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  • Genine Babakian

Don't Wallow this Summer: Write Your College Essay

Dear Incoming High School Seniors,

If you are like many of your peers, your summer plans have been canceled. Those coveted internships dried up. Resume building jobs – gone, along with summer travel. And the pickings are slim for those who just want to earn money for college.

But there is one thing you can do that will put you ahead of the game this fall: write your college essay.

To those who have already begun, I salute you. But for the procrastinators out there (and I was one, I assure you), this is your chance to turn lemons into lemonade. The downtime you now face doesn’t have to be a source of boredom. Let it also be an opportunity.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get that polished college essay out of the way before senior year (in some capacity) resumes in the fall? Besides, the writing can be fun.

Fun? Writing a college essay? Well, I may be biased, but I can assure you it is not all drudgery. This is nothing like every other essay you’ve written in high school. It is a chance to shine and tell your story. And who doesn’t like storytelling?

For those who have not settled on a topic, the brainstorming is my favorite part – trying to tease out the story that shows who you are, in 650 words or less. Watch this space for brainstorming tips in the coming weeks.

Here’s some good news: The Common App, through which many of you will be applying to colleges, has incorporated an optional question related to COVID-19’s impact.

Why is this good news? Because it gives you the space to talk about how your life has been affected by the corona virus without dedicating your personal statement to it. It’s hard to tell a unique story about yourself within the context of a global pandemic that is affecting literally everybody. Unless you have a very unique angle, I would choose another topic for your essay.

For those who are eager to get started, allow me to refer you to these previous posts, which offer tips on everything from choosing your topic to breaking free from writer’s block.

This is not the summer you had planned or looked forward to. But you can still make something of it. Just write. Write for ten minutes a day and see what you have after a week. Before you know it, you’ll have the building blocks you need to tell your story.

For more information on one-on-one college essay coaching, email me at, or check out

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