SHS senior shares college essay tips

Students should strive for freshness and individually when writing essays


via Samantha Fleming

SHS Senior, Samantha Fleming, works on her college essay.

Like every senior, I have spent the first three months of the school year working on my college applications — and the personal essay is by far the most difficult and most frustrating part.

How do you come up with an idea? Do you sound smart enough? Are there enough words? What if you’re not good enough? With deadlines fast approaching, many seniors can feel like they are drowning.

“Don’t procrastinate. If you think you’re going to write a beautiful essay, you know, at the 11th hour, it’s most likely not going to happen,” said SHS guidance counselor Ms. Theresa Onody.

The hardest part of writing an essay is getting started. It is helpful to some to write a paragraph or so on multiple topics to see which one feels and sounds the best. Going into something knowing that it won’t be the final draft makes it seem less scary.

Khan Academy has some great tips for students who are struggling.

Be self-centered. Talk about yourself and your feelings. Colleges want to know who you are and the best way to show them is to be selfish. When you talk about things that have happened to you, explain how they made you feel.

“Use specific examples. If you are going to make a statement, you have to be able to back it up,” said English teacher, Ms. Jamie Marra.

Write the way you speak. Everyone has their own voice and yours is unique. Use your voice in  order to show the colleges who you are.

“Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You can throw in little funny things. Be creative. Think of a way that’s going to make you stand out and not make you sound like a robot,” said Marra.

Don’t just talk about the past. Write about how it has shaped you into the person you are today. Talk about who you want to be in the future.

It is also important to be concise. Admissions offices are reading essay after essay, so going over the word limit will not benefit anyone. Do not repeat the same idea a whole lot — keep moving forward.

English teachers warn students about including COVID in your personal essay. It is a very major event that has affected every single person in their own way.

However, after reading so many essays on one topic, admission offices could easily get bored of reading similar things repeatedly. If the coronavirus affected you uniquely and majorly, it might be a good idea to include it.

To read more into this, the class of 2021 can read an article about it on their guidance google classroom.

Guidance Google Classroom codes:

Class of 2021: xe3e5jd

Class of 2022: os3vowh

Class of 2023: y5sebmk

Other helpful links: