Hi, My name is Andrea, and I am a senior at Centre College. It is crazy to believe that these four years are coming to an end, and it is nerve-racking. If you are a senior in high school, you’re probably in the same boat. It’s the period of senior year where all I do is write about myself to post-grad jobs. I consider myself better at talking about myself than writing, and capturing my skills and experiences in less than 500 words has been difficult. As I tackle scholarship essays and job searching, I think about the tactics I used when I was 17. I’ve been very overwhelmed in this process, but I hope my experiences can help you calm your fear of writing college essays.

I had a conversation with a great mentor on campus who told me not to view college prompts as test questions on a midterm exam. These questions don’t have a right or wrong answer. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to reflect on yourself, getting to dive deeper into what makes you, YOU! Look at these questions like journal/ diary entries. Scribble around and word vomit– the formal aspects will end up coming to you as you finalize the essays, but the most important thing is for you to write ideas!

There is a drastic difference between cover letter writing and a college admissions essay. Still, I did what seventeen-year-old me did to get creative and articulate my ideas onto a piece of paper: I read poems. With academic reading taking up most of my time, it is hard to be consistent with leisure reading, but a poem a day helps me reflect on who I am and why I am applying to the things I am. We all want jobs or to get into a particular college, but on a deeper level, what about yourself and experiences make you want it? I read a poem about traveling the world, and it inspired me to write about multiculturalism as a key thing I want to do in my future career.

As you write, remind yourself that these college counselors read college essays from so many students. STAND OUT. Please don’t be afraid of sharing a cheesy aspect of yourself. For my college essays, I had two excellent English professors at my school read my writing, and they debated over the language of my essays. I was indecisive as to what voices I should listen to. Should I tone down my essay, or should I be as unique as I can be? I realized that at the end of the, it is my story, it is YOUR STORY. I always ask people reading my essays to be mean because we need all the advice we can. But I also keep in my mind that I know myself best.

Do you have an interesting inside joke with your mom that appears odd to everyone else? Write about it! Do you have a strange fear of dogs but want to pursue vet school in the future? Tell it!(clearly don’t go off the walls)!you are unique, with experiences that matter and that are interesting. Try to highlight these in your essay. Suppose you are having writers’ block or stressing about each verb in your essay. In that case, I recommend that you go outside, talk to your family and friends, re-read a small part of your favorite childhood book, dive deeper in yourself beyond the academic frenzy, and write!