Summer is Around the Corner

Ah, the lazy days of summer are just around the corner, and the evidence is everywhere: the trees are green, the weather is getting warm and sunny, the bees are abuzz, and this crazy school year, at last, is coming to an end. But if you’re a rising senior intending to apply to colleges this fall, don’t curl your toes in the sand just yet. Before throwing on your swimsuit and flip-flops and slathering yourself in SPF 30 (you’re welcome, parents), you need to start thinking about your college essay. Yes, that’s right! It’s not too soon to seriously consider a topic for an impressive essay or personal statement.

How Important is the College Essay

You probably already know that college admissions decisions rely on far more than just a single essay. There’s much to consider. But at this point in your high school career, the essay is perhaps the piece of your application package that is most within your control. So make use of the time you have now to reap that benefit.

Now is a great time to peruse the essay prompts for the 2021-22 Common App. If, upon your initial review, one of the questions sparks your imagination, go ahead and jot down your ideas. Even better, write a short narrative. Don’t worry about details, structure or grammar yet. Just get the story down so you don’t have to rely on your memory later. Over the course of the summer, you can build and refine your narrative.

Feeling Stuck With Your College Essay?

But if reviewing the prompts doesn’t get your creative juices flowing or leaves you with more questions than answers, please know that you’re not alone. Many high school students feel stuck when faced with the prospect of developing a personal narrative capable of captivating college admissions reps who read thousands of essays. After all, you’re only in high school! It can feel as though nothing exciting or interesting has happened to you yet (which is just not true).

Everyone Has an Interesting Story to Tell

The fact is, we know that everyone has an interesting story to tell. Often times, it’s the seemingly mundane that make the most engaging narratives. In my experience, some of the most outstanding essays center on everyday life, like making the best grilled cheese sandwiches, helping an uncle build a car, or driving your rambunctious siblings to school every morning. Positioned correctly, these types of topics can tell readers who you are, why you’re interesting, and why a college will want you on their campus. The key is to tell a narrative that reveals the real you in your authentic voice, and not just a chronological account of the winning field goal you kicked or the “A” you pulled up from a “C,” and certainly not a list of accomplishments that are already reflected in the other parts of your application. Rather, you want to tell a story, reflect on that experience, and describe what you learned about yourself.

Reveal Your Values in Your College Essay

This is the place in your application to reveal your emotions, your values, your human interests, your inner strengths and, yes, even your flaws.  Remember, colleges admissions reps are human, too. They want to relate to their applicants. They know no one is perfect. And if you try to present a perfect version of yourself in your essay, they’ll sense that the essay isn’t genuine. So, don’t be afraid to look at your day-to-day routines as a source of inspiration.  You’ll be surprised at how truly interesting you are.

So are you ready to get started? Contact us. Moxie College Counseling is happy to help.