The First Writer’s Block in College Essay Writing: Getting Started

High school seniors and transfer students are often advised, “Start drafting your college essays early”, especially by students in the class ahead who recently completed their college applications. Yet, few will confess why they themselves did not start writing their essays early, nor the complexities of crafting one’s autobiography, which can include:

Lack of experience

Many college applicants lack experience to understand the effort needed to write autobiographical college essays. Students often need a thorough and on-going self-reflection, as well as a continued drafting and editorial feedback process to convey one’s experience concisely within the constraints of the college essay. 

Uncertainty and self-doubt

Many students are uncertain about whether their topic is “what the admissions officers want to hear” or will encapsulate the meaning of their lives. Teens may also be worried about not meeting the expectations of their families, themselves, or others. Thus, some simply cope with the stress by delaying drafting the essay. 


Finally, some students may believe that they need to create the perfect essay in order to be accepted to a particular college. Teens may be paralyzed by anxiety, thus postpone writing any ideas at all.

To break through writer’s blocks, students can be honest with themselves about their concerns and fears. Then, with the support of an experienced guide, students can analyze each thought and counter fears with facts. Plus, mentors may have suggestions for how to begin brainstorming ideas. 

Lastly, the perfect college essay does not exist. Time and again, college admissions officers advise students to tell the story of their lives with their own words and from their own perspective. So, do you.

Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who appreciate helping students craft insightful essays, first in the academic classroom, now as part of the complex college admissions process. For more information, please contact us

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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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