Article by Edward Goodyear ’21:
August 1, 2020 marked the 45th yearly release of the Common Application. Used by colleges and universities throughout the nation and even internationally, the Common App is not a light undertaking for rising seniors to take on. One of the most daunting aspects of the Common Application is the 650-word personal essay.
When asked about the essay, Brendan Stanely ‘21 stated, “Entering senior year I was told that this was the most important essay I’d ever write; that it would decide what I did with the rest of my life. My parents and older family members all made sure to hammer down the fact that this was not something to be taken lightly.”
Most seniors view the essay in the same light and as such feel pressure and stress from such an undertaking. An added stress to this year’s application essay: COVID-19.
COVID-19 has not only kept kids out of school for months, but has changed the very way in which we live our lives. As such, it should come as no surprise that it has impacted the Common Application essay. Besides providing added stress to an application that already seems stressful, COVID may have also affected students’ time to write the essay.
As ironic as it may sound, COVID has led to the delay of numerous things and as Jack Creagh ‘21 put it, “COVID definitely made it harder for me to actually write the essay. Between studying for delayed SATs, to managing schoolwork, finding time to sit down and write the essay was not easy.
All these impediments appear to create an impossible challenge, but for those who will take on the Common App in the years to come, fear not. The essay is not as daunting of a task as it first appears, as students at Kellenberg are surrounded by a community of people who are pushing for their success. At Kellenberg, senior-year English teachers spearhead the written aspects of the application. Teachers don’t only act as guides, but give students personalized feedback on their essays. Another tool students have at their disposal is their college guidance counselor, who will help students from beginning to end with their application process eliminating some of the stress associated with collegiate selection.
Not only do you have the support of the teachers at Kellenberg, but you also have some tips from the Class of 2021. Before you start writing, Abigail Maronak ‘21 suggests, “Start brainstorming a while in advance – even if it just means taking notes on your phone. I didn’t start too early but having a good topic made it easier for me”. The most common tip of the Class of 2021 is to not try and cram the essay into one session. Take some time to focus on one aspect of the paper; stopping for breaks while writing will give you time to think about what you want to write about next.