Read these tips for maximizing your summer and getting a head start on writing your college essays, straight from the admissions experts at College Connections.
More and more college essay prompts are digging deep to learn what they can about a student’s character. Numbers are easy to see and evaluate; however, measuring character is not quite as easy.
Essay prompts are geared toward inspiring students to become self reflective, and to think critically about their personal experiences.
While engaging with our personalized college prep services, students will frequently tell us that they have been told not to write in the first person. High school and many college assignments are geared toward third person writing, so students tend to be conditioned as such. In addition, teens are growing from adolescence both physically and emotionally, and can be self-conscious when writing about themselves.
Using the Summer Months
Summer should be a time of freedom in which students can find the space and quiet to simply start writing. They should not think of this as an assignment that will be graded. The idea should be to get comfortable writing in the first person.
Writing about oneself is not an easy thing to do, so summertime is a great time to get started; there are generally few distractions, and students are more relaxed.
The Common Application
Reflecting on experiences and writing about the personal impact of those experiences is the first step towards a compelling college essay. For this reason, the essay prompts on the Common Application ask students to select from seven prompts, covering topics like personal background, obstacles, challenges, and accomplishments.
The intent of these prompts is for admission officers to gain more insight into the authenticity and sincerity of applicants. All of the essay options will require thoughtful contemplation, reflection, discussion and some free writing.
Students: Tell Your Stories!
The college essay is an opportunity for students to stand out and tell their unique stories. Simple slice of life stories are often the most compelling to read. Through these stories, it’s also important for students to discuss their passions, how they’ve applied what they’ve learned, and what they hope to accomplish in college and career.
Essay Tips From a College Admission Expert:
- Start as early as possible. Composing some journal entries, doing some free writing, or brainstorming topic ideas may help begin the essay writing process.
- Use your own voice, and don’t try too hard to impress admissions by using multi-syllabic words that you would not use in conversation.
- If you choose to write about something from your activity resume, you should go into depth — it’s an essay, not a reiteration of your activities. Be sure present your essay to a third party (maybe a parent, counselor, or friend). Additional input can be valuable.
- Read some sample essays, but do not re-use any topics from previous years. Originality is key!
- Try to enjoy writing, and include your sense of humor.
- Admission officers like to see a social and academic balance. They need to know that students can adapt well and be team players on campus If possible, try to highlight both sides of yourself.
- Make editing the last stop before the final draft. Again, don’t repeat what is already listed elsewhere on your application.
So enjoy the warm weather and sunshine this summer, find a comfortable, undisturbed spot, and let your ideas flow. Remember, there’s no pressure! Revisions, editing and proofreading will all come later.
Want to learn more about Jeannie Borin of College Connections? Visit the contact page on their website.