Last spring, while high school juniors were getting ready to relax and start their summers, the University of Michigan posted a greeting on the college’s admissions site suggesting incoming high school seniors get started on their application essays.
“When we talk to seniors each fall, the one thing that is usually holding up turning in their applications is perfecting their written responses,” the greeting said.
This message is one Susan and I share regularly with prospective Wow students. The college essay is too important to wait until the last minute to get it done. All too often, students who begin the writing process during the fall call us for help; they are paralyzed by fear. Many of these students truly believe they cannot complete this important task when they begin working with us.
We think every student has a compelling story to tell college admissions officers, and we teach them a process for getting it done. Spring is a great time to start working on this task. In the spring, students can practice and learn the process using a prompt from a college application that rarely changes. It is not that scary and does not have to be so painful. If students learn the process in the spring, and practice, they can buckle down over the summer and start writing away.
“We know you’re already thinking about your application, so why not get started on writing your essays this summer,” the University of Michigan greeting said. “If you spend time writing this summer, you won’t have to worry about it this fall when all of your school year activities start up again. Then, when our application is available in mid-August, you can apply right away!”