August 6th, 2013

First draft of my Common App essay…. Check! Finished it last night and feel really terrible about it, which is supposedly a good thing. Ms. Gaetano (AP English like I could ever forget) always said that whenever a student told her he thought he did a great job on a paper it turned out to be awful. The students who weren’t sure… solid A’s. Without fail! So I guess a little insecurity is part of the process. And I’ve got plenty of that.

My plan now – yes I always have one – is to let this draft “cook” for two days. Stay away from it, try not to think about it. That way, when I read it again, I’ll be able to see if it’s working or most likely, where it isn’t working, and fix it.

Meanwhile… finished the spread sheet on the schools I’m applying to and their essay requirements. A lot of the supplemental prompts are similar (Why Duke/Michigan/Wherever?) so I’m deciding where I can re-use some of the essays. I wouldn’t call that cheating because I can’t imagine anyone would mind, and anyway, how would they know? Plus I already figured out that the trick to making it work is to take out any words that relate specifically to one prompt and substitute words from the new prompt. That way the essay will always feel like it was written for that school. Everyone likes to feel they’re special, even if they’re a college with 40,000 students.

August 8th, 2013

There are certain words I never use and one of them is s**ks. I just think that people can find a better way to express themselves. But if I had to come up with one word to describe my essay after letting it “cook” for two days, well, I might be tempted this one time.

It was a disaster! I settled down in my room after dinner to read my essay. I had a nice bowl of grapes (how people can eat Hot Cheetos I have no idea. Don’t they feel the burning?) for snackage, was excited and yes, even confident. Then I started reading and everything seemed so phony and boring. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Some things were okay, even good. But you know me, I have a high standard. I was going to work on it tonight but the camp bus comes at 7 AM and tomorrow is “Paint Your Birth Sign on a Rock Day” and I have to be sharp. So I will plunge (good word, maybe I can work it into the essay) back in tomorrow. Or over the weekend. No, tomorrow.

For personal help with the college admissions essay, please contact Craig Heller at 818-340-1276 or [email protected].

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