The following checklist is divided into the basic categories that we used to organize this course: content, structure, and style.
Are you answering the actual question given in the prompt?
Have you been sincere and personal?
Is your essay within the word limit?
Will your reader find the essay interesting?
Are you showing rather than telling?
Does your introduction grab the reader’s attention?
Do you explore your experiences in sufficient depth?
Does your essay contain a high level of detail and concrete evidence?
Have you avoided unsubstantiated claims?
Do you offer specific, personal insights rather than trite generalizations and clichés?
Does your essay reveal anything meaningful about your character?
Do you avoid summarizing information that can be found elsewhere on your application?
Will your essay make you stand out?
Does your conclusion leave a lasting impression?
Can you identify an overarching theme? Have you articulated that theme in the essay?
Does your theme have multiple layers and genuine depth?
Do you have a reason for placing every paragraph where it is?
Do your paragraphs flow smoothly? Are there any gaps or jumps?
Does each point build upon previous points, or does your essay sound like a list?
Have you written insightful transitions and resolutions that highlight your key themes?
Are your stories well integrated into your essay?
Is the essay clear and coherent? Have you strengthened its impact by using the optimal structure?
Have you achieved a simple, straightforward style?
Have you varied your sentence constructions?
Have you avoided unnecessarily fancy vocabulary?
Have you avoided passive voice?
Have you achieved active writing through the use of strong verbs?
Have you avoided overusing adjectives and adverbs?
Is your tone conversational, rather than too casual or too formal?
Have you conveyed confidence, enthusiasm, and passion?