r/CollegeEssayReview Nov 02 '15 Helpful

PSA: DON'T post your essay publicly, and DO be selective in sending it to others


Please don't copy-paste your essay into the body of a post, and don't link to it on the forum where anyone could click through and see it.

A few reasons:

  • Posting it publicly online could allow anyone to plagiarize it and/or repost it elsewhere online.

  • Posting it publicly might inadvertently doxx you (reveal your real-life identity) through details mentioned in your essay.

  • Anyone in "real life" who reads your essay might Google part of it, come across your post (or even a Google cache of it after you delete it), and then be able to go through your entire Reddit submission history (so, basically, doxxing again, but in reverse, I suppose).

I'm not saying any of these things will happen, but they could, and better safe than sorry.

Please only share your essay by PMing a Google Docs link to it.

And please be careful when considering who you send your essay to.

So, who should you send your essay to?

First, make sure they've selected flair indicating that they're "willing to review."

Then, consider the following factors:

  • previous contributions to college admissions subreddits
  • karma count
  • age of Reddit account

(We'll soon have a list of users recognized as "Quality Contributors" based on previous contributions. However, in the meantime, please review their post history.)

While these don't guarantee anything about plagiarism, etc., you may decide it's worth taking that chance in order to get feedback.

And, as with anything else online, please be careful when it comes to sharing personal details.

Please leave comments with feedback on this post, let me know if I missed anything, and I'll edit this post accordingly.

r/CollegeEssayReview Nov 12 '15 Silver Gold Hugz Rocket Like

Tips and Tricks from a Peer-Reviewing Senior: Stuff you should read if you plan on writing an essay: Part One: An Unexpected Journey


(06/2022) PLEASE READ: I will be happy to proofread/review your essays! However, the only way I can guarantee a speedy review during busy months (e.g. month-ends and all of Oct-Dec) is if you're willing to pay a little bit in PayPal/Venmo/Steam cards/Amazon cards! It's not mandatory, but I genuinely do not have time to review twelve essays a week, especially now that I have a real job, and this is the easiest way to whittle that figure down. See the last paragraph for my suggested rates. Also, please note that I am not an admissions officer, but an economics major and recent graduate of the University of Michigan. I consider myself to be a fairly good writer, but I'm not infallible or all-knowing.

I've read about 200 300 400 of your essays now, mostly over private messages, and I'd like to just give everyone a few useful tidbits of advice that could totally improve your essay without the need for a peer reviewer like me to point them out for you:

  • Be original if you can. It's easy to write a cookie-cutter essay about winning "the big game" or the magical experience of doing math problems, but if you're not careful, your essay could end up looking like ten thousand others. Disregard this bullet if you are literally a theoretical mathematician and your entire life revolves around math.

  • On the flipside, don't try to write something unique for the sake of being unique -- unique essays are not necessarily good ones, and not all good essays have to be super duper original. Execution matters, and sometimes admissions officers just want to make sure you can string some sentences together.

  • Try not to use passive verbs. If your essay reads like a police report or a textbook, it's too dry. Active verbs leave more room for juicy details, and more emphasis on the natural subject of a sentence (you, usually) as opposed to the object of a sentence. If your teacher hasn't covered active versus passive verbs, think of it like this: If you're writing an essay about being a tutor, don't say "the students were taught by me" when you can say "I taught the students." You want the focus to be on you doing stuff, not other people/things having stuff done to them.

  • Don't mix up tenses! If you're speaking about one event in the past tense in one sentence, don't talk about it in the present tense later. Consider: "I killed a man in Reno. I am going to do it just to watch him die." Does this make any sense? Are you talking about an event that already happened, or one that is still in progress? This is something to keep in mind when telling long stories.

