The season for college applications are here. This is the time of year all senior high school students are stressing over getting into their dream college. If this is you, you’re in the right spot. College essays can make or break your application. Almost every college that requires an essay will weigh your essay more than your GPA or SAT score when deciding who will be accepted into their school.
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This is probably the hardest part. You read the prompt and think “Now what?”. Colleges LOVE when you have a more emotional attachment to what you are writing about. Hardships in your life are always a go to. Grew up with a single parent? Write about that. Went through a life altering injury? Write about that. Someone you loved passed away? Write about that. The more emotionally attached you are to the memory, the better your essay subject will be.
Be careful not to write about all the bad parts of the memory though. Colleges HATE negative students. Be sure to mention how the experience has changed you for the better.
Know the Prompt
This should be obvious but some people completely disregard the prompt. Yes, you want to incorporate some of the serious parts in your life, but sometimes they just don’t fit with the prompt. Don’t force a connection if it’s not there. Just soak in the prompt and reflect on what parts in your life can apply to the prompt at hand.
Don’t know how to start? JUST WRITE. Your ideas and flow will come along as you continue writing. The essay will stay unwritten if you don’t take the effort to do the first step.
Taking the time and effort to sit down and start writing is always the hardest part. Set time aside and JUST START. Let’s take into consideration some physics (ew I know gross); things in motion tend to stay in motion, while things at rest will stay at rest. What’s this mean? Start the motion of creating your essay. The essay will practically write itself once you take that first action.
Give yourself lots and lots of time to write your essay. You will constantly rewrite and revise your essay before you are okay with the outcome. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.
I highly recommend that you write yourself a schedule of when you should finish each essay. Generally, I believe finishing a week before the deadline is ideal. This is just used as a safety net to make sure that you don’t turn in your application late. There may be technical difficulties while submitting or you may need more time to edit an essay than you originally thought. Anything can happen.
I feel as if this should be a given but some people are just too shy. ASK PEOPLE TO REVIEW YOUR ESSAYS. People are extremely helpful if you just find the courage to talk to them.
Ask family and friends to review your essay. They know you the best and may know a better idea on the story you’re sharing. Teachers and councilors will be there to help with your essays too. An English teacher does an amazing job on editing essays. They will help correct any of your grammar and wording mistakes. In addition, they’re brilliant when it comes with writing quality essays. You may not be close to your councilor, but I recommend going to your councilor for help on your essay. They’re getting PAID to help YOU. Take advantage of it. They know what colleges are looking for so use their help.
Another huge part of this is to keep an open mind. Don’t let it be criticism but advice. Everyone you ask is trying to help you, so let them. Take their advice and use it.
So please please please try and take these into consideration while writing your essay. Writing a list of essay ideas is always a good start. Just start writing with the first item on your list and see how it plays through. Be sure to set a schedule for yourself. Force yourself to make time for creating your ideal essay. Lastly, ask for advice on how to edit your essay.