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When it comes to college application essays, there's a fine between worrying too much and not worrying enough, between starting too early and waiting until it's too late to comfortably do a first-rate college application essay or five or ten of them.
Some college counselors do a hard sell and try to drum up business by drumming up frenzy and anxiety early on. That's not my style. In the last few months, I've been blogging about general issues related to college admissions and applications, without getting into the nitty gritty of the essays themselves. Not worrying about the essay can be just as important as knowing when to start worrying about it. And in place of "worrying," let's substitute "planning."
For one thing, the only essay we're sure about now is the Common Application essay, which will be the same set of prompts used last year, so even if you wanted to start doing your essays now, the only one you could do is the Common App. All the supplementary essays, and those for schools that don't use the Common App and its essay (a good number of state schools, art schools, and conservatories) are not yet posted and won't be posted until summer. And most applications can't be submitted until late summer or early fall.
But Memorial Day Weekend is a turning point in the calendar, and though it's not the official start of summer, it marks a transition in the direction of summer - and it's a good time to start thinking about formulating lists of prospective colleges and the essays that they might require. For many families, it's a time to plan to put aside time to do the Common App essay and the supplements, when we know for certain what they'll be. Students can get a good idea of the kinds of essays that will show up by looking at last year's requirements. FYI: They are far more demanding and varied than "Why do you want to go to this college?"
If you're planning ahead for yourself or your son or daughter, please keep me in mind. I work with students around the world via Skype, and in person in New York City, Boston, and, for three weeks this July, on Martha's Vineyard, where I will be giving two two-week long workshops on doing the Common App essay, and seeing students privately, in person and via Skype. You DO NOT need to be on the Vineyard to work with me during these weeks.
To read more about my approach, the Vineyard workshops, the colleges my clients have gotten into, and to read testimonials, please visit my website: Don't Sweat The Essay or email me at Liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com.
If you like this post, please share on Twitter, Google, or Facebook. Thank you! To visit my website, click here: To email me: liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com To call me 1-855-99-ESSAY
The New York Times article I posted earlier might only be available to those who pay a special premium. If you want to read the four college application essays the Times selected in the previous post, here's the place to start. Apologies if you could not get to the Times piece through the link in my previous post. "Talking about money is hard. Writing well about yourself may be harder still. So trying to do both at once, as a teenager, while addressing complete strangers who control your future, would seem to be foolhardy. "But each year, plenty of high school seniors who are applying to college give it a go. Many skip the story of the sports team triumph or the grandparent’s death and write essays about weighty social issues like work, class and wealth, or lack thereof. Perhaps that’s what affects them most. Or maybe those are the subjects that they think will attract an admissions officer’s eye. "In any case, for the second year, we put out a nationwide call for the best college application essays about these topics. With the help ofJennifer Delahunty, the dean of admissions and financial aid at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and an accomplishedessayistandeditorherself, we picked four to share here. READ MORE If you enjoyed this post, please repost it via Twitter, FB, Google+ or any other medium. If you have questions, please write to me: Liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com. Thanks. To visit my website, click here: To email me: liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com To call me 1-855-99-ESSAY
I think it's a bit early to start writing one's college application essays - though many graduate students have much earlier deadlines - but not too early to think about life experiences that have meant something to us, and that might turn out to be persuasive essays. There are many lists we're all familiar with about subjects to avoid in college application essays. Here's a brief story in The New York Times by Ron Lieber about subjects to consider, and that students are not often encouraged to think about: money, social class, and work. Here's the opening of the piece. I encourage you to take a look. Be sure to click on the link to the four essays! "Last year I got a tip from a friend who is a college-admissions officer about the rising number of application essays her school was receiving about money, social class and work. As someone who is engaged in a yearslong effort to get people talking about money more often, I wanted to encourage this trend. I also desperately wanted to read them myself, so I asked readers to send them in. We published four last year and have just put up four more." READ MORE If you like this post, please Tweet it or Retweet it, or post on Facebook or Google+. Thanks! To visit my website, click here: To email me: liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com To call me 1-855-99-ESSAY