Remember also that first drafts are usually bad. The story will get better in the “retelling” of the story. Which means that we have to start somewhere. If you are procrastinating or hitting “writer’s block” here are some strategies:
- Know that first drafts are usually bad, so take the pressure off yourself and realize that you are only sitting down to write the “crappy draft”. From there you will re-tell the story until you reach a good polished draft.
- Pick two times a week that you will work on your essays. This leaves the rest of the week to be “guilt free” and focuses your attention to those sacred hours that you have assigned yourself.
- If you are having trouble writing one essay, then write five essays! I know that sounds glib, but seriously, just telling yourself you will write five actually takes the pressure off and often you find something interesting in one of them.
“The Prepared Senior” has already worked on 1-2 potential stories/first drafts of their Common App main essay at this point. Some are nearly at Final Drafts already!
4. Applications and School Recommendations: As mentioned, you should have created application accounts on Common Application and also on any colleges that have their own applications at this point. Good idea to keep one document for all of your usernames and passwords, or use some system like 1Password or LastPass to save these. It is also time to start thinking of approaching the teachers that you would like to ask for recommendations. Hopefully your school will be doing this online, so you will invite them through the Common Application. Get your teachers’ email addresses and let them know that you will be inviting them after they have agreed to write you letters. Generally speaking it is good to approach one teacher in Math or Science and one teacher in English or Social Science.
“The Prepared Senior” approaches their teachers with some specific extracurriculars that their teacher is aware that the student has done. Also she/he thinks about some good examples where she/he has excelled in that class, been commended, helped others, applied the subject to research/internship outside of school or taken the interest in the subject outside of the curriculum. These specific examples are what make effective recommendations.
5. UK Schools and the UCAS Application:
For those of you who are applying to the UK, you should have started to think about these questions as they are mainly what the Personal Statement is all about: What do I want to study? What has prepared me to study this? What would I like to do career-wise that requires this academic preparation?