test scores, and extracurricular involvement, will provide the basis upon which the college makes its admissions decision.  A thoughtful, well-written essay can positively affect that final decision.  Keep this in mind and take full advantage of the opportunity which the college essay affords you. 

Take Action
View the essay topics under the ESSAYS tab in GuidedPath for all the colleges on your list.  Keep all your essay drafts in one place under the cloud storage section of your GuidedPath account.  From there, you can share your drafts with your advisors, teachers or counselors.

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