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Summertime = Essaytime

Internships, jobs, camp, test prep courses, a few trips to the beach or mountains… and essay writing! Yes, summer vacation is on its way. Juniors, this is the perfect time to begin drafting college admission essays. Preparing your essays now will help you substantially in the fall when admissions crunch time comes. How can you best utilize time in the summer to write college essays? Here are a few tips:

1. Give yourself a short break

Seems like a simple idea – to rest during vacation. But sometimes it’s hard to sit back and take a break when you know there is a surfeit of work to complete. Give your brain and energy time to rejuvenate after an arduous year. Allot a certain amount of time to rest after spring semester. When the rest period is up, you can begin work – and you’ll have more energy to put into it.

2. Use the entire writing process

Putting a pencil to paper, or fingers to a keyboard, is part of the end of the writing process. Even for simple writing assignments, you can begin clicking out phrases only after considering different ideas, ruminating, and planning. For your college essay, spend time in the foundation part of the writing process. Brainstorm, question yourself, jot down quick phrases and ideas. Spend time thinking and putting ideas together before you sit down to write. Don’t worry about paragraph order or specific sentences in the beginning. Let ideas emerge naturally.

3. Cultivate ideas – read good books

It’s true: we are what we eat. Set your standards high and feed your brain with good books, articles, and literature. Almost any genre will do, if well written. If you read only models of essays, you risk mimicking them instead of creating your own. There are general structures to follow, but you want your ideas to stand out. Reading well written material with intricate descriptions, a clear voice, and interesting storylines will help you with your own writing.

4. Keep it to yourself

Use the summer as your own writing time. Remember – this is your essay. The essay is a unique part of your college application where you can come through with a voice and personality. Wait until the fall to have a friend or teacher look it over. There will be plenty of time to edit, especially if you start the writing process now.

Best of luck. Happy writing!


This post is titled, “Summertime = Essaytime.” It was written by Marta Casey, a writer on Top Test Prep’s admissions counseling team.

To learn more about Top Test Prep’s programs, call (800) 501 – Prep.

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