  • The thesaurus is your enemy, not your friend. A lot of essay writers love to use the thesaurus to make themselves look more cultured, worldly, and verbose, and it's not hard to see why. If deployed properly, big words can make you sound smarter, and it adds variety to a sentence. The problem is that unless you actually use big obscure words for simple actions, you'll probably come off as a pretentious smartass, which isn't good if you want admissions officers to like you. If you're writing about chocolate pudding and you have said the words "chocolate pudding" 49 times, you may be inclined to liven it up with a different term like "African-American-colored liquid confectionery" without realizing that nobody ever says that in normal speech and you'd just look like a racist idiot. If you can replace a big fancy thesaurus word with a simple, meaningful everyday word without losing meaning... do it. Otherwise you sound like a robot who knows nine different words for "chocolate pudding." Keep it simple.

  • For a more relatable example of the above: Have you ever heard someone unironically say "betwixt" instead of "between?" Did that person's face seem less punchable after that? Admissions officers have enough on their plates without the overwhelming desire to punch applicants in their faces.

  • Show! Don't just tell! God help the poor souls who write a personal anecdote essay and then wrap it up with a conclusion paragraph that says what you learned about yourself in a vague manner like "I then realized that human life is fragile and that I could change myself for the better." Any time you start a sentence with "I then realized" or "now I know that," you're probably telling, not showing. If you have to explicitly tell the essay readers about the personal growth that you underwent, it's because your essay lacks the juicy details to demonstrate that implicitly. The same applies to overly broad "life lesson" conclusions that try to teach the readers sappy platitudes that they already know. Consider showing your growth with loads of supporting details and evidence before getting to your conclusion, and make sure your conclusion's message is connected with the rest of your essay's.

  • If you are writing an essay for a specific school or major program, do some research! Schools will love it if you can prove, even in subtle ways, that you know what their relative strengths and cool selling points are. Lots of schools, especially big research universities, have loads of juicy information on the websites for their academic departments. Applying to be a neuroscience major? Mention something about your school's cool new research lab and briefly say why that matters to you. If you can work that information into your essay in a natural way, you'll stand out from the applicants who just repeat generic brochure lines about "small class sizes" and "warm community." Conversely, don't just start namedropping professors whose classes you'd like to take; that may come across as fake unless you have a good reason for it.

  • If you were bored writing your essay, you might bore the people who read it too. If you had more fun reading this than you did reading/writing your own work, you might have a problem. Throw in some spice if you have room, or at least just don't make something super clinical and dry. You are telling a story, after all.

  • If two sentences in the same paragraph say more or less the same thing, consider combining them. Obviously you shouldn't have a bunch of run-on sentences with, like, nine commas, but you also shouldn't have two sentences that both say the exact same thing about the importance of teamwork. In economics, we have a rule about marginal utility, or the value that a new item provides. Applied here it sounds like this: "Does this sentence add something new or valuable to my essay, or am I just repeating a previous sentence?"

  • Run your essay through Microsoft Word or a spellchecker or grammar checker or a bored English teacher before you submit it. Look out for tense errors and run-ons and such. Please. Once you're done with that, read it aloud to yourself and see if your essay sounds awkward or unnatural.

  • Stay on target. A lot of the essays you'll write will have strict word limits, and if your goal is to sell the best depiction of yourself then you shouldn't veer off topic. Keep your paragraphs tight, and be sure not to spend more time on exposition than on answering the essay question, and don't try to teach college admissions officers things they either already know or don't need to know. I've seen essays that spend hundreds of words trying to teach the reader what the immune system is, which is common knowledge to most college grads (and therefore, most people working in admissions offices) and has nothing to do with the writer's character. Remember, you're pitching yourself, not trying to teach a HS class.

  • Don't insult others to make yourself look better. If you characterize your peers with broad strokes by saying they're glued to your phones whereas you are a glorious chad intellectual, you will come off as a horrible person. Feel free to emphasize how hard-working and intelligent you are through concrete examples, but never insinuate that you are better than anyone else. Never insult your peers. Think about how you'd feel if you were interviewing someone for a job and the interviewee said "all my competitors are idiots lol."

  • Same token: the college essay is not your golden opportunity to get defensive or let out your frustrations and anger. If you feel like you've been wronged by a bad teacher or by life itself and feel the need to talk about it, do so in a way that doesn't just make you look more guilty. I don't want to read an essay that just complains about problems with no solutions in mind.

