10 Typical Essay Writing Mistakes International Students Make

Every student faces obstacles on his way to success. Regardless if you study at Harvard or in a small town in your native country, as a student you will encounter difficulties. As you expected to hear, having challenges is irreplaceable in growing and becoming a better, smarter version of yourself. If you evade challenges, you’re not rising to the top. C’est la vie.

Challenges may be quite different, and it is not always that you see it at once. Some challenges come as blessings in disguise, – for recognizing great opportunities in them, you need to make lots of effort – combining work and study, commuting, social adaptation. But the most widespread one is, probably, academic papers. There are times when you simply lack the time to think of something deeply or times when you don’t fully understand the subject or something sapped your motivation and left you empty. Consciously or not, you begin asking questions like ‘What if I pay someone who can write essays for me?’ or ‘Should I fight for this knowledge (or skill)? Will it be worth the work?’

Especially for those who don’t settle for average achievements, but are thirsty for more on their lives, we wrote this article. Hope it will guide you through the ‘jungle’ of studies and make you safe there! 

Which Popular Mistakes to Avoid On the Way to a Good Academic Essay

As an international student, you might find it challenging to grasp some words, idioms, or sayings in the content, as well as principles of essay construction. Let us look at those most common mistakes and work out some way to eliminate them.

  1. Neglecting to look up idioms and confusing words in the dictionary. We doubt it that many people would like to make a negative impression on the readers by the fact of using an unknown word in the wrong context. Every time when you’re about to use a new word, term, or collocation, do yourself a favour and check several reliable dictionaries, especially if those expressions are unfamiliar for your own culture. Online learner’s dictionaries like Cambridge, Oxford, Merriam Webster will also perfectly do. 
  2. Not including in your essay the relevant and proven facts and evidence. If you write five paragraphs of ‘water’ in your essay that are somehow connected with the topic, it’s difficult to be named a successful piece of writing. Essays have certain goals – to discuss events, offer new solutions, reveal pros and cons, seek similarities and differences. Hence, if you won’t support ideas with the suitable data, statistics, quotations, links to research and studies you’ve used, the essay will turn out irrelevant.
  3. Using awful page layout / ignoring formatting. Let us think of what emotions a random reader has while reading your essay. What would it be – confusion, feeling lost in the text, or the pleasure to look through the neat and tidy paragraphs? You should also be mindful of the pet hates of your mentor if there are such. 
  4. Plagiarism. If there is a bigger crime in the academic world, then tell us what it is! You don’t get to look smarter by stealing someone else’s intellectual property (which could be an essay). This mistake concerns, by the way, all kinds of students.
  5. Using incomplete sentences. Well, this might be okay for a love letter, poem, or a ‘stream of consciousness’ type of writing. However, academic demands are demands, and you should adjust to them. When you want to convey the meaning (which, by the way, a sentence is made for) and persuade the audience, better avoid using incomplete or ambivalent structures. 
  6. Slang. Just the case with the incompleteness of sentences, slang is simply out of place. Essays are a great chance to show your richness of grammar, exceptional knowledge of the topical vocabulary, and general intelligence. So go and use this chance! 
  7. Paying little attention to referencing. Today we see so many cases when in an article or a book an author refers to some other people’s ideas, only mentioning that in tiny font somewhere at the end of the page. In fact, poor referencing might even be equaled to idea theft. And on the contrary, – by compiling the right bibliography pages, leaving relevant footnotes, giving links, you will gain the reputation of a noble essay writer. 
  8. The frequent usage of the first person narrative. If you don’t remember anything from this article, we beg you to grab at least this takeaway – pronouns are your enemies when it comes to essays. 
  9. Vague ideas. There is no need to say that an essay about ‘Peace in the whole world’ without strong viewpoints and arguments will be a flop. Keep everything precise. 
  10. Addressing yourself too much. Putting forward your opinion is good, but do not overindulge. No ‘I’ sentences should be present in your writing; hypothetically, you can achieve the same result by building sentences with ‘we’ referring to you and your mentor as a team. 

Do you recognize yourself in some of these essay writing mistakes? Then receive our congratulations, – you’ve got some place to grow!


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