Two Spaces After a Period (And four other mistakes your making in you're college essay)

It’s essay season, and as a teacher/writer/mentor/older brother I spend a lot of time looking at essays. Here are five things I’m tired of telling (and will continue to tell) my students:

1. Stop using two spaces after a period


Okay, I’ll admit, I used to be a two-spacer. At some point my English teacher told me two spaces were better than one. It wasn’t true. Why? Because one space is just fine.

Farhad Manjoo explains in this article why using two spaces is a crime.

Someone else explains in this article that goes into some seriously extreme detail about spacing, why Farhad Manjoo is a hoofed mammal of the horse family with a braying call.

2. Stop using “your” when you mean “you’re” and vice versa


And bonus points if you noticed when I made the your/you’re mistake above.

3. Stop using textspeak

u textspeak.jpg

Really? In your college essay? Stop it. (Exceptions: when the use is ironic or in quotes.)

4. Stop confusing "loose" and "lose"


Look at this carefully. Loose rhymes with moose. Lose rhymes with booze. Those shoelaces are loose. Did he lose his shoe?

5. You have permission to stop using the words “veritable cornucopia"

That’s all.


Written by Ethan Sawyer – In addition to being the College Essay Guy, Ethan is a writer, teacher, speaker, and voice actor. He has worked at Elite since 2003 is also the coordinator for the Elite Community Scholars Program, a program very close to his heart. You can email him at The views expressed in this blog post are Ethan's and don't necessarily reflect those of Elite Educational Institute.