One of the hardest part of starting and finishing a college application is the essay. And one of the hardest parts of the college essay? Finding strong essay inspiration! Here are a few tips to get the creative juices flowing. Say goodbye to writer’s block!
1. Speed-read quotes
I often find that there is nothing more inspiring than reading quotes. And I’m not talking cliche, wall quotes but little snippets that tell a larger story. The best quotes are those that drive you to dig deeper or consider your life, and achievements, in a more thoughtful manner. Somewhere easy to start – go onto Goodreads and look up some of your favorite ( or interesting) books and then check out the quotes section which draws the most popular and memorable quotes from the book.
2. Read other essays
The best inspiration often comes from others. There’s a saying that a classic is a book that never stops speaking. And in similar ways, a great essay tells the reader about who the individual is without giving it all away. Remember: never ever try to copy another person’s style or story. If your voice doesn’t come through, it will be painfully obvious to the reader who has already slogged through thousands of essays. The point here is to draw some life from other’s perspectives, frames, and story telling devices. Ask an Empowerly college essay counselor for some helpful essay references.
3. Read a book
A great book might have nothing to do with your essay, life, or college admission but it can get you inspired to tackle your own college admissions essay. It can help you think about narrow verticals of your life in the most interesting and unanticipated ways. Plus, it’s way better to procrastinate with a book than Netflix!
4. Map out your story/ life
Your college essays are often slices of your life but in order to know what slice to explore, sometimes it helps to take a step back and map out your life and story. Think of yourself as a character in a book – what’s your story? Your narrative? How did you get to where you are – meaning what important steps and events led you here – and where do hope to go?
Great essays inform the reader who you are, without having to rehash your entire resume, and leave them with the breath/whisper of promise. If you’re more of a visual person, mapping out your life can be helpful. Start with all the memorable events and activities in your life and then fill in more trivial details between. You might even find yourself remembering things you had completely forgotten that add more depth and substance to your “story”.
Good luck writing! These tips will help you find essay inspiration, even if you’re stuck at the start.