Planning for College Application Essays

college application essays“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin. This statement was so aptly coined by Mr. Franklin, yet many students leave college application essay planning until the last minute. Students that work essay planning and draft creation into their current schedule will have an advantage. Many high school teachers typically allow a limited free-writing time in class during junior Spring term or senior Fall term. Since there is nothing typical about the current world circumstances and class time has been replaced by a home-learning schedule, autonomous students will be well-served to incorporate college application essay writing into their schedule now. 


Where to Start


A good place to start is with the Common Application’s essays. Starting early on essays will allow for important brainstorming, editing, and revision time, relieving stress down the road and resulting in a well-developed end product. 


The Common Application essay prompt options


With nearly 900 Common Application member colleges, it’s a good bet that this application will be preferred when applying to at least some prospective colleges. Students applying to colleges via the 2020-2021 Common Application choose to write a response to one of the prompts below:


  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you. What steps did you take to identify a solution?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.


The goal of a college application essay


An essay reveals aspects of a student that may not be obvious when reviewing other application elements. The process for creating college application essays takes into account qualities a student wishes to convey involving carefully crafted wording, phrases, examples, etc. A well-laid foundational plan, defending the main point, supporting with poignant or compelling examples while showcasing character qualities. Referencing how the student ticks are all influential components in the college application essay. 


Valle Educational Consultants (VEC) is a nationally recognized college application essay specialist. While encouraging the student’s voice to shine through an essay, specific essentials including topic brainstorming, draft revisions, and polishing final content are done with a priority on confidence-building. A well-conceived and written essay says much about your student as a superior applicant and can make all the difference in admissions consideration.

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