You may wonder what a post about college application essays is doing on a poetry site. College applications belong to the icky world of GPA’s, ACT’s, SAT’s, and all those other abbreviated sources of stress, right? This is a place for creativity and inspiration!
As a poet with over fifteen years’ experience teaching high schoolers how to write application essays for the schools of their dreams, I can tell you that poetry and personal statements aren’t too far off.
Both tell a story. Both come from the heart. Both abound with sensory language. Both can be written only by the author and no one else.
Or at least that’s how it should be.
I’ve talked to so many students and parents over the years who believe that the college application essay is just another form among the dizzying pile of paperwork (or digital files) that must be filled out, submitted, and quantified.
But the application essay? That’s the time to shine. To be you. To—and get ready for this—have fun.
Here at Tweetspeak, I’ll be exploring what the college application essay is all about. Why must students write them? What kind of writing is it? When and how should you start? What can you learn about writing–and yourself–through this milestone process?
Meanwhile, the best way to prepare as a college-bound student—or a teacher of one—is to get a taste for excellent short-form autobiographical writing (often called “flash” nonfiction or “shorts”). The writers represented in the essay collections noted below explore, and make meaning from, specific memories and experiences, the bedrock of college application essays.
So read. Devour and savor. Imagine the settings, voices, actions, and people. Go where the writers take your senses. “Feel all the feels” of the narrators as you prepare to express yourself in a way that will make schools want to nab you. What will make them want to get to know you better over the next four years?
How to Write a College Application Essay: The Inspiration
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland