So, you’ve polished your essay and sent it to the professor. The thesis statement is in its place, and the structure is perfect. Moreover, you’ve done extensive research and collected relevant and recent sources. But the grade is low, and you don’t understand what you’ve missed in the writing process. So there is a high chance that you will keep repeating the same mistake again and again.
Our experts are here to help. Check the most common essay mistakes students make. Find ways to leave the mistakes in the past and score high in the future.
#1: Broad Topics
Keep your essay topic narrow and concise. This is especially important if you’ve decided to delegate the task to a college paper writer in order to speed up your research and save time. We advise you to consult the professor on the topic you’ve composed before you start working on the essay.
Let’s check an example. Don’t write about the role of Egon Schiele in Austrian expressionism unless your professor assigns you this exact topic. Why so? Because the topic is too broad and complex. Better focus on how Schiele modernized the genre of expressionist landscape. In other words, to narrow your topic down, focus on fewer details.
Make sure your topic reflects the thesis statement ideas, for instance, ‘The Use of Line, Shape, and Color in Egon Schiele’s Expressionist Landscape.’ By taking a quick look at your topic, the reader already knows what exactly your analysis focuses on.
#2: Plagiarism, Grammar, and Spelling Errors
Ironically, one of the most common essay mistakes has the easiest solution. Install a plagiarism and grammar checker! This will take you only a few minutes. Most of them come in a full pack. This means that the app you download checks the text for both plagiarism and all types of mistakes. Which apps are the best to install when it comes to plagiarism and grammar?
- Grammarly. The leader of all writing apps, Grammarly offers various opportunities. Sure, you can check your text for plagiarism and misspellings. But you can also ask for a personal grammar consultant;
- Turnitin. You might not necessarily use this tool since you need your teacher’s access to it first. The program is designed specifically for colleges fighting against plagiarism. The tool is the best plagiarism detector a modern student can find. Once you decide to use it, ask your teacher for the ‘key’;
- White Smoke. A tool is a free dictionary that checks your style, spelling, and punctuation. The app operates in 18 languages, making it popular all around the globe. If translating texts is a common task in your college, consider White Smoke;
- Paper Rater. In many ways, Paper Rater works like Grammarly. It checks your paper for grammar and spelling mistakes and plagiarism.
#3: The Lack of Facts and Statistics
Essays differ. Not all of them will require statistics or complex sources. However, all of them will demand strong analysis, even if the essay is a reflection on a literary piece. At the core of every essay lies the need to persuade the reader that your opinion is valid. This is when students start confusing descriptive writing with analysis.
How to prove your opinion to the reader?
- Use a ‘sandwich’ paragraph model. The opening sentence must speak the argument the paragraph will discuss. Broaden the argument in the next sentences. Mention facts and statistics from the relevant sources. Close the paragraph with a concluding sentence to summarize the findings;
- Use credible sources. Focus your academic research on databases like Jstor or Google Scholar. Citing an irrelevant source that has not been peer-reviewed will result in lower points;
- Facts and statistics. It’s difficult to argue with numbers. Especially if they’ve been extracted from the reports created by global organizations.
#4: Wrong Format
Yeap, abbreviations like MLA or APA mean a lot to your final points for the essay. Most times, students fail to understand the nature of the paper’s design rules. Again, consulting the local writing center might be helpful. One can also search for the writing help online like writing tutorials.
Most disciplines in Humanities require students to use MLA. Meanwhile, disciplines like Psychology demand the use of APA. To avoid wrong in-citations and Bibliography lists, consult your instructions twice. It’s even better if you use samples provided by the instructor.
#5: A Different Type of Essay
Another common mistake is writing the wrong type of essay. If the task lacks instructions or some of them are confusing, writing gets tricky. Before you start composing an essay, define the genre and learn its basics.
There are five main types of college essays. They are narrative, argumentative, compare-and-contrast, analytical, and expository essays.
- Narrative. It can be a fictional story written according to literary rules. Or it can be a reflection piece. The use of first pronouns is allowed, and the rules are less strict when it comes to structuring;
- Argumentative. Must contain a counter argument paragraph added to the traditional structure. Facts and statistics are vital to persuade the reader;
- Compare-and-Contrast. Two phenomena are taken, and their differences and similarities are analyzed;
- Analytical. The name itself tells that the piece is a well-detailed analysis of a specific phenomenon. Again, use relevant facts and statistics;
- Expository. The piece is pretty descriptive in its nature. It employs a traditional structure and covers general topics.
#6: Wrongly Composed Introduction and Conclusion
These are the parts that suffer the most in essay writing. This comes in full contradiction to essay structure principles. Both introductory and concluding sections have rigid structures compared to fluid body paragraphs. Then why is writing a conclusion and introduction so confusing?
- A boring opening sentence. There is a golden rule that the first sentence is a ‘hook’ that grabs the reader’s attention. Use shocking statistics and rhetorical questions to leave the reader craving for more data;
- Cumbersome thesis statements. Yeap, contrary to popular opinion, a thesis statement might take more than one sentence. Just keep the reasons logical and coherent;
- New data in conclusion. Your final paragraph should restate the data the reader is already familiar with.
Avoiding mistakes while writing your college essay is possible. Narrow down your topic, use plagiarism-checking software, and cite credible sources. Meanwhile, follow the principles of format rules and proper essay structure. In case the whole writing process is still daunting, search for essay help online.
We hope the article was helpful to you. Good luck!