Updated: Mar 10, 2021
In just a few months, you’ll send your college applications off to the schools of your dreams. Just one summer stands between you and knowing where you’ll spend the next four or so years of your learning life! Your essays are the chance you get to show the admissions boards who you really are--they’re that first impression that matters so much, like it or not.
But there’s some really good news: You can prepare now to be ready to write college essays in the fall that will sing your praises. It all starts with keeping a notebook.
STEP 1: SELECT. Pick a notebook you like. You want something that you’ll want to pick up, that you'll enjoy writing in. It might be a Moleskine notebook, a bullet journal, or an art pad. Do you like something pocket-sized or larger? Do you have favorite pens or pencils? Or perhaps you’re the digital type: Open a Google doc, build a blog, or even use notes on your desktop!
STEP 2: COLLECT. Look at what fills your days and your mind like Jane Goodall did chimpanzees. Become an expert noticer. Get really curious about yourself. Nothing is too small or too big, too short or too long. Are you developing a fascination for the perfectly-steeped cup of tea? Is your time playing AmongUs getting you thinking about space exploration? Have you noticed something about what it is to live life in those weekly phone calls with your grandma? Do the lyrics to that one song seem like the keys to life? What are you learning about yourself? Write it all down. You can even paste in mementos, pictures, little things you’ve physically collected. Aim for something almost every day.
STEP 3: REFLECT. Once a week, look back at what you’ve written. Ask yourself this one magic question: What does this suggest about who I’m becoming? Write it out. Don’t try to answer the question neatly--easy answers are usually boring. You’re mysterious and wonderful--continue to connect the dots of your own mind and experience.
IN SHORT, If you select a notebook, then collect and reflect throughout your summer, you’ll enter senior year with a treasure chest of rich, unique-to-you details and ideas perfect to paint that self-portrait sure to wow admissions panels.
Want some help collecting your best ideas? Book a session with an expert writing coach and we’ll walk you through it all.