So you’re thinking about applying to college. You’ve spent the past 12 years of your life preparing for college and it all comes down to applying for college. 12 years comes down to a single college application. You’ve narrowed down your list to a few select colleges & universities and you think you have a good chance of being granted admission. All that’s left is applying for college. It’s sounds pretty simple but for some prospective college students it’s not simple at all.
Filling out the personal information and supplying your academic credentials is not big deal. It’s the college essay to drives many students nuts. Some of the reasons include worrying about having something important to say. Students worry about what the older and more mature admission offers will think of an essay written by a teenager who’s just graduating from high school. What in the world can you write about when applying to college that will get an admissions offer mailed to your house?
So you struggle to think of an essay topic you deem worthy and finally it hits you. What a relief. Now you finally have an essay topic you think you can write a decent essay about. But now you get writer’s block. The essay topic is in your head and you’ve got the high level idea but how do you translate it into words on paper?
Come to think of it, you’ve skipped right over the short essay questions and skipped write to the main essay. Now you’ve got to answer questions about three personal characteristics that make you a qualified applicant in addition to coming up with a solid essay for your college application. And you’ve put it off until the last minutes because of the dread of writing a college essay. The clock is ticking and if you’re going to apply to college, you’ve got to get your college applications in the mail soon.
And what is the admissions office really asking with some of these questions? It’s like they are playing a game of chess with the applicants. They ask a seemingly simple question but what’s the bigger meaning? What are they really looking for in an answer? And what types of answers will doom you application for admission? It can be a frustrating, confusing, stressful experiences for a teenage considering the possible life consequences of what college you earn a degree from.
And all those challenges might be complicated depending on what else is going on the life of a busy teenager. What about enjoying your senior year in high school which is supposed to be one of the best years of your life? What about hanging out with your friends, playing sports, or whatever it is you like to do in your spare time?
Look, the best answer is to just do your best to ignore all those challenges, don’t over think the essay, and have a positive attitude. The admissions office isn’t intentionally trying to trick anyone. They just want thoughtful coherent answers the demonstrate intelligence and initiative. Just be yourself and do the best you can. That’s all you can ask of yourself.