Coffee Chat: College Essays

I am currently in the process of finishing my fiftieth college essay (or, at least, that’s what it feels like to me). The exciting part is that this will be my last essay that I have to write for scholarships, and while I have almost no motivation to complete it, I know that I will be glad when it is finished.

But since essays are on my mind, I figured that I would rant about my experience with writing college essays here on my Coffee Chat this morning.

The amount of essays that students have to complete to get into college in this day and age is ridiculous, and that’s coming from me, who only applied to five schools total. I can’t even imagine the extra workload of students who applied to Ivy-Leagues or who had a giant list of schools to apply to.

The fact is, I will be attending a great school next year, so I guess my work paid off, but I’ll just give you a glance into the writing that I had to complete in order to get here. I had one essay for my Common Application, three essays for my application to get into the Honors Program, two essays for the general scholarship application for the school, and three more essays for specific school scholarships. I’m really not that interesting. Writing on a scale that is good enough to meet the standards of a college admissions board it one thing, but you have to really dig deep to continually come up with interesting stuff about you that makes you a good candidate for a successful college student.

My advice for getting through the college application season? Always have a mentor nearby who is willing to help you (or your son or daughter, depending on who is reading this), as it is almost impossible to judge your own writing. I don’t mean this in a rude way, but it it very hard for us to edit ourselves, especially when it comes to fixing any grammar issues or utilizing elevated vocabulary. Most of the time, these mentors come in the form of a teacher or administrator that you have worked with before. Even parents can be useful in editing your essays, but if your parents are anything like mine, they can really only check for obvious grammar errors or repetition. For the most part, my aunt helped me with my essays. As a college professor, I trusted her judgement and her eye to catch any mistakes that I might have made! I think this was the right decision, as I was admitted into my choice college and into the honors program (but we will wait to hear back about the scholarships).

This application that I am currently completing is an outside scholarship, and the most difficult part about it is that besides a one page essay, every other piece of writing has to be 50 words or less. This may sound like it would make the application easier, but it is difficult to make yourself sound educated and eloquent in a limited number of words.

It’ll all be over soon though, and I hope to complete my final drafts of everything today! Wish me luck…

And Don’t Forget to Make It Meghan!

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