last minute college essays

In our most recent webinar about last minute college essays, we discussed upcoming college application deadlines and strategies to write a great college essay…in a hurry! We received many questions from parents and students during the live webinar and we wanted to share the answers to a few of our favorites. Take a look!

When is the best time to start writing my college applications essays?

We recommend students start the essay writing process the summer after their junior year. This will give you several months to brainstorm, draft, edit, receive feedback and finalize your essays.

Do all colleges and universities require both the Common App essay and a supplemental essay?

Great question! The answer is no, essay requirements vary by school. The Common App is accepted by over 1,000 schools. You only need to write one essay for the Common App, although you can write and submit different versions to different schools if you choose to. Some schools require supplemental essays, some have optional supplemental essays, and others don’t require any additional essays at all. We recommend researching the essay requirements for all the schools you plan on applying to and determining if there are overlapping or similar supplemental essays topics to make your writing process more efficient.

Do essay prompts remain the same every year?

The Common App essay prompts will typically change every few years, but they will remain the same for 2022-2023. How often supplemental essay prompts change varies by school. Some schools may choose to keep them consistent from year to year, while others may change them up every year. As we said previously, it’s very important to do this research before you start writing your essays.

What do college admissions officers really look for in essays?

Your goal should not be to try to give a comprehensive picture of who you are. Instead, you should give a deep and meaningful look at a few select personal traits. Look for traits that are important to you and that naturally fit together. Find a story that illustrates those particular traits so that you can tie them together into a nice cohesive essay, where your ideas complement one another instead of competing for space. You don’t have to explain everything about who you are, but rather help the admissions officer get to know a little bit of who you are.

How long does it take to write a good essay?

Great question, but there is not one good answer! The number of hours or drafts it takes to write a great essay varies by person. For example, students that are naturally strong writers may get their essay finalized in fewer drafts than a student that needs a few extra rounds of revisions. The key is give yourself enough time to work on your essays without feeling rushed.


Still need help on your college essay? There’s still time to work with one of college admissions counselors and essay experts. Reach out today!