College Essay Writing – Get out of your own head!

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The college application process is a stressful time for high school seniors in Fairfield County, and nothing can weigh on their minds quite like the college application essay. Here are a few tips to avoid common traps and to get it right:

  1. Get out of your own head! Resist the urge to write about yourself unless you have a truly remarkable story to tell. Focus on writing/describing an event, person or situation that resounds with you. This tells the reader about your values more effectively than a self-indulgent story, and effectively gets you away from the relentless I, I, I, me, me, me. Essay readers likely are sick to death of reading these, and will be happy to read an essay whose focus is not the applicant.
  2. Trust and pay attention to your memory. Write about what resonates with you, think about the things or events or people that have struck you, regardless of how unimportant you think they are. Ponder any memory – you recall those things for a reason. They might seem obscure and trivial, but they hold value, and might present an opportunity to write about something that is uniquely you.
  3. Use language that carries your feelings about a certain topic. Show how and why you appreciate the topic. Don’t just detail an event or describe a person. What is it that captured you? Why does this story or person or thing resonate with you?

Conclusion: doing these things will provide direction and can untangle and streamline your thinking and ultimately your writing. Getting out of your own head means looking at your topic objectively. Even if you never use the word I or me, the reader will have a clear sense of who you are and what you care about.