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What Are Some College Essay Cliches?

Most high school students understand that the college essay they include with their application is a way for them to show off their unique personality and voice to the admissions board. Unfortunately, however, too many students fail to represent themselves effectively in their college essays because of one simple (yet rather large) mistake: using clichés in their writing. 

The Problem With Cliches

Cliches often show up in college essays as phrases, words, or ideas and can hurt a student's chance of getting into the college of his or her choice. But why? To put it simply, cliches are boring and common.  

University admissions offices see a lot of college essays each year. They use those essays to help determine which students can effectively communicate a unique, thought-provoking point of view. Unfortunately, far too many students miss this opportunity by writing about a personal experience that sounds just like the personal experiences of every other applicant. What's personal about that?

Common Cliches to Avoid

It would take far too long to include every cliche that could be a possible essay killer. However, the following is a list of cliches that admissions officers report seeing time and time again.

Essay Topics

  • Volunteer work
  • Sports
  • "My Role model"
  • International travel

Phrases and Expressions

  • One day at a time
  • Dream come true
  • To make a long story short
  • Outside my comfort zone
  • Live and learn
  • Shed some light on
  • One in a million


So how can students ensure they are as unique on paper as they are in reality? With practice and guidance, good writers can become great writers who are able to eloquently express their point of view. C2 Education specializes in helping students do exactly that.

As a nationwide network of personal tutoring and educational support centers, C2 Education provides personalized academic attention to students of all ages—from elementary school through high school. Sign up for a free consultation today and avoid the pitfalls of college essay cliches.

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