Why Summer is the Perfect Time to Write Your College Essay
Your college essay is an important part of your application. It’s what shows colleges your personality and who you are.
While you may want to relax over the summer before your senior year of high school, it’s also a great time to get started on your college essay. Read on to find out why.
During the summer, you don’t have classes, tests, or homework to deal with. You also have fewer extracurriculars (though you should be doing something meaningful), and no school during the day, unless of course you’re taking college classes.
You might think you don’t have anything to write about in your essays. But now that you have fewer distractions, you can work on developing ideas. Check out What If I Don’t Have Anything Interesting To Write About In My College Essay? for some ideas to get you started—from asking yourself questions about important issues to using powerful rhetoric to express yourself.
When fall semester rolls around, you’ll be extremely busy. You’ll need to balance apps, classes, and extracurriculars. (For tips for staying organized—and maintaining your sanity—when senior year starts, check out Eight Tips to Use Your Time Efficiently and Stay Organized in High School.)
But now, you’re not nearly as stressed. “Not stressed” is an ideal condition under which to be writing your essay. You can take your time to thoroughly develop your topic, starting with a brainstorming session to generate ideas, narrowing down your list, and thinking over ways to express your idea thoughtfully. Remember: How you say it is even more important than what you say, so spend some time working on your rhetoric to best convey your experience.
Take the time to work on your college essay while you don’t have these other commitments. You also won’t have to feel rushed.
Use the summer to go on college tours and narrow down your list—then you’ll know which essays you have to write. You’ll also have time to take notes after your visits and can incorporate them into “why us” essays.
Summer activities can also make great college essay topics. Whether you’re working at a job, volunteering at a tutoring center, interning at a local newspaper, or taking college classes, your summer activities likely taught you something about yourself and gave you a new perspective. Take the time to reflect on your experiences and think about what you might write about.
More Comfortable Environment
When you’re in school, you’re more or less stuck in one place. But during the summer, you can go wherever you want to work on your college essay—the library, your backyard, a park bench, or wherever you feel most comfortable. Use the environment to brainstorm and start crafting the essay itself.
Earlier, we said you’ll be busy when the school year arrives. To reiterate, you’re going to be very busy. You may feel like you don’t have time for everything on your plate.
Now, however, you have all the time in the world. Use it to come up with ideas, develop them, and bounce them off friends and family. Create at least one full draft of your essay, so you can show it to other people and get feedback. If you work on it now, you’ll have time to rework it later.
Summer is the ideal time to work on your college essay. Even if you don’t finish it, you’ll make major headway and free up time for working on other parts of your applications and school work. Now that you have time and less pressure, you’ll be able to get more done. So get to it!
For more ideas about use your summer wisely and crafting the perfect college essay, check out:
Looking for help with your college applications? Check out our College Application Guidance Program. When you sign up for our program, we carefully pair you with the perfect admissions specialist based on your current academic and extracurricular profile and the schools in which you’re interested. Your personal specialist will help you with branding, essays, and interviews, and provide you with support and guidance in all other aspects of the application process.
Want more college admissions tips?
We'll send you information to help you throughout the college admissions process.