My apologies to George Gershwin for adapting the title of one of his famous songs for my article today. The reason that summertime is a good time to write … yes, college application essays … is because the pace of livin’ (to borrow the original Gershwin song title word) is slower for most rising high school seniors. Thus, in order to get a significant jump on those Common Application essay(s) (there will be more than one if your college requires a Common App supplement), you should plan ahead and use the summer to your writing advantage.
In case you’re not familiar with those Common App prompts, here they are:
- Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
- Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
- Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
As Veritas Prep interestingly points out: “The people behind The Common Application have just released the new essay prompts (PDF link) for college applicants who apply in the 2013-2014 admissions season. As noted in The Common Application Board of Directors’ announcement, these new prompts are the result of two years of discussion about where essays fit in the overall college admissions process. This is the first big change to the essays in years (including to the word counts!), and it’s clear that the Common Application Board didn’t take the task of reworking these essays lightly.”
One has to wonder why it took two years to make these changes. At least it won’t take you two years to write your Common App essay!
Summertime is also the time for reruns on TV. So, in that spirit, I’d like to do a rerun here of a very popular article (actually, a series of articles) that I wrote for College Confidential. It’s all about writing essays and uses real-life samples to inspire your writing skills. So, get out your notebooks and get ready to capture some thoughts that will propel you to Common App essay success! Read the rest of this entry »