How Come No-One Taught Me How to Write About Myself. AKA. College Essays S–K!

Nov 25, 2018 | College Admissions, College Applications

December and January are brutal months for High School Seniors who are in the throes of writing college application essays, and who hate writing; and let me tell you, there seem to be more and more of them out there.  What’s going on?  

Well, rather than wax poetic about how screens and dull high school curricula are destroying the creative writing muscles of students, let’s focus on the positive.  IMHO, our kids are surrounded by very interesting topics to write about and all they need is to be given some freedom to express themselves without the constraints of the 5 paragraph high school essay. 

Here are some topics, and please, call or email me if you want 100 more. I’ve been pulling out the creativity of college applicants for 15 years and seem to have a knack for doing so!

  • My elbows are dry but my face is full of pimples.  Why is that and what am I currently doing about it? (Curiosity essay) This one successfully resulted in an offer from the University of Pittsburg.
  • Everyone at my local library seem stressed, so I put together a short survey and started talking to them.  My findings were that….(Creativity and Independence essay). The writer is now at the University of Richmond.
  • Please don’t put your feet in me again, I said silently to myself. I am really tired from yesterday and I need a break.  As usual she didn’t listen to me and we headed off on another 10K run, determined to be ready for the fundraiser next month.  (Community Service essay). He received an offer from American University.
  • A duct tape bandaged olive picker lies across a legal pad, covered in my father’s chicken scrawl. A paper towel roll octopus, with 8 legs flailing rest on top of a copy of Guns, Germs, and Steel. I am in his world and it fascinates me. It always has. (Curiosity essay). Julia is now at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Math is precise and yet fluid and has a place in whichever direction you look, from the number of stools versus chairs versus tables required to maximize occupancy in a restaurant, to the salary required to entice an employee to change jobs. Its’ application is why I will be an economics major.  (Short answer for Cornell). Yuri attends Cornell.

Some of the clients who wrote these essays started with a rough idea and some started with nothing.  Through brainstorming and mind mapping as well as a lot of coffee and cookies, these really great essays were manifested.  If you feel as if you need some help with college admissions planning, and or the college essay writing, please reach out. We are here all hours of the day finding colleges, assisting with college applications and coaching students on how to present themselves authentically and strategically.

Happy Writing!
Jo Leonard