The early application deadlines for colleges across the country have just passed. On November 1st, seniors from every high school in the United States submitted applications to their schools of choice.
In these college applications, the students are required to submit their transcripts, standardized testing scores and essays on various topics. To normalize the application process, many colleges, from Harvey Mudd to Woodbury, accept a set of essay prompts known as the ‘common application.’ This year, there are seven different prompts, each with a word limit of 650 words. In order to stand out among the sea of applicants, students try to give a unique point of view without going over the word limit.
Describing a common issue in responding to these prompts, senior Bailey Robinson Burmester said, “I had some serious writer’s block with the common app personal statement and then overshot the word count by over 1000 words. It was really painful to cut all those words.”
It is recommended that when writing an application, anyone should be able to pick it up on the streets, read your essays, and understand who you are. Through these personal statements and essay prompts, these students try and paint a picture of who they are.
While many schools exclusively use the common app, some schools also require additional information. Colleges such as Stanford require two essays, three short essays, and seven short response questions in addition to the personal statement and writing about extracurricular activities and leadership.
Some students apply to many schools, while others wait for the normal application deadline. Burmester applied to Stanford during early action applications, and is planning on applying to Harvard, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and the University of the Pacific for the normal admission. Senior Grace Range decided not to apply for any colleges in the early action period because she wanted to improve her essays before submission.
After experiencing the application process, the seniors have some advice for the juniors and sophomores. “Do not procrastinate. I know you hear this all the time, but really,” Burmester said. “Start writing as soon as you can access the essay questions. If you can finish, or at least make a good headway before school starts, you will experience a lot less stress in the beginning of your senior year.”
While it is important to work on your college apps and think about your future, it is also important to enjoy your senior year. “Senior year is your last year of high school,” Range said. “So make sure you make time for the people and things that matter.”
With the normal application deadline rapidly approaching, most seniors will continue to work on their essays to maximize their chances of getting into the college of their choice.