Writing Tip #3: Mistakes to avoid

You have thought long and hard about how to answer these five prompts in the VinUni application, but before you start writing, be sure to avoid these common mistakes that admissions committees often see:

  1. Be too formal or distant. The admissions committee is trying to understand who you are as a person. They have never met you. You goal is to help them understand you and what makes you, you! – Make your personality come through in your writing.
  2. Don’t brag too much about your achievements. Don’t write about being superior to your classmates. Show your accomplishments with humility (not making yourself sound too amazing), especially when writing about overcoming hardships.
  3. Write clichés. Clichés are ideas which are boring and have been used by lots and lots of other people before you. Avoid the following clichés:
    1. Starting with a famous quotation.
    2. Talking about famous businesspeople, national heroes
    3. Praising the institution too much.
    4. Using big words or too many quotes.
  4. Start late and write alone. Don’t wait until the last minute. It takes a long time to think of ideas, to plan, write, and edit. Invest enough time to do it right. Most importantly, ask other people to read your drafts and ask them to give you their honest feedback and suggestions. Friends, teachers, tutors, aunts, uncles, cousins. The more, the better! Listen to them and consider their suggestions to help you improve.

Sample question: “Tell us about one of your heroes (this could be a fictional character or a real person) and why he or she inspires you.”

Mistakes to avoid: 

  • Writing about someone who you like (i.e. a comic book or movie character) rather than one that truly inspires you and one that is your hero.
  • Choosing someone that a lot of other people will write about, like Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates or some other big personality
  • Spendingmost of the writing to describe the person rather than why this person is a hero in your eyes; specifically what they did that is heroic for you.