Some Common Obstacles You May Face When Writing an Application Essay

Application essays need to unveil to the reader just who you are. You have to show your various strong attributes without appearing to brag. You have to reveal your weaknesses and how you learned from them, but you do not want to exhibit so much of your flaw that you look undesirable. There is an art to the admissions essay, and there are pitfalls to avoid.


There are a few standard topic ideas that you can make unique to yourself. You may want to write about:

  • A embarrassing event
  • An accident such as a fender-bender
  • An accomplishment and how you reached your goal
  • A defeat such as a major sports’ loss
  • A important person in your life and how you have learned from them
  • An unique hobby you have
  • A family hardship or tragedy

The biggest obstacle with these topics is making sure you do not sound like every other admissions essay that is submitted. Try a different approach so that you stand out, like starting the essay at the end of the event or beginning with your reaction to the event.


A story works best for admissions submission. You can tell what happened to you and provide the admission personnel with an omniscient view of your actions and reactions. The way you retell the event, as well as the event itself, will speak volumes about who you really are.

Maybe you had a small careless car wreck and your parents made you pay for the repairs. So, you took a part-time job to pay for the repairs. This story, if told correctly, would not focus on a careless teenager’s actions, but instead would focus on a young person taking responsibilities for his or her actions.

An obstacle in writing a narrative might be that you get too comfortable and start to write in informal language or that you reveal too many of your flaws. Do remember who your audience is as you write.

Proofing Obstacles

Make sure you have the essay proofed by a professional or an educator. Making grammar, spelling, and structural mistakes in your admissions essay could be a big obstacle to your acceptance. Be very careful and write a few drafts with much proofing before you submit it.

Consider these obstacles before you write your admissions essay. Make sure you have a defense to handle each of the obstacles, so they do not hinder your admissions essay.

Posted by June 16th, 2014