Writing college essays is hard. Even the process of writing the first word can be painstaking. You have to search deep into your soul and think about your life experiences that can inspire you to write an engaging essay. It’s not something you do on a regular basis.
Your school likely never prepared you to answer questions like, “When has a belief or idea challenged you?” or “What lessons or obstacles became key to your success?” When it comes to college essays, you’re thrown in the deep end, and you’re expected to swim.
Fortunately, Transizion is here to help you not only with your college essays, but you’re entire high school journey as you prepare for college. We’ve come up with some ideas to gamify how you write your college essay to spark that creativity you need to write a great college essay, and to have fun while you’re writing it!
1. Clear your mind
One of the biggest challenges we hear from students is that after writing for some time, they get stuck with writer’s block. Oftentimes, this is due to the stress of writing a good college essay or just exhaustion.
Fortunately there is a simple solution – take a break! Try the pomodoro technique, where you set regular intervals to take a break. For example, after every 40 minutes of writing, you can take a 10-15 minute break to recharge.
During that break, playing a fun game is a great way to clear your mind. We suggest quick games like solitaire, where you won’t get addicted and can recharge to get back to work.
2. Write a song
That might sound crazy at first, but reflect on the question and what life experiences it might be relevant to. Start singing about them. When it comes to writing college essays, you have to open up, and singing is a great way to get past inhibitions.
If you’re self-conscious about singing, find a quiet space where no one can hear you. It’s important that you feel comfortable so that your ideas can flow.
And if singing doesn’t work for you, try rhyming or rapping about what your responses might be for the college essay. Our creative instincts work in different ways.
Should you end up writing a great song, even consider it as your actual essay (check with a Transizion advisor first). It may separate you from the pack.
3. Freewheel it
Similar to song writing, try writing whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar, vocabulary, or sentence structure. Those are all distractions. Get your main ideas out on paper. They don’t have to flow at all.
Once you’re done freely expressing yourself, review what you wrote. You’ll hopefully find that there are some core ideas there with some real meat. At this point, you can begin to formalize your essay around those ideas.
To have some real fun, set a stopwatch for 20 minutes and try writing 300 words. You’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of. Rinse and repeat if this works well for you.
4. See the world through analogies
Oftentimes the little things around us can be truly inspirational. Look around the room for everyday objects, and see how you can tie that to your college essay question.
For example, if you have a trophy in your room from when you used to play baseball, how could that potentially relate to obstacles you encountered and the lessons you learned from it.
Perhaps you’re walking up stairs. What’s something where step-by-step you overcame an obstacle? Maybe it represents the steps you took to become a great guitar player.
Or let’s take something as mundane as a window. Perhaps it relates to the one time your friend introduced you to debate, where you found a new passion because that window of opportunity just happened to open to you.
You get the point. Challenge yourself to see how your life relates to the everyday objects around you. See how creative you can get, and use that to inspire a great essay!
Try some of these ideas, and you might find that writing a college essay isn’t a drag. In fact, you might find it to be quite enjoyable!