Below is my interview with Victoria Payne of Boxcar Writing Labs. Victoria had some great insights on the essay process and I encourage you to watch all of it. Here are a few quick takeaways:

  • Time management is really important: Start as soon as you can. The Common App prompts are available in spring; most colleges have released their prompts by now. You can use the Common App and Coalition App to find essay requirements for your colleges but you should double-check with the schools to make sure you’re not missing anything.
  • How can parents be helpful? First, it’s important to understand purpose of essay. It’s not to brag; it’s to show who you are. Yes, it demonstrates student’s effort and professionalism, but isn’t expected to be perfect. The best way to help is usually to get out of your own way and give your student the opportunity to write for themselves. The only way the student can blow it is by not taking it seriously.
  • Are you going to write about the pandemic? Use it as your essay’s context, not its subject. For example, how has this changed you? What experiences have you had or not had and what kind of impact have those had on you.