School is in Session; Are your College Essays Done?

I just got a welcome email from a student’s mom saying her daughter’s college applications were done. “She hit the submit button. Ahhhhh!”

Wow phones were ringing off the hook this past month with countless requests to teach students how to write their essays before the first day of school. That day has come, and we are proud of our many students who already finished their application essays and can begin the new school year with a collective sigh of relief.  It’s all good!

Today, I had a student in my office wrapping up his short essay for the Common Application. He described working in a camp kitchen  as “the dirtiest, sweatiest and most unbearable job at camp” and used vivid details to bring admissions counselors into his summer world. “I even  jumped into an empty dumpster and scrubbed it with a heavy duty brush using Pine Sol and Comet cleansers.”

Yesterday, a student sat at my desk and wrote about the Jewish community for the University of Michigan supplement.  She provided great descriptions of Friday night dinners at her home. “Every Friday, I come home from school and am welcomed by the sweet smell of challah bread baking in the oven.” She had me in tears with these lines:  “I dress the salad with my grandmother’s special dressing, and begin cutting up the fruit. Even though my grandmother is no longer with us, dressing the salad every week makes me feel like she is still there.”

On Friday, the girl whose mom sent the email prompting this blog post finished up her last essay for her nursing school application.  She talked about a time she was flat on her back in a neck brace in a hospital with a concussion and realized for certain why she wanted to be a nurse.  “The doctor stopped in once and a while to check up on me, but my nurse never left my side. I got many x-rays and tests done. She held my hand and talked me through it. It comforted me.”

Our students have written so many strong stories.  One girl who plays hockey discovered her competitive nature after scoring two goals in 20 seconds; another student worked three jobs to help pay bills and put food on her family’s table.

The reason they are so good: they are unique to the students who wrote them in their own words using their own voices. They used powerful details that will help each student stand out from the crowd, no matter who is reading the stories.

Congratulations to our students who have already submitted college applications. For the rest of you, we have plenty of classes scheduled this fall, and we can also set up small group and private workshops to fit into your hectic schedules.