How to Write the First Stanford Short Essay 2020-2021 – "Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning."
"Welcome to paradise!" the Stanford band blasted across the quad my first night of freshman orientation.
They were right: Stanford is a paradise. But the Stanford application... can feel like hell.
Let us start with a moment of silence for the Class of 2020 and everything they've lost because of the shutdown: graduation, their last season of high school sports, leadership opportunities, prom, shenanigans with friends, many of whom they might never see again.
It's tragic. When I think back on how much my friends meant to me and how hard it was to say goodbye at graduation, my heart sincerely breaks for the seniors.
But all high school students have lost some kind of opportunity because of this pandemic, whether it's your shot at making varsity or a summer internship or a teen travel opportunity.
If you have lost an opportunity due to the corona virus, HERE IS WHAT YOU MUST DO NEXT:
Exciting news! The Common Application has officially released the 2019-2020 undergraduate applications, including prompts for the writing supplements.
If you're reading this, you've probably had the chance to check out the University of Southern California (USC) application -- and realized that it is one of the longest, most comprehensive applications you'll be writing this year.
But it's also the most fun!
It's not just your imagination -- applying for college is harder than ever! I didn't graduate that long ago... but it's already twice as hard to get into Stanford now than it was back then.
Which is why it doesn't surprise me when high school juniors and rising seniors often feel like they're "already behind" in April or May!
There's a popular misconception that seniors "shouldn't" write about study abroad, service trips, or teen travel tours on their college applications.
First of all, this is untrue. There are no bad essay topics, only bad essays, and you can absolutely write an original, unforgettable travel essay.
Even if you couldn't, I would still highly recommend a travel abroad experience for almost any teenager, as they can be some of the most enriching, educational, and fun things you will do in your whole life.
Of all the colleges I've visited, University of Wisconsin-Madison stands out in terms of beauty, opportunity, and politically active students. I'm 0% surprised you've decided to apply.
But when it comes to their "Why Us?" essay... they are definitely on the longer side, with a 650-word limit.
You're a teenager who has traveled to another country. Perhaps with your family. Perhaps with some kind of teen travel tour, volunteer, mission or service organization. Perhaps through a study abroad program like School Year Abroad, Island School, or Where There Be Dragons.
You had an incredible experience! You think this is one of the most interesting things you've done in your whole life.
And everyone's telling you not to write your college essays about it.
Lucky for you, those people are completely wrong.
So you're applying to USC -- home of the Trojans and birthplace of one of the most famous baseball diddies of all time:
True story! This fanfare was written by Tommy Walker while a junior at the University of Southern California in the fall of 1946.
And if Tommy Walker can express that much in six little notes... you can knock your USC supplemental essays and short answers out of the park!
So you thought that the fact that "most schools are on the Common App" meant you'd basically be done after finishing your 650-word essay. And now you've realized... you were wrong. Stanford is your dream school, and it has one of the most comprehensive supplemental essay sections ever.
Don't worry -- I've got you covered.
As you're surely aware, the Common Application announced new revisions and essay prompts on the 2017-2018 application. And one of them... is super fun and exciting!
7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
Eva Glasrud completed her B.A. and M.A. at Stanford. She is now a college counselor and life coach for gifted youth.