By Kim Lifton
Wow Writing Workshop
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.
Meanwhile, now is a very good time to ask questions and learn more. I hope you’ll encourage your child to join me on Tuesday, April 7, at 7 p.m. ET for a free, 1-hour class, to help you prepare for your college essay. Sign up and watch us live, or get a recording later.
It can be hard for students to write about themselves, especially when the stakes are so high. I’ll help you prepare now, so you can write your essay whenever you are ready. I’ll answer your questions, too. Sign up here.
Stay healthy. We’re sending warm and calming thoughts to all of you.
About the Author
Kim Lifton is President and Co-founder of Wow Writing Workshop, a strategic communication company specializing in college admission and grad school application essay writing and professional training. She leads a team of writers and teachers who understand the writing process inside and out. Wow’s team teaches students how to write application essays, and provides expert training on their unique approach to professionals who want to improve their essay coaching practices. Kim blogs regularly about the college essay’s role in the admission process for multiple industry publications and websites. In 2019, she was named a LinkedIn Top Voice in Education.
Before co-founding Wow, Kim worked as a reporter and communication consultant. Highlights include: Co-producing a PBS documentary about teens and depression, No Ordinary Joe: Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness; writing “First Class,” a weekly lifestyle column about the area’s most successful businessmen and women for the Detroit Free Press; creating “A Small Business Adventure,” a 12-part monthly series about the perils and pitfalls of running a small business for the Detroiter Magazine; supervising a public relations campaign and accompanying print materials that attracted local and national print, radio, and TV media coverage for the National Council of Jewish Women’s annual convention in celebrating its 100th anniversary.
We’re getting ready to accept applications to reserve a space for college essay coaching for the Class of 2021. If you are interested in reserving a spot, email me firstname.lastname@example.org.