I was just wrapping up a college essay consult session with a professional client, who asked me what I thought about starting her students on the college essay now, while schools are closed.
While restaurants are closed.
When people are wearing plastic gloves out in public.
When you cannot find a roll of toilet paper at Publix or Kroger or Costco.
When the movie theater is closed. And when we cannot even sit inside of a Starbucks and chat with our friends.
These are unsettling, super stressful times.
The answer to her question, “Should we start students on college essays now?” doesn’t have a simple answer.
You need to ask yourself and your child a few more questions:
Why? Why now? Is it urgent?
Do you want to get your teen started on the essays because you want to give them something to do? Because they are bored? Because you are fresh out of ideas? Worried?
That all makes perfect sense to me, but none of these are good reasons to actually write an essay right now.
Unless the student will reliably start it and finish the essay soon, it won’t work. Unless the essay is something they can focus on – and I mean really focus on – it won’t work.
It’s hard to focus and also hard to stick to a routine.
- Do you have a plan for your child?
- Do you have a schedule to help them get those essays done, without losing momentum?
- Do you have a process to follow?
- Or were you thinking you could just wing it?
No matter what you advise your child to do, don’t forget the fundamentals: Plan. Process. Schedule.
Make sure you have a plan so your child can finish what they start.
Make sure you have a process to follow so your child knows exactly what they are doing and WHY.
And make sure your child can stick to a schedule. Everything is up in the air right now. Help your child stay focused.
So back to that original question: “Should my child write their college essays now?”
Ask yourself the right questions, and you’ll come up with the right answer.
It can be hard for students to write about themselves, especially when the stakes are so high. Stay healthy. We’re sending warm and calming thoughts to all of you.