MY DEAR READER,
I have taken it upon myself to challenge a long-held, time-honored, fervent belief firmly entrenched in the minds of myself and generations of high school seniors untold. This belief has been passed down from collegiate hopeful to collegiate hopeful, an oral tradition stretching back to the Applicants of old. This historic adage reads more or less as follows:
“Man, college essays are hard!”
Dearest reader, the veracity of this dusty tenet remains largely unchallenged — thus, I myself shall endeavor to enlighten the hapless masses, to herald the dawn of a brave new world, to lift this unfounded burden from the backpack-laden shoulders of generations of high school seniors to come. I hereby present:
HOW TO WRITE A COLLEGE ESSAY
In Ten Easy Steps!
Step One: Research.
The Overwhelmed College Applicant (hereby referred to as the ‘Applicant’) should, ideally, have a vague idea of which Demanding Higher Level Institutions of Education (hereby referred to as ‘colleges’) s/he is interested in. The Applicant should carefully peruse the volumes of literature generously provided in order to ascertain which Essay Topic(s) have been predetermined by aforementioned colleges. Topics range from predictable to peculiar — be prepared for anything.
Step Two: Brainstorm.
Once a topic has been decided upon, the Applicant must alight upon a sufficiently interesting, vaguely self-congratulatory anecdote in response to said topic. In order to facilitate optimum creativity, I recommend setting aside a sizable chunk of time in total isolation. To reach the proper state of essay-writing Zen, this solitude must be uninterrupted by homework, family members, sports, work, fresh air, rehearsals, studying, social media, eating, damsels in distress, sleeping, or any other distractors. Once a suitable topic (such as ‘The Day We Won That Championship Game’ or ‘My Service Trip To That Impoverished Country’) has been chosen, the Applicant may proceed to Step Three.
Step Three: Procrastinate.
Now that the Applicant is no longer cloistered away, a bit of mental relief is necessary to avoid a full-on psychotic break and/or existential crisis. Let the cat pictures commence!
Step Four: Panic.
If this step does not come naturally to the Applicant, a quick peek at the rapidly approaching deadline should suffice.
Step Five: Scribble.
If Step Four has been properly carried out, the Applicant should find him/herself in a state of maximum efficiency. A madcap writing frenzy should ensue, resulting in a barely legible outline written in a decent imitation of the English language (hereby referred to as ‘The Draft’).
Step Six: Re-read.
The Applicant must now attempt to decipher The Draft and correct any errors, such as missing punctuation or Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Step Seven: Feedback.
It is essential that the Applicant allow other people to read over The Draft to double-check for errors. However, the flustered Applicant must brace him/herself for an onslaught of conflicting corrections of content and motley methods of micromanagement.
Step Eight: Revise and Polish.
Once the Applicant’s head is swimming with suggestions, The Draft must once again be improved and re-written. (Note: It is perfectly normal for The Draft to evolve into something entirely unrelated to the madcap scribbles of Step Five.)
Repeat steps Six through Eight as needed.
By this point, the Applicant should feel completely fed up with the college application process, and will begin to question the sanity of the diabolical person who came up with the idea. A brief, final Spell Check should suffice here.
Step Nine: Trash.
The Applicant will now realize that their Final Draft does not in any way pertain to the original topic.
Repeat Steps One through Eight.
Step Ten: Submit.
The Applicant may now wash their hands of the d@*n thing.
In conclusion, my dearest reader, I hope this guide has illustrated that, when one knows what to expect, the college essay process is not nearly as grueling as it was once thought to be. At long last, that fearsome belief has been dispelled!