Amy Haskell, M.A., M.Ed., Founder, Total Writing Enrichment Services
The beautiful fall month of October, for high school seniors, is not only packed with reading, writing, and studying for school classes, but remains filled with the pressure of filling out college applications to meet admission deadlines.
One of the most daunting tasks for many seniors applying to college is the college essay writing process. The pressure points include not only writing and completing these essays on time but making sure the colleges recognize seniors’ talents so that they gain admission to their dream school. “How and when do I find the time to produce the best writing of my life?!,” cried one senior to me last week, busy juggling football and school classes.
Seniors, at this point in their academic careers, most likely know at least some of the most essential components to create and complete solid essays; however, do they know the best way to manage their time given their hectic schedules so that they write amazing college essays?
Maybe it’s the simple act of turning on the timer on their iPhones and putting fingers to their laptop keyboards to type, but finding a structured process to follow can bring even more stress to the most organized students this time of year.
However, after working with college-bound seniors for many years and after striving to find an easy-to-use system to get things done in my own life, I’ve come up with these ultra-effective steps to maximize time and complete these essays (and really to complete anything on your to-do list).
Please share with your seniors so they complete all aspects of their college applications on time.
How to get it done: college applications, admission essays, and senior year school work
Do a total thought download: write out everything plaguing your brain that makes you feel stuck, worried, and anxious.
Start out by jotting down big-picture items like a math test, English quiz, Common App essay, supplemental essays, service projects, hours for the job. This list can honestly fill a page with things to do. Write everything in your mind out on paper or onto a computer document. Immediately you will feel better.
The transformation begins: turn your thoughts of everything you have to do to complete college applications, school work, service projects into to-do items. For example, if you feel worried that your Common App essay fails to stand out and capture the college’s attention, then add “Write a captivating attention grabber” on your to-do list.
Break it down, move the thought that gives makes you feel stuck out of your brain and onto your to-do list. You begin to take control of your worries and feel more confident that you will complete the tasks that bring you worry.
The inspiration builds: schedule the to-do items. This is key. Move everything off of your to-do list, all the things that give you worry about the writing, the letters of recommendation, the due dates and add them to your calendar.
Your integrity brings you joy: Stick to your calendar, focus, and complete each to-do item. Move quickly and efficiently. Hold yourself to the highest level of integrity to complete the task you scheduled on your calendar. Feel the sense of accomplishment and you check things off your list. Do it. Just do it. Picture yourself done and turn everything in, one step at a time.
As a small business owner juggling many hats to improve and grow my writing services, raise four kids, stay in shape and excellent health, I have found the process above an enlightening strategy to my happiness and success. My heart goes out to all the high school seniors right now who struggle with massive to-do lists and feel intense pressure to turn in amazing college essays on time with their applications. Trust me, follow the above steps and you will get it done. Believe, do, and you will see results.