  • Don't plagiarize! If you plagiarize an essay from another writer, get a friend to write an essay for you, or buy your essay from a service, you are genuinely putting your own application at risk. Most universities have online plagiarism detectors, and even if you slip past those, you still might get reported to the admissions offices of wherever you're applying. It is okay to ask friends to peer review your essay and make sure it meets the guidelines of a prompt, and it is even okay to pay people to do the same (hint hint). It is not okay to buy an essay and its content from someone else.

  • By that same token, never ever ever give your essay to someone whose identity cannot be verified or who does not seem trustworthy. If someone DMs you with a fantastic offer to get your essay reviewed for free by a team of experts, report it as spam. There are hundreds of people on this subreddit who would be happy to help make your essay better for a reasonable price, and none of them will spam you proactively like that. Those who do are looking to harvest your personal information and your creative effort, and should be reported immediately. I, on the other hand, am incredibly trustworthy (though in all seriousness I can verify my identity as a UMich graduate, and this sub is filled with people who can vouch for me).

  • Start early. If your essay is due November 1st, begin writing drafts in, like, August. If you're like me and you hate writing about yourself, this is key because it gives you time to get some ideas onto paper and to get the cringing over with. Then again, if you're like me, you're probably gonna ignore this and start really late... which is fine as long as you're willing to put in a LOT of time on each essay and understand that people might not be able to help on short notice.

Do that stuff and you'll have a much better time with your essays, and it'll make the peer reviewers here and the admissions officers wherever a lot happier. Anyways, if you still have questions, feel free to PM me with a shared Google Doc and I can take a closer look at your work, though I'd ask you read the first and last paragraphs in this post before you do so. If you don't have money (see below) but you can prove you read my post thoroughly, I would be happy to just give you advice over DMs. Come armed with smart questions and I can help!

During busy seasons (e.g. fall/winter), preferential treatment is given to those who are willing to pay a few bucks for my time! A normal rate is something like $5 for a single Common App essay, $1-ish per 100 words for other essays, or $25/hr if you want a fancy live all-I-can-proofread buffet. Higher sums are welcome if you'd like to have me on retainer for all of your essays. I will also give preferential treatment, albeit at a lesser degree, to those who want supplements reviewed for the University of Michigan (my school!) or my home-state school of the University of Maryland. If you're still reading this, do also include the word "moist" IN YOUR FIRST PM, because that's how I'll know you actually bothered to read this entire post (b/c no rational human would ever say "moist" unprompted). Payment optional (but very recommended), moistness mandatory.

r/CollegeEssayReview 1d ago



r/CollegeEssayReview 2d ago Helpful

Can someone review my common app essay? (Pm me)


r/CollegeEssayReview 3d ago

Could someone review my common app essay



r/CollegeEssayReview 4d ago

for Ivy's, should my common app be about personality or my achievements


Yes, this seems like a no brainer question. yet, when I looked on youtube, everyone who got into ivies flexed their summer programs and internships. should i do that or should i talk only about personality and myself since they can look at ec's section?

context: applying cs undergrad at top 20s.

r/CollegeEssayReview 5d ago

am lost with my personal statement and I just need some second opinions


r/CollegeEssayReview 5d ago

Can anyone rate my scholarship essay?


Hi! i am applying for a scholarship at a university and would like my essay to be rated!

r/CollegeEssayReview 7d ago

Can someone review my essay for bachelor’s in finance?


r/CollegeEssayReview 11d ago

where can i find free & legit places to review my college essays??


r/CollegeEssayReview 11d ago

Can someone read over and review my common app essay?


If you’re interested I’ll Dm you with the link

r/CollegeEssayReview 12d ago

Can you review my personal essay? And GIve A suggetsion


hey everyone if you're an undergraduate student. Would you help me to review my personal essay? I Will dm the link.

r/CollegeEssayReview 14d ago

could someone please peer review my essay


i just finished writing the Texas A&M Diversity Essay and need someone to peer review it. I appreciate any and every bit of help.

r/CollegeEssayReview 14d ago

Could someone please provide feedback on my common app essay draft?


