Clichés in College Essay Examples: How To Recognize Them?

College Samples

If you spend some time reviewing college essay examples on the Internet, you will likely notice that many of them share some similarities. That does not mean that those are things you should also do yourself when you’re writing an essay. Instead, those are often things that are overdone in college essays. As a result, you should be careful to notice repetition as you look at college essays examples.

While reviewing samples can be a great way to learn about college essays, it can also end up causing you to incorporate overdone things into your own essays. Whenever you need to write something for a college application, you want to ensure that you’re being unique. You still want to tell your own personal stories in your own way even if you’ve reviewed samples beforehand. Learning how to look at college essay examples will help you with this, especially if you know how to identify clichés.

Recognizing What’s Overdone in College Essays Examples

1. Starting your essay with a quote

This is an extremely popular way to start a college essay, but it’s almost never a good idea. Unless the prompt specifically asks you to provide a quote for some reason, you should avoid this tactic. The admissions committee wants to hear from you, not Mother Teresa, Gandhi, General Patton, or some other oft-quoted celebrity.

2. Talking about a relative or friend dealing with a health problem

These types of stories find their way into admissions essays quite often, so you regularly see them in college essay examples. Even if something like this has happened to you in your life, you should avoid talking about it in an essay. Doing so will make you blend in with other applicants, past and present, who discuss similar events.

3. Sports stories that involve a difficult loss or improbable victory

Even if you’re a passionate and/or skilled athlete, sports stories are all over in college essays examples. That means that they’re also all over in essays that are actually submitted to schools. Rather than talking about the clichéd difficult loss or improbably victory, find a way to discuss your sport differently. Possibilities include describing a particularly rewarding practice session or a time when you learned something important about an opponent.

4. Narratives about “finding yourself” or “learning something” through international travel

Again, stories like these are very common in college essays. No matter how amazing your trip was, recognize that many other applicants have been through similar travels; that means they’re frequent topics in college essays. If you’re going to talk about travel, find a way to make your story unique. Make sure you share vivid details and draw a personal conclusion from the story.

We regularly get students’ essays to do proofreading and can note that many people overdo elements when writing. Their biggest fear is forgetting to include a piece of important information. If you think it’s not about you, ask us to help you with editing a college essay. You’ll be surprised, but our editors will find many cliches there.

You may also like: How to Use Sample College Application Essays

Need help with your essay?

Our editors will polish your doc to make it

Find Out More

Recent Posts

EssayEdge customers and authorized clients can leave a comment.
Please register to leave a comment.
Register Now
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Get FREE expert admission guides to your Inbox

Our guides on College, Graduate, Medical, MBA, and Law admission include essential information on the preparation of documents for your chosen program, pro tips, and clues

Get my guide