The Power of Reflection in College Apps

Please use the quiet, free, easy summer time to reflect upon your academic year and brainstorm topics for your college admissions essay.

As Confuscious once said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is most bitter.”

Summer is the time to shift from your rigorous academic schedule and to allow your mind to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate. Learning still takes place: capture your honest thoughts about successes and challenges from the past school year.

Either through a computer document or in a summer journal, reflect upon what went well for you academically last year: what class was easy for you, which particular assignment or paper shows your writing growth? Why? Remember to include the specific reason you performed well in a class as a whole or on an assignment, test, or paper: did you finally manage your time well? Did you ask helpful questions that allowed you to better understand directions? Did you focus intensely so that you created a quality, thorough essay or project?

Beginning to reflect on the past school year with challenges and how you overcame these challenges will help you form a couple ideas for a college essay topic. Getting a jump start on brainstorming topics early will allow you to come up with a basic list which you can further develop with time. Having a general idea of a challenge you’ve overcome, or anything that sets you apart, early on will leave more time to incorporate detail and specifics to clearly establish your experience for the admissions office.

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