Seniors, or soon to be seniors... Now is the time to start working on college application essays.
College essays take time. You will need to craft a compelling story and get feedback from parents, teachers, or a college counselor. These essays may be the difference between acceptance and rejection. Treat them accordingly and make sure you give yourself enough time to make them great. Like any project or essay, procrastination shows and does not leave you as many opportunities for improvement.
The first step for this process is to create an account with the Common App at www.commonapp.org (includes schools like Harvard and Stanford) and with any other schools that have their own proprietary applications (e.g. UCLA). Create a spreadsheet with all of the prompts that you will have to answer and look for common questions that will enable you to write as few essays as possible. Each essay needs to demonstrate your perspective and ability to add value to a college. The less essays you have to write, the more time you can spend ensuring that each essay supports your application theme.
As a college admissions advisor, I often hear from parents and students about their stress when applying to college. The best way to overcome this stress is to make progress each week on the applications and start early. November and December will be here before we know it. To the extent that you can make progress on the essays before the school year is in full swing, the better. School gets hectic for everyone... For seniors who will take the SAT/ACT in the fall, prioritize the tests over the essays for the time being. Test prep is key for obtaining a competitive score for the colleges you would like to attend.