How to Have a Great Senior Year: Write Your College Application Essay this Summer

The following is a guest post by Randy Levin. Randy has one focus–helping students with their college application essays. You can see a sample of his presentation here.

Senior year will be here faster than another Lindsey Lohan arrest. It’s your last year in high school forever (Sad? I should be a motivational speaker). Whether you have over-scheduled yourself or “Senioritis” set in mid-way through Junior year, the college application process can be stressful for you and your family.

If you don’t want Dr. Phil to be brought in or if you don’t want the police called to protect you from your parents who have had enough, my advice is to tackle just this one part of the application process-the essay.

The Common Application Essay Topics are available NOW. Your goal should be to complete this essay before school begins. Get the “heavy lifting” over with these five steps:

  1. Read through the five possibilities and choose the one that you feel will represent YOU the best.
  2. A rough draft is just that…rough…get your ideas on paper without worrying about structure, word choice, spelling, grammar, etc.
  3. PUT IT DOWN AND WALK AWAY. Go to the beach, play ball, take a nap. Come back to it the next day and start sculpting the essay in terms of the ideas you have, the structure, the word choice, etc.
  4. PUT IT DOWN AND WALK AWAY. (See a pattern starting?) Come back to it in two days. Revise, Revise, Rinse, Repeat.
  5. Once it’s relatively done…do NOT show it to twenty people. ONE person…a parent…not Grandma (She loves everything you do). Get some feedback. ONE person.

Also, the Supplemental Essays come out August 1st. While you can’t get all the supplemental essays done in August, you should try to tackle a few. Go in order of your college choices…first the college you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to go to down to the last school that you want to go to.

The bottom line is this: The more you can get done over the summer, the less stress during senior year; the more you can enjoy your last year in high school.

Don’t expect the essays to necessarily be perfected but if you have essays that you worked on with multiple revisions, chances are they will be in good shape. In September you can show them to your English teacher, your guidance counselor, or your parole officer. Just choice ONE person. They might need slight tweaking but that’s better than beginning the whole process in the midst of a hectic schedule.

Check out how to get more help from Randy
at Write to College

Randy Levin: Randy Levin ( holds a MA in English and a MFA in Creative Writing. He is a former high school English teacher who worked in highly competitive Long Island districts. Randy is a published writer, editor, speech writer and public speaking coach. Because of his expertise and reputation, he is the only college essay expert asked to speak at the National College Fair- Nassau Coliseum in 2013
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