How to Make College App Essay Writing Less Stressful

De-stress your essay writing process!

Flickr user Orange Weekends

The college application process is stressful enough, but with the essays on top of everything else, it can really cause anxiety for some students. But don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to de-stress the writing process.

Start Early

One of the best things you can do to take the stress out of the essay is to start as early as possible. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) start your essay writing it right away, but thinking about it is a great start. The first few weeks are a great opportunity to brainstorm topics or experiences that answer the college’s question.

Starting early also allows you to take your time. If you’re waiting for the final weeks because it is stressing you out, you could run into problems and writer’s block. You might be stuck handing in an essay you’re not really happy with because the deadline is coming up. Even just looking at the application’s essay question right after you decide on applying to a college can help you start thinking of replies in your free time or help you come up with the perfect answer while in the shower or in study hall.

Ask For Help

It is entirely okay to ask for help on the application process, even the essay! That doesn’t mean you should have someone write it for you, however. That’s plagiarism. But asking them to help brainstorm with you or review your work can have huge benefits.

Some people you can ask for assistance include your teachers, high school counselor, fellow students, parents, or others you trust. You may even want to get the opinions of several people to see if everyone feels the same way.

Be Yourself

One of the most important things you can do for your essay, that can help de-stress the writing, is being yourself. You don’t have to pretend to be a different person or pretend to know more than you do. Your college wants to see who you really are. If you have a great sense of humor, show that off. If you have a passion for volunteering, animals, or another aspect of your life, talk about that.

Don’t try to come off as someone else. The essay will come off as fake and the admissions employee who reads it will most likely see through it. Speak about yourself in a true light. You don’t have to bring up all your faults or weaknesses in education but come across as authentic. You’re a person. You’re unique. Show that in your essay. They don’t want another essay that talks about just how great their school is. They hear that all the time. Talk about yourself, your accomplishments, lessons you’ve learned, or things you’re passionate about.

One of the biggest reasons students stress about the essay portion is because they put it off for too long. Starting early is the biggest benefit you can give yourself when it comes to this part of your college application. Once you get started, remember to be yourself and that it’s okay to ask for help.

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