Do you feel overwhelmed by the time and effort it is going to take your teen to write the college essays? Do you feel confused about how to start the essay writing process yourself (even if you consider yourself a pretty good writer as and adult!?).
As the oldest child in my family, my parents and I faced similar challenges as I started the college essay writing process in 2017. Although my parents tried to use their knowledge from applying to college in the 90s, their tips were outdated and no longer relevant. Now, three years later, my younger sister Caroline is starting to write her essays for college. Even though my parents and I have experience now, Caroline and I are very different students applying to very different colleges, so there is still a degree of confusion.
Whether you have never had a child apply to college before, or you have had ten children apply to college before, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the daunting task of writing college essays. So, how CAN you help your teen start writing their essays? Before your teen can get writing, it’s important to set up a plan and take care of the logistical aspects first. Let’s break down three simple steps to prepare before the writing starts.
Step 1: Compile a finalized list of the colleges where your teen is applying. Take the time to sit down with your teen and discuss where they plan on applying in the fall.
Step 2: Get organized. After deciding which school you teen is applying to, the next step is to determine the number of essays they will actually have to write in order to apply to college. Visit each college’s website and determine what kind of application they utilize, when the deadlines are, and what kind of supplements they require. To keep track of all this information, don’t forget to take advantage of Total Writing Enrichment’s FREE, easy to use college essay planner. You can access the planner here and save yourself the struggle I faced when I tried to create a complex spreadsheet to keep myself organized.
Step 3: Practice and use examples. For schools that use the Common App, you can already preview which essay prompts the Common App is using here. For schools that require supplemental writing on top of the Common App, by searching for past year supplements, it is easy to find examples of prompts. Even schools that don’t use the Common App typically have resources available for prospective students to see the number of essays they will need to write and provide some examples. Look through these prompts to get a good idea of what kind of work your teen has to get done for their college applications.
This can help you create a timeline for the summer and determine how long your teen should be devoting to their essays. After compiling and organizing all of this information, don’t forget to schedule your FREE 15-minute consultation to learn more about our college essay writing program to see how your teen can write outstanding college admission essays, with Total Writing Enrichment by clicking here.
Good luck getting started! Check back next Monday for more tips on college essay writing as we continue to delve into the process of getting started over the next few weeks!
*Moira Ritter is a junior at Georgetown University and looks forward to contributing her writing skills to Total Writing Enrichment this summer!