Summer! The sand, the surf, alarm clocks temporarily set to the “off” position. The months between your junior and senior years may be the best you’ll ever have because next summer will be all about packing and heading off to college. So enjoy yourself! But in between hanging out with friends and raging at the beach or the lake, why not write your college application essay. “Huh?” you say. “Why are you destroying my summer with work?” Great question! This summer, my phone has been ringing more than usual with rising seniors looking to get their college application essays “saved” and out of the way. So here’s 5 reasons why those smart, motivated students definitely have the right idea.
1) Time is on your side. No classes, no obligations, and no extracurricular activities that eat up your time. And so when fall comes around, writing those pesky essays will be considered a major chore. You can always go swimming or to a ball game when you’re done and do so with a jumbo-sized accomplishment in your rear-view mirror.
2) Your head is clear and you have more time to actually think about: “a risk you have taken,” or, “a personal, local, national, or international concern.” And because you actually have less to do over the summer, those “significant experiences” are fresh on your mind, making it easier and more enjoyable to write about them.
3) That jerk of a boss you had for your summer job, the camp counselor you learned so much from, or the family trip your parents blackmailed you into joining them on is something you may wish to write about. And because you aren’t currently in school and studying, you’re more open-minded to these great experiences you’re having, thus making for a far more compelling essay.
4) Write draft after draft after draft without that ticking clock to stress you out. When you know the time you have is open-ended, you can play around with a topic, change and edit, or just throw it away and start all over again. It may take you weeks to find the one you are most proud of. But inevitably, it will be that last one you write which will excite a College Admissions Officer and get you accepted into the college or university you most wish to attend.
5) Think ahead — it’s early on a Sunday morning in late October if you’re applying early. Or, late December if you are not. Your parents wake you up at the crack of dawn and they are not happy. They want to know: “Have you started your Common Application essay yet?” “Have you even thought of a topic yet?” Then they produce a calendar and show you how late it’s getting. This is no way to be woken up on a Sunday morning! So sleep late in the fall because you will know that not only have you chosen a topic but, in fact, the essay was actually completed in July or August.
Yes, I know I’m a killjoy. But if your friends mock you for missing out on a great party — so be it. But come late October or mid December when they’re stuck in their bedrooms writing their Common Application Essays at the last minute, it’ll be you who’ll have the last laugh.