It's Common Application Week at College Admission. Starting tomorrow, we'll have commentary on the new essay prompts and word limits for the "Writing" section of the Common Application announced earlier this week, including guidance for how students can benefit from these changes. We'll be posting advice and insights from Common Application Director of Outreach Scott Anderson and Outreach Advisory Committee member Ralph Figueroa, Vice President for Enrollment at University of Connecticut Wayne Locust and more. And college advisor Alice Kleeman will be offering examples of possible topics that respond to each new prompt.
Mix one part approaching holidays with one part looming application deadlines and you may have a recipe for procrastination or full-on writer's block when it comes to writing your essays. But no worries, both are temporary conditions.
If you're in the throes of a case of writer's block, one of the ways to get “unstuck” and develop some good stuff you might be able to use for your essays is to actually take a detour and write about something else. This may seem counterintuitive, but responding to a different -- and slightly provocative -- question than the one you seek to answer in your application essay can help move things along. And doing so can also help you find the heart of things, so that what you say and how you say it can have more impact.