Having Trouble Writing College Essay

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Try to choose anecdotes from your life that, in retrospect, you learned from, and these stories will inform your topic.

Even the shortest, most insignificant moment can make a great essay if it shaped you in some way.

Did the service trip spark a deep interest in a specific social issue that now drives your academic study? You could write about his lonely, minimalist paintings and how they make you feel, and you could tell the reader that you've always admired his talent for telling a whole story with only a few seemingly unimportant characters.

These are better areas of focus than the sport, grandparent, or trip themselves. It's all about detail: As I see it, you have two options when exploring a topic in your college essay: go broad or go deep. You could write about your own storytelling and how it is inspired by Hopper. One is better than the other (I'll give you a hint: it's the second one).

By day 14, you should have written one rough essay for every “top choice” topic you decided on during day 5.

This means that you should now have anywhere between one to three potential essays for a single prompt.Now that you have a few potential topics, think about how each one would respond to the prompt.Spend 15 minutes outlining each one, using your prompt to guide the outline.If you do have more than one essay written, it is now time to choose a single essay.Out of the two or three essays you have written in the past couple days, there is probably one that speaks to you more than the rest.This makes sense; your writing experience up until this point has consisted of essays on books you've read or concepts you've learned. Fight the urge to focus on your athletic practice schedule, the grandparent you admire, or the community service experience from last summer.You may use these people or experiences as launching pads to discuss yourself, but that is all they should be. Is grandpa the reason you've always got a harmonica in your purse?(The same goes for you, introverts: if you’re quieter in person, write a quieter essay!Thoughtfulness, introspection, and an unassuming tone make for great college essays too!In essays that ask you to tell a story, a good topic should write itself and finding a strong essay idea will nearly always be more productive than forcing a story to respond to the prompt.For “why this school” essays, focus on the structure and connection between your reasons.


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