Write Your College Essays In Summer [VLOG]

The Common App is live now and, Seniors, you can write most of your essays!  Start an application for each of your colleges and before you fill in the data, just get the prompts and paste them into your Essays organizer.  Start all of your rough drafts before school starts, and use our Essay organizer to work smarter, not harder.  You can recycle some of your essays (carefully), and you can get editing help from teachers and counselors. This is a lot of work, so protect your Senior year and do this stuff now. Senior year is SO much fun; let’s get these rough drafts off of your plate!  Check out the vlog for more tips, or read the transcript below. Happy writing!

Write Your Essays In Summer
Hello kids, welcome to another edition of the CollegeMapper vlog. Today’s topic is about writing your essays now in the summer. It’s August and the Common App is live so you can get most, well maybe not most, but a lot of your essay prompts from the Common App; it’s only August 2nd today. I do have some tips for those of you who are writing your essays in the summer. And you are the smart ones, by the way. I recommend that everyone write their essays in the summer because Senior year fall is so much fun. There are tons of fun activities at school and writing all these essays for your college applications can be the equivalent of an AP class, so the bigger the head start you have–even having them all finished before school starts–is absolutely fabulous. So let’s get started with some tricks and tips!
Number one: organize a master list of your writing prompts, that way you can see if there is overlap. Don’t write the same essay twice; there is no reason for you to do that. You can send the same essay to two or three different colleges if they’re asking the same question. If you put their name in it, you need to be very careful to change the names, which I think comes up again later. So organize your list, and look for any place you can work smarter, not harder.
And then be very aware of old prompts on the Internet. You can’t just go on the college’s website, see the prompts, and write to them because they might be from last year. Some of the colleges haven’t updated their new applications. So be very, very careful. If you do not see the numbers “2013,” then I would not write that prompt, I would call the college. Every year I have some kiddos who spend two and three hours working really hard on an essay only to log in two weeks later and find that the new application has launched and the essay that they wrote actually applies not at all, it was a complete waste of time. So don’t let that happen to you, call the colleges, make sure the prompts are fresh, look for 2013.
Recycle your essays, like we talked about a minute ago, but carefully if you’re putting the names of colleges in the essays. Be very careful to change those, they get the wrong-named essays all the time. I think they alternate between laughing about it and being insulted so just be very careful when you’re recycling.
Edit your essays and even have other people help you with that editing process, or look at the essays and give you feedback, but don’t edit them so much that they lose your voice. And you certainly don’t want your essays to sound like a fifty-year-old man; you want them to sound like an eighteen-year-old teenager.  Be very careful whom you ask for advice. I think English teachers and guidance counselors are always safe because we’ve been working with teenagers for ten, twenty, thirty years, and we know what the teenage voice is supposed to sound like. Parents and aunts and uncles and well-meaning relatives might be good choices but can often make you sound too mature. And anybody who has been reading teenage writing for twenty years can spot adult writing at fifty paces. So be very, very careful about having a different voice than your own, or just editing the flavor and the voice right out of a piece when you get too many editors. So I recommend just one or two editors, but don’t go much past that or you can start to edit the voice right out of the piece.
So those are my best tips for you and the number one piece of advice I have is you should write those essays in the summertime. Get them done before school starts; trust me, kid, I’ve been doing this for years. You’ll save yourself a world of hurt in the fall.
All right…take care, good luck! Bye!


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