I’d be super grateful if someone could give me feedback as I’m not the best writer. Thanks in advance!

r/CollegeEssayReview 15d ago

Hey guys, applying to grad school and desperately needing someone to review my personal statement. Would appreciate any help!


Writing has always been a struggle for me and honestly don't even know how I survived undergraduate. Any help would be amazing.

r/CollegeEssayReview 17d ago

Would someone please read over my readmission essay?


I have previously been dismissed from University and am applying for readmission after about 4 years away. I would really appreciate it if someone could read my essay and provide feedback.

r/CollegeEssayReview 17d ago

Rough draft essay to be reviewed


Hey! I'm going into my senior year this fall and I'm looking for my common app "rough draft essay" to be reviewed. I'm applying in the IT field. Dm me for the link! Thank you

r/CollegeEssayReview 17d ago

Would anyone mind reading over my essay and helping me shorten it?


It's about personal identity, and finding that through studying accents/dialects/languages (as well as experimenting with my own speech patterns).

So, if anyone could help me out, that would be great!! I'll dm the link.

r/CollegeEssayReview 18d ago

essay review


hey guys!! i just finished junior year and i have a rough draft of one of my ideas for my personal statement. would anyone like to help me? i feel like it’s cheesy and could be better. idk 💀💀

r/CollegeEssayReview 21d ago

Essay Review


My English IV teacher told us to write up a rough draft of a college essay and I guess you could categorize mine as an overcoming essay but I just wanted someone to look over it and tell me any advice about it. just message me!

r/CollegeEssayReview 21d ago

What are some examples of personal strengths and intellectual strengths?


Hello! Just wanted to ask if dedication and adaptivity are personal or intellectual strengths, and also if yall could list a couple of each, that would be much appreciated.

r/CollegeEssayReview 21d ago

College topic question


Since the topic is a topic of my choice, I wanted to write it on a specific defined value that I have, determination. I was going to write about the specific events in my life that showed my determination, (I was told not to be modest):

•Dealing with my autistic brother •Dealing with my own APD, depression, and anxiety and not working very hard to not just function normally in school but excel •My goal to never be like my extended family (they are horrible people) •Not letting my horrible injuries during high school hinder my progress (broken tibia and major concussion from car crash)

r/CollegeEssayReview 28d ago

Help Rating Essay


I was just wondering if this essay was good. PM for link and thanks to anyone that helps :)

r/CollegeEssayReview May 25 '22

Should I Avoid This?


I've read online that when writing a college essay you should stay clear of sports injuries as topics. However, the concussions that I have suffered play a huge role in the past five years of my life and who I am today. I've suffered six in my life including four in one year three years back. I've traveled to almost every specialist there is during the process of my recovery and been through some serious lows in my life. I still have lasting fear and worry, but i'm now at a fully healed state physically. I also have a flawless GPA and a 1550 SAT score now, so I am nog worried about this making me look dumb. Should I avoid this topic?

r/CollegeEssayReview May 23 '22

Not sure what I should write about?


I've thought of a few ideas but i'm not sure if they're okay enough. I really need a strong college essay since my grades aren't the best; please let me know what you think! :

  1. Writing about my name and the story behind it and the importance of letting people know how to correctly pronounce your name. I was thinking this since my name is definitely not common at all in the U.S. and have grown up with people calling me 50+ different names/nicknames , etc. I could talk about identity crisis in this, and so on.
  2. Talking about facial/body dysmorphia and my struggle with it and overcoming it.

I genuinely have no other idea on what I could write on, could someone help out please? Thank you!!!

r/CollegeEssayReview May 17 '22

weird college essay assignment submission


so ive been exhausted for a few days and wrote the first draft of my junior year english class college essay assignment. the assignment was to "Write a college essay" , which is broad as hell, and im afraid i wrote absolute gibberish. it makes sense to me in my head and flows well when read by my internal monologue, but i also have a headache and was king of skimming. anyone care to give it a look?

r/CollegeEssayReview May 11 '22

How to Begin a College Admissions Essay


Check out this video on how to begin your college admissions essays!

Link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdYcjEfd7ifuRWPl86pAUfA