Why Does Writing the College Essay Frighten 17 Year Olds?


Why is it that, after writing so many school essays, research and history papers, procrastinating writing that college essay becomes a common ordeal, one that even the most diligent of students appear to suffer through?  Students’ advanced placement courses, GPA, after-school curricula, music and community service all profile hard-working, highly successful candidates, but where is “the me nobody knows” that admissions counselors crave to discover?  How do students who have written countless objective reports reveal the soft underbelly side of themselves, which is exactly what those who decide among qualified candidates need and want to discover in order to lift that candidate off the page?


The buzz from the admissions people is that when they must vet through the hundreds of qualified students vying for those few, competitive acceptance spots, the deciding factor often comes down to a well-written, polished and organized essay that reveals a side of the candidate that little else in their file does.  The idea of becoming vulnerable, introspective, funny, self-deprecating or outrageous is scary for teens who have spent their high school careers writing measured and serious essays. So it is no wonder that many students leave this as the last part of the college application process, while they are better off to start writing drafts based on the common application essay prompts or those given on the applications for schools that require additional writings.


Make sure your essay is original in thoughts, puts yourself “out there,” is organized in content, directed to where your theme is headed, and that the grammar and punctuation are polished and correct.  This occasion is one where the seasoned eye of a professional essay coach can be an excellent investment in time and money. She/he can help you work through this process in order to create a stellar essay that is wholly original, effective and shows you DO have the ability to successfully tackle this major part of the college application process.  As they say in Latin, Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!) and good luck to you.

About the author-  A former principal of public and private schools, Dr. Norma Irom is an experienced educator and private tutor.  She is also the founder of The Reading/Writing Connection, an educational consulting firm that serves students from grades 1-12, offering individual academic support and specializing in the preparation of the college essay writing and application process for older students.  She works in Rye and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Check out her website to learn more!


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