Congratulations- you finished your essays! All things considered, the hardest part of this whole process is over because your words are on the page (or on the computer…). Before you get ready to click submit, the English major in me wants to give you some advice on how to fine-tune your essays so you can put forward the best application possible.
Step 1: Put your essays away for a few days!
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from my high school English teacher was to spend a few days away from your writing. This allows you to clear your head, gain some perspective and later approach the writing with a fresh set of eyes. When I am writing (or editing) the same document for a really long time, I accidentally start to memorize the words on the page. By taking a step back for a few days, you can completely prevent this from happening and be able to see your writing in a new light. Looking at your essay after putting it away for a few days will closely mimic how the admissions officer reading your essay is going to see it- excited to dive into something new. (And, not to sound like your parents, but this is why it’s important to write your essays more than 12 hours before the deadline).
Step 2: Have someone read the essays who does not know you very well.
While it is possible that your parents and maybe your guidance counselor has looked over your essays, it is a good idea to have someone less close to you (like a friend’s parent or a teacher you had in elementary school) read over your essays as well. Ask this very nice person to describe the personality that came through in the writing. If they can describe exactly who you are, you have done a good job- clearly, your voice is a part of this essay. If they describe someone different from who you are, or can’t describe anyone at all, it probably means that you need to take another stab at it so your voice is there. It is not possible for our admissions team to meet everyone in the office, so we are learning everything we know about you from your writing. By asking this person what they learned about you from your writing, you can get an idea of what the admissions officer will learn.
Step 3: Print the essays out and read them out loud
This is something my dad taught me. And while I hate to admit that he is right, he is definitely on to something. Printing an essay out and reading it aloud helps you catch the little details- like if you put an extra “and” or “the”. More importantly though, doing this ensures that the essay is written in authentically your voice. If it sounds awkward when you are reading it aloud, it might be a good idea to rework it.
Step 4: Hit submit and (try) not to think about it
Once you hit submit, you are done! And while it might be hard to forget about your application, that is the best thing you can do. At this point, your job is over and mine is just beginning. The rest of the admissions officers and I are SO excited to (virtually) meet you- not just the student you, but the you who is changing your community for the better and will make a great classmate and roommate on our campus.