Guest Post: Be One With The Brainstorm

About the Author: Antonio, aged 19, currently works at Hubbubbaloo Creative, as well as is a college student.  After writing his own college essays, he has the following advice to share: 



It’s important to give some time and thought to brainstorming for a college essay, don’t be afraid to get started take a look at the first blog post to get started.

If you are still stumped result to the alternative in brainstorming, “start with the present moment: I’m sitting at the kitchen table on a rainy Saturday morning. Everyone is gone and the house is quiet. Let your simple description of the present moment lead to something else, let the letter drift gently along.” The progress in this is the essence/detail behind your generation of ideas that separates you from the others. For example no one will have the same sentence structure as you, no one will describe the moment you are experiencing as descriptive as you, and importantly no one will “drift gently along” the same as you do with your idea generation.

Try to “tell us what you’re doing and tell it like you were talking to us”, when thinking up ideas for your brainstorm. It is like writing out your conversation or telling your story to the audience.“Don’t think about grammar, don’t think about literary style, don’t try to write dramatically, just give us your news. Where did you go, who did you see, ‘what did they say, what do you think?” Remember this is a technique that allows for the production of a brainstorm paper that will help define who you are and be a reference for ideas when typing out your college essay.

My advice in generating ideas for an essay prompt or for defining yourself is to not try “too hard to be terrific.” Time and again students always think an extreme or defining moment in their life is what they need to write about to a college, (not to totally diminish an extreme or defining moment that would make a perfect essay) but really it’s the moments/habits that are subtly thought about on a daily basis that can get the job done. Thinking about ordinary everyday activities can tease out specific qualities about yourself and possibly become the building blocks to your next college essay. “The toughest letter to crank out is one that is meant to impress”

“Don’t worry about form. It’s not a term paper. When you come to the end of one episode, just start a new paragraph. You can go from a few lines about the sad state of pro football to the fight with your mother to your fond memories of Mexico to your cat’s urinary-tract infection to a few thoughts on personal indebtedness and onto the kitchen sink and what’s in it.” What comes to mind is perfect for a brainstorm because you are passed the doubt of starting a college essay and you have ideas that are original from you. “Outrage, confusion, love– whatever is in your mind, let it find a way to the page.”

In the next blog post, I will be sharing some last minute tips to help you wrap up your brainstorm and prepare for the college writing process.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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