How to Make Your College Application Essay the Best Writing You’ve Ever Done (#5 of 25)

Everyone going to college already knows the fifth way to make their college application essay the best writing they’ve ever done. Yet, too often, aspects of this step are overlooked.

#5. Brainstorm, Freewrite, Outline, Draft, Revise, Polish

This are the basic rules of good writing and must be applied scrupulously to your essays.


I have posted blogs about brainstorming in the past, it could be helpful to check my archives and read them. In a nutshell, however, brainstorming means letting your mind roam free in a spontaneous manner, within the parameters of the specific subject you’re exploring. People do this in different ways – tossing ideas with a friend or into a tape recorder, typing on their computer or writing longhand, lying on their bed with the lights out, listening to music, taking a hike, riding their bike on a tree-lined country road – and I encourage you to find one that works well for you. The key here is to relax and let ideas emerge.


Once you’ve brainstormed, write down your ideas as quickly as possible, anything that occurs to you in any form – sentences, fragments, bold headings, flowery descriptions. Don’t worry about grammar or organization or anything else. Keep writing until you’ve exhausted what is currently in your head. Then put it away without rereading. Read again the next day and write some more. Ideally, this process will not only get your writing muscles warmed up, it will also stimulate more ideas.