Summer – a time for relaxation, exploration, and… Essay writing!
Plan your free time accordingly. Because for those preparing to enter into your senior year, you need to keep up with responsibilities in between fun times in the sun. We do recommend that you work on your college admissions’ essay over the summer.
With this news, the most common question most of you may have is…
What do I write about?
The summer before your senior year is an exciting one. In a couple short months, you’ll finally be among the oldest in your school. After 4 years, you can probably look back at your 9th grade self and see how much you’ve grown physically and in confidence.
While there are many accolades to celebrate for yourself this summer, remember that college is just around the corner. It’s important to keep a focus on your future among your summer plans. To help kick your summer off right, we’re sharing tips for essay brainstorming over your summer break.
Essay Brainstorming Over Your Summer Break
When essay brainstorming, your first instinct might be to google the essay prompts required by the various applications. However, I recommend NOT going that route.
Once you start to focus on the minutiae of prompts, your brain goes into problem-solving mode. In this mode, your brain tries to fit your memories, personality, and stories into an equation.
Search For Ideas Within Yourself
Formulaic essays are not the way to go. Instead, let the ideas come to you first. Then, take another look at the prompts and see what works with your ideas.
Also, don’t google essay ideas. In fact, stay away from the search engine during this process. It’s incredibly easy to find yourself going down the rabbit hole of reading stellar essays from college admissions’ offices. And we all know, comparison is the thief of joy.
When you find yourself comparing your ideas and writing skills to others, it only makes the process more difficult and last longer. Instead of finding yourself overthinking about the wrong things, look to your own treasure chest of ideas:
- Open your Birkman report and revisit your Interests, Stresses, Needs, and Strengths.
- Take a stroll down memory lane. Chat with your parents about funny and hard moments of your childhood. Pull out the old photo albums and explore your past experiences. Scroll back in time through your social media to help jog your memory and find inspiration.
- Peer through any journals or blogs where you’ve jotted down thoughts over the years.
During or after each of these activities, take notes. You can even easily record conversations with your parents on your smartphone. Sit with these memories and possibly old stories you’ve just now heard for the first time.
Identify Your Inspirations
Now it’s time to put your wealth of knowledge about yourself to use.
- What memories or stories stand out to you?
- Where have you seen growth and/or change?
- Do you still struggle with the same things? What lessons have you learned?
- What made you light up?
Now look through your prompts and see what jumps out. From your experiences, what could you tie into the essay requirements? Just start writing and you’ll find out. Don’t worry about a perfect first draft. Get the ideas out and let them flow.
Furthermore, make sure to jot down any and every essay idea that comes to mind. Keep a notepad by your bed in case they come in the middle of the night. Great ideas come and go, remembering the ideas and making use of them is when great things happen.
Knowing How & When To Perfect Your Essay
If you are joining us in our essay camp this summer, then don’t try to nail down a topic or write a draft prior to the start date. Instead, just take the time to warm up your brain using the ideas above.
For those who are working on your essay solo, don’t try to do things all at once. Brainstorming takes time. Once you choose a topic, try sketching out an outline or writing a very rough draft. Then, step away from your essay for a couple hours, a day, or even a few days. Then come back to it and polish it up some more.
This essay is your opportunity to enlighten or dive deep. Writing the essay is your chance to help the reader connect with you and to know you beyond the application. Because you ARE so much more than just your application.
Leading Students To Their Bright Futures Starting With Essay Brainstorming
There is something uniquely special in every person. Bright Futures Consulting guides students and their families through the college admissions and essay writing processes. Sometimes, it takes some work, but we find that when a student embraces self acceptance, the pieces start to fall in place.
Self acceptance can be a beautiful tool in writing an incredible essay. But also, writing an incredible essay can be a key to your student embracing self acceptance and truly shining.
It’s never too late or too early to start working towards college. At Bright Futures, we see the most success when we start working with students in 9th grade. If you have a high school student, we’d love to meet them and help them stand out among the competition to make their college dreams come true.
If you’re ready to schedule a consultation, email us at [email protected] or give us a call (281) 486-0023.