Where to Begin?

There you are with your student, going through college applications. You see many of them include an essay portion. Now what? Where do they begin? To help ease any feeling of overwhelm, here are five tips for your Senior to craft an essay that can help set them apart.

Keep Calm and Write about Something Important to You

You might be surprised how easy it goes once you start writing about something you're passionate about. Tell your unique story, in your unique voice. Is a college entrance essay formal? Sure, but that doesn't mean you should sound robotic. On the contrary — that will work against you. Admissions reads a lot of these. A lot. A genuine essay sparkles.

Just Do It!

The intimidation of the blank page. Don't let it get to you. Like most things, the hardest part is getting started. Just start writing. Even if you're writing random thoughts, or notes, just filling up the page with something, anything, will get you going. It doesn't have to be good from the get-go, and it likely won't be.

Writing is My Life. Revisions are My Life

You might not like it, but the reality is, the first draft you knock out isn't going to cut it. There's no such thing as a good first draft. This is just part of the writing process. When the essay is "done," put it away for a day or two. Revisit it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind. Make a print out. It's amazing what the eye can catch on paper, that it misses on-screen. Read it out loud. Edit again and again. Cut out any filler. Make absolutely sure there are no typos, misspellings, or punctuation mistakes. Then, have at least one other person give it a read. Teacher and school counselors are perfect resources for collecting feedback.

Careful with the Humor.

Everyone likes to laugh. But, humor is subjective. What you think is funny might not be the case for the reader. Tread lightly on humor, if at all. And avoid anything off-color at all costs. That might go without saying, but we can't go without saying it.

Avoid Redundancies Redundancies

Here's a short and sweet one: avoid repeating information throughout your essay, such as highlighting the same achievement multiple times. It's important that the reader learns the most about you in a short amount of time.