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5 Reasons You Should Stop Working on Your College Essay Now

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let your college essay go

This one goes out to all the perfectionists in the room.

The screen glows bright on your laptop tonight

Eighty post-its to be seen

Your kingdom of applications

And you’re craving more caffeine

Your drafts are rising like a global warming tide

Couldn’t help yourself, here’s draft eighty five

Don’t write that there, don’t use that word

Edit every sentence or get deferred

Cut, paste, erase, with all your time

Well now it’s time!

Let it go, let it go!

Can’t rewrite it anymore!

Let it go, let it go!

Hit submit or you’re done for!

We don’t care what you’re going to say!

Put the red pen down!

January is almost here, anyway.

And if you need help letting go, we made you a guide:

1. Trust yourself.

If you’ve spent all this time writing, if you’ve gone through freewrites and drafts, you have probably squeezed every last ounce of story out of yourself. You are the expert in you, so take a deep breath and believe that you have written everything you needed to write.

2. Stop asking for advice.

We are (obviously) ALL FOR soliciting a second opinion. The problem is when a second opinion turns into a fifth or tenth opinion. Too much advice can confuse you and muddy your original idea. Reduce the noise of outside advice and stop second guessing yourself.

3. Over-editing is real!

Imagine your essay is a painting. You notice a little black dot in the corner that shouldn’t be there, so you rub it off with your cloth. Then you notice that in rubbing out the dot, you’ve slightly smudged a flower that you really liked, so you try to redo the part you messed up. Only, the thing is, there was still a little bit of black left, so now the flower looks gray… you get the idea. And that’s how you end up with Ecce Homo. Stop while you’re ahead.

4. Technology is not infallible.

Believe it or not, sometimes the Common App crashes. There can be glitches and bugs when you least expect them, and they become increasingly likely as the deadline approaches and the Common App is flooded with activity. Give yourself a time buffer in case anything goes wrong.

5. Perfect is the enemy of done.

We know. This is a big deal. You edit because you care, but in nerve-wracking situations, we tend to feel especially critical towards ourselves. Chances are, every time you look at your essay, you will find something to change. You could keep doing this forever, but then you’ll miss the deadline. So go easy on yourself and let it go! You’ve earned it.


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