How to Start Brainstorming For Your College Essays

Frances Cheng
Frances Cheng

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Summer is the perfect time to start writing your college essays because college application season is right around the corner! The Empowerly Team understands how difficult writer’s block is, so we listed out some concrete steps for you to get started, and how to craft the perfect essay!

1. Take time for introspection.

  • Create a list of your top 10 values (quality relationships, honesty, growth…)
  • Brainstorm your strengths and personality traits

2. Find inspiration.

  • Read quotes. Good ones will help you consider your life meaning and achievement in a thoughtful way.
  • Read other essays. Draw inspiration from others’ perspectives, frames, and storytelling devices.

3. Map out your story/life.

  • Start with all the memorable events and activities in your life and then fill in more trivial details between.

4. Just start writing and let your ideas flow.

  • Get them all down on paper. It’s okay if it comes out as a mind dump. You’ll edit it later!

5. Be honest.

  • Write about what’s true to you, not what you think admissions officers want to read.
  • Show that you are genuine in your writing.

6. Storytelling.

  • This writing style keeps readers engaged.
  • Use vivid imagery by appealing to visual senses.
  • Convey emotions to bring the reader into your shoes.

7. Avoid clichés.

  • Admissions officers will be reading hundreds, if not thousands, of college essays. Make sure yours stands out from the crowd, grabs their attention, and doesn’t use the same, tired clichés that they’ve probably read hundreds of times.

8. Support your claims with evidence.

  • Don’t just say you like science. Show it with evidence from science fairs, competitions, internships, and other extracurriculars. Admissions officers want to see that you have the ability to find and demonstrate your passion.

9. Read your essay out loud.

  • The end recipient is a human and reading it out loud can help you identify awkward sentences.
  • It’s important to have others read your college essay and provide feedback.
  • It’s also important to limit the number of people editing because you might lose your personal voice amidst many other opinions.

There you have it! I often find starting an essay, especially a college essay, to be the most difficult part. I hope these tips will ease the process and help you think of the college application process as an opportunity to just learn about yourself. If you want more personalized help, check out our services and set up a consultation to get started with Empowerly today.

Questions? Let us know!