After a fun-filled month of rooting for the Red Sox at Fenway, reading novels on sandy beaches, enduring frigid AC conditions while watching summer blockbusters, and savoring finger-licking barbecue, it’s the end of July. While we still have a whole other month of summer, today marks the end of our July Advisory Day Program. For those not on Twitter, July Advisory Days occured every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On these days we offered a short session on how to plan for the college interview and how to write the Common App college essay.
Although we received an incredible number of visitors this month, I recognize that some interested students are not able to visit campus during the summer, so I wanted to mention some of the takeaways of the essay part of the program. Below is some essay-writing advice that I hope you find helpful:
1. Although the Regular Decision deadline to apply is January 15th and it may seem as though you have loads of time to write, start now! Tomorrow (August 1st) is the day the Common App goes live–did you mark your calendars?–so please do create an account and check out the questions. August is a great month to explore topics, perhaps get a few words down on paper, and get your creative gears in motion!
2. Know that the first essay you write may not be the essay you submit. It might be. But it probably won’t…and that’s okay! You will likely have a number of great topics from which to choose, and you should absolutely consider writing a few different essays. In this way, you will have options before deciding on the one that you think best demonstrates your writing abilities and tells us more about who you are. Furthermore, please be sure to ask people you trust (including friends, family, and teachers/advisers) to look over your writing and offer constructive criticism. They should be people who will be able to give you the honest feedback you need, as well as help you catch any errors in grammar or syntax.
3. Be sure you are sharing your story. I can’t tell you how many wonderfully-written essays I have read that talk about applicants’ loving family members, supportive friends, or amazing mentors…but then the essays don’t have enough about the writer him/herself. Remember that you are the one applying, and thus you are the person we want to get to know! As difficult as it can be at times to turn your focus inward, please write about who you are. The essay is the one part of your application that is completely within your control, so please make it count.
Enjoy the last weeks of summer!
(photos by Thomas Rettig)