Things HS Seniors Should Remember While Writing Their College Application Essays

Things HS Seniors Should Remember While Writing Their College Application Essays

Don’t stress too much if you can’t write the perfect essay because it doesn’t exist
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As a college freshman, I remember how stressful this time of the year was for me last September when I was swamped with all the college essays. As intimidating as this time seems, it will pass, and you might actually miss the craziness of it later. I have compiled a short list to help any senior who is clueless on how to go about the whole essay part. While there are many more things to remember, the following is just a start:

1. Have a Creative Approach

There are thousands and thousands of students writing on the same prompt, and the college admission staff has to read through all of them. Make sure your essay stands out, and this can usually be done through a good introduction. Also, keep in mind that while being creative is important, it should also answer the topic. Don’t get too carried away with trying to be different that you completely ignore what the prompt is asking of you.

2. Be Yourself

As cheesy as it sounds, just be yourself. At the end of the day, your essay should reflect your personality and your story. No matter how mundane or average your life seems, there are always some experiences that are unique to you or that helped shape the person you are today. They don’t necessarily have to be big life altering events; they can be small interactions or instances of observation that taught you something you didn’t know. You will be surprised how much better you will know yourself once you finish this essay writing process.

3. Be Honest

Honesty is a crucial part of the essay. You owe it to yourself to accurately represent your four years in high school without any embellishment. It is completely fine if you did not have tons of extracurricular activities or internships that you could write about. Choose a topic that focuses on something other than those things, something that you actually have experience with. It is more than likely that the person reading your essay can easily tell whether you’re lying or not. It is better that you talk about your vulnerabilities than exaggerating about an instance that did not happen.

4. Keep It Concise

I can say without a doubt, this was personally the biggest issue for me while writing my college essay. When you first start writing, it feels like you don’t have enough to say, but once you get in the flow, it seems impossible to fit all of it in the given word limit. To show your entire complex personality in only 500-800 words is a daunting task. And that’s the purpose of it. Colleges want to see how well you can use the power of diction to accurately paint a picture of yourself in the most succinct way possible. You don’t have to use thesaurus for everything, but please don’t be redundant. Make every single word count.

5. Stay on Topic

For some reason, many students tend to forget what they wanted to convey in the beginning of their essay and end up going completely off topic. Don’t get carried away telling your life story that strays from what the prompt is asking of you. It helps to choose a small event and then expand on that rather than choosing a larger event and starting an “and then” train.

6. Write First, Edit Later

Please don’t edit as you write, just don’t. Editing as you write completely kills your train of thought and causes you to digress from topic. Think about the word limit, but don’t let that be the only thing that’s driving what you write next. Get everything you want to say out from your brain, including a couple of non-important sentences here and there because they will help you understand the context of your work. Once you are done with your first draft, return to the top and go ham with the editing.

These are just a few of the many things to focus on as you are writing your college essays. Remember to enjoy this process because as I have said before, you will learn so much about yourself that you hadn’t really thought of before. Don’t stress too much if you can’t write the perfect essay because it doesn’t exist. As long as your essay represents your individuality, you will be fine. Good luck!

Cover Image Credit: Princeton Review

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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