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Why You Should Start Your College Essay Junior Year

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It feels like it’s too early to start. Should you really take time out of your schedule to start writing your college essay? Yes! In a way. We agree that it’s a little early to begin the writing process in earnest, but you can never get enough of a head start on brainstorming how you want to present yourself to admissions. What topic might best showcase your strengths, motivations and/or values in 650 words? If you don’t know (as so many of us don’t offhand!) it is time to start thinking about it. You will thank yourself when you’re getting a good night’s sleep in September and all of your friends are frantically trying to balance school, activities, sports, work, a social life, and college applications. Good ideas take time to rise to the surface and meaningful essays are often best constructed over the course of a few weeks or months — not in a mad dash to the finish line. Just ask Ludacris.     

How much time? It depends on how many schools you’re hoping to apply to next Fall, but even if you’re only applying to a few – chances are you will need to pull together some basic personal information, a transcript, multiple teacher recommendations, test scores, and yes, a college essay.

In fact, you will likely need to write many college essays if you include the school-specific supplements that have become so pervasive in the past few years. Some schools require as many as five supplemental essays from students and ask question ranging from “Why this school?” to “What’s your favorite word and why?” While many of these supplements can be recycled from application to application, the sheer volume of assignments makes it highly advantageous to start the essay writing process as early as possible.
We know it’s a lot! And we don’t want you to be unnecessarily overwhelmed. Which is why we have guides designed to help you choose an essay topic, YouTube videos to help you along the way, and our on-demand course, College Essay Academy to help you write your essay on your own time! As experts who are regularly up to our eyeballs in essays in the fall, trust us. At the very least, start with the personal statement — required in some form for almost every school — and get some topic ideas down on paper. Make a list of potential topics and free-write notes on anything that you think might make for valuable essay fodder over the next few months. Sitting down to a page full of ideas versus an empty document will make it much easier for you to dive into the writing process when you are ready. Write now, thank us later.

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