Writing The College Application Essay – Four Mind Sets to Avoid

For most high school seniors, writing your college application essay is a difficult, if ultimately rewarding, process. To make sure that you don’t make that process even harder, here are four mind-sets that should be avoided at all costs.

1. Fear
Writing the application essay can be intimidating. But what we all know about handling the high school bully also applies to the essay. Fear can be paralyzing and destructive and will only make matters worse. So, face the challenge head on, be confident, work as hard as you can, get all the help you need, and trust that the essay will turn out well.

2. Inflexibility
Having the strength of one’s convictions is definitely a positive trait. Yet when self-assurance becomes inflexibility, that attitude can work against you. As much as you love your essay, be careful that you don’t become stubborn or uncompromising about making changes. If ten people tell you that your ending still needs work, it probably does.

3. Over Confidence
I have read many essays that start out well, then meander all over the place, trying to figure out where they’re going. This usually indicates a certain willingness to wing it, an “Hey, I’ve got a great idea, I’m going to roll with it,” over confidence. To avoid this trap, don’t start writing your essay until you’ve fully developed your concept and outlined it from start to finish.

4. Anxiety
On the other side of over confidence is anxiety, usually manifested by obsessing on every word, phrase, sentence, what you wrote, could’ve written, didn’t write, should’ve written and so on. This worrisome second guessing can often lead to making arbitrary, unnecessary or even damaging changes to your essay. Instead, discipline yourself to recognize when the essay is completed and feel good about a job well done.
These mind states will sometimes sneak up on you before you realize it. But now that you’re aware of them, you can spot them coming, stop them in their tracks, and write the best essay you can possibly write.

For more personal help with the college application essay, please call Craig Heller directly at 818-340-1276.

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