Is your finger poised over the SUBMIT button? Wait. Don’t hit it. Not yet. Make sure you have protected your application essays and personal statements against the three sinister Deadly Habits that Ding in the night.
Deadly Habit #1: Misusing spell check.
Deadly Habit #2: Forgetting to change the name of the school when adapting an application essay from an earlier essay sent to another school.
Deadly Habit #3: Reading your essay silently on the computer screen to proof it.
And now for the three Heavenly Virtues that Attract Acceptance:
Heavenly Virtue #1: Use spell check, but don’t rely on it blindly. It can suggest errors and also miss actual errors. For example, just yesterday I read an essay in which the applicant attempted to “illicit feedback” as opposed to “elicit feedback.” Spell check would not catch that error.
Heavenly Virtue #2: If you adapt an essay from an earlier essay for another school, do a search for the name of the wrong school using the find function (Control-F in PCs) in addition to proofing the essay. Don’t rely exclusively on yourself or on the computer to find that errant name.
Heavenly Virtue #3: For a final proof of your essays, print them out, change locations, and slowly read each essay aloud.
Have you practiced the three virtues? Yes? Now you can press that button.
Oh, and if you have other tips for proofing your prose, please provide below.