There’s a good chance it’s still not ready to submit. Consider having a professional review it.
Why? Here are ten good reasons:
- To spot spelling errors. Yes, you have a free spell-checker on your word processing software, however that spell checker doesn’t really care how your essay reads. It won’t change wrong words or words that sound the same but have different spellings. Make cents? (by which of course we mean ‘make sense’?)
- To discover grammatical errors. Using “its” instead of “it’s” or using “too” instead of “to” can be distracting and annoying to the reader. They also make you look less smart. You don’t want to annoy the person who is reading your college admissions or scholarship essay.
- To catch use of “passive voice” rather than “active voice”. Sentences written in an active voice are punchy, energetic and interesting. While every sentence in your essay may not be an active one, knowing which sentence structure to use can be the difference between an exciting essay and a snooze-fest.
- To make sure you actually answer the essay prompt. Sounds obvious, but sometimes students get caught up in what they think the reader wants to hear and they forget to answer the question.
- To find goof-ups. Cut and paste may be your enemy. If you mention in your University of Delaware that you look forward to being a Blue Hen, but then forget to switch that Blue Hen to a Nittany Lion in your Penn State essay, you just might make an admissions officer mad enough to heave your essay into the circular file (aka: trash can).
- To balance the number of words. Being too wordy is bad, but trying to fill a page is not good either. There are usually word minimums and maximums on essays. The Common App essays are to be between 250-500 words. Stick to those parameters with strong sentences and good word choices.
- To apprehend big words and complex sentences. It’s okay to throw in some capacious colloquy, but too much makes you sound like a know-it-all wanna-be.
- To make sure you’ve got “a hook” at the beginning. The goal of your essay is to grab the reader’s attention. Too many essay writers bury the hook or don’t form a strong enough hook- both lead to weak essays.
- To make sure you don’t sound like an ego-maniac or like a self-doubter. Your essay should convey confidence in a positive manner. An essay that over-values or under-values your attributes can backfire. Balance is important.
- To determine whether your essay is interesting. Let’s face it, your mom thinks everything you do and say is interesting. Essay readers need more convincing. The essay is your chance to tell a story. It needs to be descriptive, honest and compelling. It needs to reveal who you are.