As students begin the daunting task (for some) of writing tightly worded, critically important essay for each college’s prompts one can almost feel the air being sucked out of the room. Is there anything that can help with this yearly task that sends our teens into panic mode even before the 1stdraft? Well there are a number of things that you can do to help your teen weeks or even days before they first sit down to write.

First help them understand that it is a process, that chances are it will not be one and done. Great writing is not accomplished without multiple drafts.

Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do?
Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.
Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
Hemingway: Getting the words right.

Ernest HemingwayThe Paris Review Interview, 1956

If your teen visited the college’s campus about which s/he is writing, remind them to review the notes and photos they took while on campus.

That Student Meetup

Encourage your teen to revisit their trip by remembering what stood out. Maybe it was the meeting with a current student at the campus coffee shop. Perhaps it was the set up of the science lab with its shiny Bunsen burners. Was there something on the walking tour that stood out, or something the tour guide said about their reasons for choosing that school? A specific course taught by a professor they met or that they audited? These memories should kick start the process. If not or they didn’t get the opportunity to visit a specific college’s campus now would be a good time to strap-on a Google Cardboard Virtual Reality headset and spend some time virtually visiting the school. Go to Google and search for the schools app. Most schools have one.

Visit a local College Campus

Another suggestion would be to go visit a local college campus. Just being on a college campus can do wonders to put your student in the right frame of mind to write their essay.

As Founder of Custom College Visits I’ll admit to being pro-visits for college bound teens. But it’s not just me. There have been numerous research studies where high school and college students have been asked to rank the factors that influenced their college choice. Visiting a college’s campus almost always ranks as the top influencer.

So whether you visit colleges local to your community or halfway around the world as many of our clients who have come to the US to visit have done, please understand that campus visits can be incredibly helpful to your student in so many ways.


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