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The 4-1-1 on Practice Essays (Plus Three Other Tips for Success)

Somehow, this summer went from mid-June to mid-August in the blink of an eye. And while you may now be prepping for the upcoming school year, it’s important to stay focused on your college application goals, too.

Wondering what you can do this summer for a smoother application process this fall? Get started with these four action items — and as always, let us know how we can help you achieve your dreams.

Make a list of your accomplishments

With school, extracurriculars, family, and work commitments pulling you in competing directions, the next few months are going to fill up quickly. To stay on track and ensure your goals don’t fall by the wayside, take a moment to make a list of everything you’ve accomplished in your college application journey so far.

It might sound simple, but making a list can keep you focused and motivated — and serve as a great reminder to get your essays written and edited before application deadlines roll in.

Download Common App

We’re big fans of Common App: Its network of more than 900 colleges and universities and the support services it provides (including financial aid, scholarships, and college counseling resources) help reduce some of the stress during this season of life. Make sure you’re ready to submit your applications by downloading Common App from the App Store or the Google Play Store and creating a free account.

(Psst…Want to learn more about getting ready for Common App? Check out this blog post.)

Key in on your key messages

The hardest part about writing essays can be just getting started. That’s where we come in!

Our process begins with identifying key messages — basically, all the things that make you, well, you. Download our Key Messages Worksheet; not only is it free, but it will also help you make sense of how your academics, work/volunteer experience, and family background can play a role in crafting authentic and engaging essays.

Participate in our ‘Ready, Set, Write’ series

We’ll admit that practice essays are not the most Instagram-worthy part of your summer, but they are important. Aside from helping you organize your thoughts, practice essays can also boost your skills and confidence as a writer. When you have a clear direction and the experience to back it up, you’ll stand out from the crowd with college application essays that hit the mark.

There is still plenty of time left this summer to get some writing practice in. During the next three weeks, we’ll share essay prompts on Instagram and Facebook as part of our “Ready, Set, Write” series. Try your hand at writing a 300-500 word essay for each weekly prompt, keeping in mind to edit and ask others for feedback along the way.

Remember: Putting in the work now will pay off later. Happy writing!

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