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COLLEGE ESSAY Brainstorming: 5 Ways to Jumpstart Your College Application Essay Process

hey guys are you wondering what in the world should I write my college essay about or are you just having trouble figuring out how to approach your essay in general and need a little bit of mind inspiration if so this video is for you before we get started though if you happen to be prepping for the AC T or the SCT I definitely recommend that you go check out super tutor tv.com we’re going to be releasing the best SAT prep course ever it’s a video prep course with over 50 hours of video tutoring with me and that’s going to drop in September we already have the best AC t– prep course ever released it’s over 70 hours of video tutoring you can go buy it right now if you’re prepping for the AC T so go check that out it’s an awesome way to up your score let’s get into this video my first tip for you guys is to read other essays that worked one of the things that I think students struggle with is like you’ve never had an assignment at school before that’s like alright a college essay you’ve had write of literature now let’s just essay maybe maybe you’ve had write a book report but you never had write a college essay so some of you are probably sitting there and going what the heck am I supposed to do anyway and if that’s you one of the best places to start is to read a few examples of essays that work so where do you get these other essays well if you go to our blog that it was associated with this video that blog can be found at super tutor tv.com you can go and read our list of some websites and some web links that have links to real essays written by real students that worked in addition to finding them on websites you can also find books that contain a compilation of college essays so in terms of books that you can get on college essays there’s one that’s like 50 successful Harvard application essays there’s another one that’s like 50 successful stanford application essays there’s another one that’s like 50 successful Ivy League essays like variation on a theme right and then there’s another one that’s called like 100 successful college essays like really original titles here people in any case I will put links to some of these books in our comment section below as well as in our blog post if you want all this information our blog post is really the best place to go and then finally the last place that you can get example essays is from people you know so if you have a brother or sister or a cousin or a friend or even a guidance counselor who has a repository of essays that worked from students from previous years at your high school you can maybe get essays from those sources read over them and see what other people did and then there’s one more category that I like to add in in addition to just getting college essays another type of essay that I often recommend that my students check out isn’t a college essay at all it’s called an op-ed in every major newspaper in the United States there are articles every week that are personal opinion articles these are sometimes called op eds sometimes they are the opinion column of a newspaper but regardless of what you call it these essays are personal stories that intersect with ideas and concepts and values that affect all of us I find them really good templates for college essays because they’re a way that humans on an individual scale talk about what matters to them they talk about their personal stories and then they talk about them in a way that helps create some broader point some lesson learned or some bigger narrative that we all can share in and learn from so that’s another kind of article that you could check out or read if you’re writing a college essay so as you approach these essays it is not your job to plagiarize them and copy them word for word or just redact out all of the specifics and then write in your own information that’s not how to write a college essay what I want you guys to do instead is try to analyze these essays and figure out why they worked and figure out how you can create strategies to achieve those same kind of positive results okay what that means is ask yourself what strategies are they using and do those strategies work effectively or not what kind of topics are they reading about and do those topics work well are those topics that you resonate with or that you might be able to come up with or are they something that maybe isn’t in your wheelhouse next what’s the overall structure of the essay how do they start off the essay do they start with a story and then get into the ideas do they start straight off with the ideas and then get into the story how do they structure those essays and how could you then use those structural cues as templates for your own writing or as like a suggestion for how you put your structure together let’s look at number two so my second tip is to compile all your props whenever I get students working on their college essays one of the first things that I tell them to do if they haven’t already done it is to make one giant document and throw all of the prompts for all of the schools that you’re applying to into one place after you do that then start to read through every essay topic and brainstorm from there I think one mistake that a lot of students make is they assume they have to rate the common application as a first and so they start off with all the common app prompts and they stare at them and they have no idea what to write and they feel totally intimidated and can’t even type a letter if that’s you look at some other prompts it might actually be easier to start with a supplemental essay because it’s asking more down-to-earth questions and once you warm up writing sometimes that’s a good way to just get started and to get your brainstorming going the other thing that happens with a lot of my students is that they end up developing out an essay that started as some other essay into their common application essay just remember that writing is rewriting and that means oftentimes if you can just get yourself writing over here in this corner you can often then turn that into a response for something over here or grow that idea all right let’s talk about tip number three and that is write down your life story if you are really stuck and can’t brainstorm anything and have no idea what to write about sometimes if you just sit down no pressure no prompt and just write down your life story that will at least put some clay on the tables so you can start to think about what you’ve experienced and how that experience might reflect who you are what you believe etc etc that exercise is not meant to be the essay itself it’s just an exercise to try to get you thinking about what’s happened to you and what kind of ideas you might be able to write about number four start with a list about you so sometimes it’s really hard to come up with the exact topic for your essay but it might be easier to come up with a list of all the things about you that are awesome that you want colleges to know about you this could be everything from when your sense of humor is to the fact that you’re really good at thinking creatively it might also be that you think your mom is super awesome and you respect her and you think she is such a great role model and you want to talk about her maybe you’re a great violinist or you love chemistry or you’re a twin whatever it is that you want colleges to know about you or that you think makes up your specialness or sets you apart make a list of all those ideas and then what you do after you’ve compiled this list of all the wonderful things that you want colleges to know about you you start to think through how can I tell a story that reveals these traits and finally number five is just right I know sometimes you guys sit around and you’re trying to make a little list of like what to write about in your college essay and that’s all fine and dandy but if you find that that list is going nowhere sometimes the best thing you can do is just read the question and start typing I realized that some of you are afraid that in doing so you will just start typing a bunch of marshmallow mush all over your page but what I’m here to tell you is that it’s okay to sometimes be typing marshmallow mush page after page because if you just sit down and force yourself to write you’re putting yourself in an engaged position to actually think of ideas sometimes it’s the process of writing itself that starts to open up our mind and starts to open up our ideas until we actually start to write we can’t necessarily come up with our best thoughts so if you’re stuck stuck stuck my best advice is start writing write an answer for every essay prompt in that giant document that you had just start with one essay write five different common app essays write write every prompt if you don’t know which one to write about but just write write write and I promise at some point you will see a little glimmer of hope you will find a little glimmer of something interesting a little tiny seedling from your minds marshmallow mush that you can water and you can grow and you can turn into something worth reading about I hope you guys enjoyed this video good luck writing thanks so much for watching we’ve got lots more videos and college essays so feel free to hang out for awhile if you’re not quite ready to type yet and I’ll see you guys later bye

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