College Application Essays: Pacing Yourself This Fall

Will you take a risk when you write your essays?

Chances are, your days are already pretty packed: classes, extracurriculars, seeing friends, spending time with family… and now applying to college on top of that. Senior year can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to writing your personal essays. And while you’ve certainly written essays on the Civil War, Einstein, or plant biology, a personal essay is a different animal. It can be time consuming and even emotionally draining, depending on your choice of topic. Make sure to pace yourself accordingly and keep that pile of college essay assignments manageable.

Make sure to set aside a little bit of time every day to work on your essay. It’s better to spend 20 minutes on it daily than 10 hours right before it’s due. You’ll find that visiting it every day will help your ideas flow and connect better, give you perspective on what you’ve already written, and reduce the chances of sloppy mistakes.

As for topic selection, instead of trying to brainstorm an essay that matches an existing question from your school of choice, try working backward. Think of a personal experience that moved you or changed you, then tailor that to answer the question. Let’s say you want to write about your experience playing the flute for the first time with a large orchestra. This story answers a lot of possible essay questions: what was a personal activity of special significance, or an accomplishment you are proud of—even an adversity you have dealt with. This one story can be tweaked into the many essays your colleges require.

It’s great to get feedback from a friend or a teacher on a draft you’ve written, but don’t overdo it. A common mistake is an essay written “by committee” – too many people have read it and the writer is trying to please too many different opinions. In the end, you’re left with an essay with all the life sucked out of it. Find one person you trust—preferably not a family member or friend—and let that individual be your sounding board.

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Free Webinar About How To Write Winning Admission Essays

How do you write college essays that help you stand out from thousands of other applicants? How can you manage all your different essays without going totally insane?

Organizing and writing your college essays is the most time-consuming and stressful part of the application process. This entertaining and informative webinar run by two of the nation's leading college essay experts will show you how to handle the entire process with greater ease and success.

Parents and students will explore good and bad essay topics, essay do's and don'ts, and even comical essay blunders. You'll also have the opportunity to inquire about your own essays and get immediate feedback.

School counselors: Please feel free to tell your seniors and their parents all about this webinar!

Dan Stern and Scott Farber run College Essay Organizer, a groundbreaking website that instantly streamlines the college essay process. They have led college essay workshops for more than a decade, helping thousands of students write their way into the colleges of their dreams.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 27, 9-10pm EST


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CEO Updates College Application Deadlines

In the process of updating the requirements for the new application season, we at CEO have found an enormous number of discrepancies between publicly available information regarding school application deadlines, and what is listed on the schools' own sites. To make matters more confusing, most third-party sites, and even many of the schools' own admissions pages, leave out important dates for special programs and departmental applications. So in our continuing effort to be as accurate and thorough as possible, we are updating deadline information as these applications become available, resolving any discrepancies we may find. Rest assured that we are double- and triple-checking our work, to make sure that the information we present is as perfect as can be.

With so many different sources for this information, such as the Common App, College Board, and NCES, CEO is your trusted source, doing all the investigative work that would take one person days.

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