How to Write a College Essay (Step 1: Don’t) by Charlie Espy

College essays. When I started, they were the worst thing I could possibly imagine. My junior year English teacher started the process with a packet of papers that was so thick that it could have been used to commit a violent crime. We had the distinct pleasure of writing one college essay per quarter, and right off the bat I thought I had an amazing idea. Except I hit one small bump: I am incapable of talking about myself. I wrote my first one about my struggles in my rowing career; losing our biggest race and then learning how to work hard. I got that essay back with the comment that it was a cliché and anyone could write it. There goes my grand idea of a good idea. From there I struggled to revise my essay until it was just passable enough to get a good grade. And then came the next ones. When I look back on my first three college essays, I remark that they are total garbage. Nothing about them gives the reader a good impression of who I am. But then I had an amazing idea. What if I could write about myself without actually writing about myself? One of the sample essays we discussed in class was about a prospective student’s book shelf. It talked all about the books, and how each shelf represented a different period of their life. I thought that that was brilliant, I can’t talk about myself at all, but I can talk about my surroundings. My last and best college essay was the only one that actually shows the reader who I am. In my essay, I talk about my desk, what all of the stuff on it is, and how that all shows who I am. I had cracked the college essay enigma. I managed to talk about myself without actually talking about myself. That essay I wrote fourth quarter of junior year is the essay that I am now going to use to try to get into college. But I still have one little problem. I have 4 beautiful paragraphs all about myself, but no conclusion. I can’t think of a good conclusion for the life of me. My application is due on November 15th, and I haven’t finished the most important part of it. And here I am at the end of my blog post and I don’t have a conclusion for this either. So I’m just going to end it with this: my next post will be the conclusion of this one and I’ll tell you all about the conclusion of my college essay. 

By: Charlie Espy 

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