Here Are Some Common Grammar and Spelling Errors Students Should Check For In Their College Application Essays
Few things are scarier to students than submitting their college application only to find mistakes afterward. This can lead to panicked calls to counselors and colleges, asking to resubmit their essays or correct an error. While small grammar and spelling mistakes won’t kill your college admission chances, they can lead to a lot of nightmares for already stressed-out students. Checking essays for avoidable mistakes before submitting can save students a lot of anxiety.
One of the most important final steps that students should take when applying to college is to carefully read over their application and admissions essays in order to catch any spelling, grammar, or informational mistakes. A polished application makes admission officer’s lives easier, and attention to detail can help students correct easily avoidable mistakes.
While a spelling or grammar error alone won’t send an application to the “no” pile, an essay riddled with them can come off as sloppy and leave admission officers wondering how much attention students actually paid to their application.
A polished application without errors, typos, and grammatical mistakes is easier to read, which is important to an admissions officer who only has a couple of minutes to read through your application before moving on to the next. It’s important for students to take time to read through their essay and materials to make sure everything is 100% ready to go before submitting.
Here are some common spelling and grammar mistakes should look out for in their college application essays:
Its vs. It’s and More
The spelling and usage of these different words is one of the most common mistakes that students make in their writing. Because of the rise in casual communication like texting and social media, students sometimes forget the proper use of some of these words. These are the easiest mistakes to correct.
Its: The possessive form of “it.”
It’s: The contraction of “it is.”
Many students mistakenly use “it’s” as the possessive because of the apostrophe. Carefully read your essays to make sure you’re using the correct form of each.
Your: The possessive form of you.
You’re: The contraction of “you are.”
Your is often mistakenly used for “you’re.” When editing your essay read it out loud and look for spots where you would say “you are.” If “your” is used instead, correct it.
There: A place
Their: Something owned by a group (possessive).
They’re: The contraction of “they are.”
There and their often get switched, with “they’re” sometimes abandoned altogether. Again, read your essay out loud when editing it and look for instances where you use any of these three words, especially where “they are” would be used.
Peek: To look at something.
Peak: The top of a mountain or the highest point of something.
Pique: To provoke interest or curiosity (pique your interest)
Peek and peak can sometimes be confused, but more often than not it’s pique that gets mishandled. Something doesn’t peek or peak your interest. Something “piques your interest.” If you use that phrase in your essay make sure you’re using the correct word.
Punctuation is there for a reason! Many times, in an effort to elevate their writing, students will use complex, long sentences – stuffing as much information as they can into one statement. The lack of appropriate punctuation, like commas, dashes, semicolons, etc., can leave the reader without cues as to where one idea ends and another begins. This can also mess up the flow your writing, and leave the reader confused about the message you’re trying to convey. Use commas to separate sentences, items in a series, clauses, and other elements that need to be distinguished. Use semicolons and dashes to connect ideas. If a sentence is really long, break it up into two separate sentences. You don’t have to fill your essay with complicated language and sentence structure in order for it to sound sophisticated or make an impact.
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Typos That Spellcheck Won’t Catch
There are a number of spelling errors or typos that often go unnoticed at first because, well, they are actually words! For example “our” can easily be an “out” typo. “Martial” arts can become “marital” arts. “Bringing” can be mistakenly replaced with “brining,” and so on. While harmless, these kinds of typos and spelling errors can make your essay confusing or sloppy. Again, read your essay slowly and out loud when editing, paying close attention to spelling and usage.
In the end, an error or two won’t hurt your college admissions chances. However, many students sometimes catch these errors after their applications are submitted, and it causes more stress than necessary. Save yourself the worry and double and triple check your application for any of these errors.
In the end, knowing you submitted the best application possible, without errors, will alleviate some of that college admissions anxiety and allow you to focus your attention on the next task at hand.