GIFF: Spongebob Prepare to Be written

The Patience of a Writer

Teenagers must write their autobiography as a requirement for college applications, which is a complicated task. Writing one’s life story requires reflecting on intricate, existential questions, like “Who am I?” and “What’s my purpose in life?” And, most teens quickly recognize they have little self-awareness, just the first in a series of writer’s blocks.  However, as Tim O’Brien in The…

Continue Reading

Comic: I'm more confused than a chameleon in a bag of skittles

Reason #450,897,354 Why Writing College Essays Is Complicated

Every year, especially in mid-October, college and transfer applicants share some version of the following:  “I can’t get all my thoughts to focus on one idea.”  “I’ve written several different paragraphs, but they don’t connect with each other.”  “I have too much to say, how can I incorporate every idea into one essay?!?” Students often attempt to write their autobiography,…

Continue Reading

College essay writing often requires an (re)education in the art of Autobiographical writing

Every year, I remediate high school seniors’ and transfer applicants’ writing process. After elementary school, few teachers explicitly teach the writing process. Instead, teachers assign scripted “Essays”, hemming students into following a rubric (or risk a lower grade), based on a narrow prompt, replete with requirements of specific numbers of quotes or citations, and strict word limits.  Students make few…

Continue Reading

Surprise! Hidden essays on the Common Application

Sometimes, on The Common Application, additional essay prompts will appear, depending on students’ answers to the campus specific questions. However, students are not forewarned about potential essay prompts. And, for many students, who complete the application, in the last days (or hours) before the application deadline, students can panic, when such “hidden” questions are revealed.  Two examples of “hidden” questions: …

Continue Reading

So, you say you’re done, ay?

In the academic meritocratic realm of teenage braggadocio, everyone’s been done with their college essays, except you. At least, that’s what nearly every college applicant believes about their friends, peers, frenemies, academic archrivals—only adding stress to an already complicated self-reflective, autobiographical writing process.  Yet, The Common Application’s own statistics about the daily record applicant submissions on November 1, the day…

Continue Reading

GIFF: Spongebob Prepare to Be written

College Admissions Essay: A Clinic In Writer’s Block

It’s college essay writing season, which also means that each student is likely running into writer’s blocks. College admission essays fit into the genre of autobiographical, a writing style for which most students are inexperienced. Although, at times, paralyzing writer’s blocks can be resolved by applying the appropriate antidotes.  Thus, as many college applicant lack an experienced editor, I will…

Continue Reading

Comic: Phineas & Ferb

College Admissions Essay Writing, A Difficult but Rewarding Journey of Self Discovery

“You should definitely start writing your essays early” is common advice college students give to their high school senior friends. Yet, typically, the peer advisor shares little insight to why they started their essays “later” or how writer’s blocks stymied their own efforts in the beginning writing stages.  Thus, the college applicant simply stresses about being “behind” in completing applications,…

Continue Reading

Applying to College is Often A Long and Winding Road

Writing college essays is an intricate dance, often not a project that’s completed according to scheduled benchmarks and not without conflicts along the way. Often, applicants work in fits and starts, and typically, not in accordance with a parent’s expectations.  Seventeen years of expectations, emotions and experiences can obstruct the effort to draft autobiographical essays. Furthermore, teens are reflecting on…

Continue Reading

Sponge Bob comic

Supplemental Essays Matter: view from someone who matters, an admission officer

“A” students, who also happen to be college applicants, notoriously follow directions to the T. So, the lack of a rubric, standard, or other detailed set of directions for writing the college essays, beyond the confirmation bias of an acceptance letter is disconcerting to say the least.  Seeking to reduce confusion, the following is an analysis of Sam Prince’s, Bard…

Continue Reading

Quote: Steve Jobs

The Responsibility of Freedom

Most teens eventually seek more independence from the watchful eyes of their parents, and many of them believe the freedom they so desire will be found attending college. Yet, just like Thomas Jefferson and the American Revolutionaries (or anyone seeking change), as so aptly advised:  Prudence, indeed will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and…

Continue Reading

Common Application Image

Can I Change My 650 Word Common Application Essay After Submitting It?

Updated: November 2020 from the original posted in July 2018 The short answer is yes…with an *.  [See Below] But, like any life-impacting decision, the short answer doesn’t account for the complexities of choosing a college.  And, the last three words are what’s most important to keep in mind:  YOU, the applicant, are the one who’s doing the choosing of…

Continue Reading

Writer’s Block Defined

In the beginning of the writing process, many students writing college essays feel kinda like Spongebob, which can be the first in a series of writer’s blocks. Then, inspiration hits and writing happens, which creates hope…again, Spongebob: But then, seniors efforts may not seem to be enough, which is Writer’s Block #678,945,900. So the stress can build: But, the muddling…

Continue Reading

Our Fervent Wish

…is that every high school senior and transfer college applicant and their parents temporarily develop multiple hands, whose swift fingers dance with the wind across the keyboard to craft brilliant essays well before the deadline. Deadline approaching. pic.twitter.com/CszGLJyrA1 — Academia ɐɹnɔsqO (@AcademiaObscura) September 4, 2018  

Changes to Common Application Essay Prompts for 2017-18

The Common Application members have changed the prompts for current juniors in the Class of 2018, who will become college applicants in Fall 2017.  The word count remains unchanged at a maximum of 650 words.  Applicants will still be required to only choose one of the seven prompts listed below. The Common Application administrators have identified the prompts which changed,…

Continue Reading

Grammar Shmammer

The rules of grammar can be annoying, especially when an English paper is “bleeding” with red ink marks, noting every single punctuation and grammar error. However, the purpose for grammar, which is to articulate the author’s ideas clearly to the reader, can get lost in trying to follow the rules of grammar. To help all the college essay writers with “meaning what…

Continue Reading