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Essays, essays and more essays

The summer of COVID-19!  Is it looking a little different for you than expected?  No school, no summer job, no hanging out at the community pool or movie theater or coffee shop?  You may find yourself with some extra time these days.   

The college admission process is also looking different than expected for fall.  Many colleges have opted to be test optional for the first time.  This means that admission officers are faced with the task of distinguishing between highly qualified students without relying on test scores.  How do you choose between hundreds or thousands of applicants who have excellent grades and challenging classes on their transcripts?  Needless to say, your essay is one part of the application that can help you stand out.   

So why not spend some extra time this summer refining your essays.  Especially at test optional schools, your essay can take on special significance.  The Common App essay prompts are the same as last year.  If you haven’t already started on your Common App essay, now is the time.  In addition, Common App has added a special “Additional Information” optional essay about how COVID-19 has impacted you.  Should you write this extra essay?  Brad Schiller, founder and CEO of Prompt (a writing feedback company), has some advice for you in his blog.  You should also check to find out if any of the schools on your list require supplemental essays or short answer questions.     

If you are applying to colleges that do not use the Common App, check the college websites to get their essay topics.            

Take Action 

Write something!  Get a first draft of your college essays started now.  This will give you plenty of time to get feedback from multiple people (parents, counselor, teachers, even friends).  It will also give you a chance to put it aside for now and come back to it later.   

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