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Monday, November 23, 2015
Selling Yourself Short on Your College Admission Essay
If you're a high school junior with an eye on college, you've probably already started reading all the college counseling advice. There is lots of it. You might have a book. You might have hired a consultant. Your parents may have your ear. And when it comes to writing your admission essay, much of the advice is the same.
Edit, proofread, and edit some more.
Brainstorm. Put all your ideas on paper first-organize later. Edit. Have someone else look it over. Be yourself. Show, don't tell.
All good advice. Unless you're suffering from a severe case of writer's block. Then, and only then, you might want to just throw the book at the wall. Then follow me out onto this limb.
What if-you designated an hour on a Saturday afternoon, and just sat down and wrote. Write about whatever comes to mind. Don't put a ton of thought into it. Write about why it is funny or important to you. Don't overthink it. Most importantly, don't write what you think someone else wants to hear.
Trust me here. I write often. My best ideas usually come to me when I'm busy doing other things. I always wish I could stop in that moment and spill the words onto paper, because by the time I have time, I'm often stumped.
I'm not suggesting that you don't edit your work. I'm not telling you not to put another hour into it. I'm just challenging you to take a risk. Get out of your own head, and into your heart.
So much of the admission essay angst revolves around a single thing-writing what you think your university wants to read. It takes the joy out of the creative process. Students, so preoccupied with "getting in", become paralyzed into drafting something that will make them look good, rather than something they actually enjoy writing.
So, why not try it? After all, it's only an hour.
See what happens.
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