Fiona's Blog: How Blogging Prepared Me to Write a College Admissions Essay
After embarking on my college essays this month, I discovered two pleasant surprises. First, blogging has been better preparation for this process than any English class I’ve taken. Second, writing college essays isn’t that bad…in fact, I think (drum roll please) it might even be fun.
I’ve long heard my older friends complain about the horrors of college essays. There are so many! The prompts are too vague! The prompts are too specific! The word limits are too short! Too long! And now, after an arduous three years of high school, it’s finally that wonderful college-essay-ish time of the year for me.
For those of you who live under a rock or who have just somehow been blessed enough to escape hearing much about the college process, most colleges in the U.S. require several writing pieces in addition to their main application. Colleges will often provide prompts to get you thinking and help them learn a little more about you. These prompts range from “What’s your favorite book?” to “What has been your most embarrassing experience and why?”
My reaction, along with most teenagers, when I first started hearing about the essays was a mixture of dread and anger. Not only did I want to demand an explanation for why I should share my most sensitive embarrassing moments with an admissions committee that may or may not reject me (trust me, I’ve had some really embarrassing moments), I was unsure that I’d be able to dig deep enough to remember the significant moments they were looking for (let alone have experienced moments significant enough).
But here I am saying I’m enjoying it, so you’re probably wondering how I got to this point.
A few seconds after I got over my dread and anger, I realized I’d asked myself those same questions the first time I blogged. I’d also wondered, what if no one cares? and what if people laugh at me? Blogging taught me that even experiences that seem embarrassing in the moment are often funny and enlightening in retrospect. Blogging has also taught me that my thoughts and experiences are valid, and that I shouldn’t worry about some slim portion of my readers thinking otherwise.
Finally, I learned from blogging that it’s not the moment, but the way you describe it, and the feeling it left you with. If you can manage to describe this feeling so that your reader feels it as well, and maybe make them laugh along the way, your story could be as insignificant as that time you tripped over your untied shoelace (idea for next week’s blog?).
After I was able to ditch the dread and the anger, I was able to look at the positive. Blogging for the past three years has been one of my most valuable high school experiences. In addition to making me more confident about the quality of my writing, it has made me more confident about myself in general and allowed me to examine parts of myself I didn’t even know existed. Prompts like, “What’s your most embarrassing moment?” may seem intimidating at first, but racking your brain for that moment and writing about the way it made you feel can often make you realize the hilarity of it. Writing about your favorite book can make you want to go back and read it again!
Finally, writing about yourself is surprisingly difficult for us teenagers, who, I know, I know, come off as so egotistical and all that. Blogging and writing college essays has made me feel more confident about myself as a person. Instead of worrying about sharing my most sensitive experiences with a panel of people who may or may not reject me, after writing my college essays I feel more ready for those decisions come the spring. Take me or leave me, I put myself out there, and I have no regrets.
Fiona Lowenstein is a rising high school senior, weekly guest blogger, and Girls Leadership Institute alumna. Read more of her work here.