Questions we are asked about the college essay:
- “Is my essay topic ok?”
- “Is this what colleges want?”
- “What exactly is the college essay?”
The REAL questions that are being asked:
- “Am I ever getting into college?”
- “If I can’t write this, how am I going to write an essay in college?!?!”
- “Will I have to live in a cardboard box outside my parents’ house?”
Honestly, after living this scenario more than a 1,000 times, we just couldn’t look into the face of one more anxious high school student (and their equally anxious parents) and not have some solutions for them. We believed that there was a way to help kids put their unique selves on paper in a way that would move them beyond writing about the typical ACL tear, mission trip, first airplane ride and into an essay that could define them. An essay that they could take with them into college, and beyond, because the process of writing the essay helped them better understand who they were and for what they stood.
Thus, Write Now! was born.
Our business is rooted in our story.
We are AP English teachers who spend our days teaching about the importance of what you say and how you say it.
We are teachers of rhetoric who have spent years crafting lessons on writing to a specific audience.
We are teachers who have always put our students first and pride ourselves on getting to know who they really are.
Perhaps, more importantly, we are family. Cousins, to be exact. As a matter of fact, Ms. Nally’s own mom (Roth was a flower girl in her wedding) usually can’t tell which one of us is speaking, and our students think we share a brain (perhaps we do).
Obviously, we love words. Like ALL the words. We especially enjoy ambiguity and engendered and how people from the East Coast use wicked as a verb, an adjective, and a noun. We lie. We don’t love ALL the words. We hate the word rural — love people who are rural, but we hate the word. It is real hard to say out loud.
We love Harry Potter, Halloween, Friends, and seeing our students graduate. When not teaching, talking about teaching, or working with kids, we might be found discussing our beloved favorite, The Great Gatsby. Between the two of us, we have enough Gatsby spirit wear to fill a cruise ship — preferably a Gatsby themed cruise ship. You know, all those boats beating against currents and Leo Dicaprios in three-pieced suits and stuff.
Why are we telling you all of this? Simple: these are some of the snapshots that make up our story. And snapshots and stories answer the age-old question, “Is my essay topic ok?”
The Snapshots of your life are the topic. The Gatsbys, the Halloweens, the Friends episodes are your topic.
And you DO have something to say. Here’s how it works:
Tip #1: Relax, you have a story.
Nobody gets to the age of sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen without having thousands of stories they can show the admissions officers. The trick is finding your Snapshot — the stories that highlight the unique individuals you are and the one-of-kind perspectives of the moments of your lives.
Tip #2: Think small, the Instagram state-of-mind.
Snapshots are small moments. The instinct is to write about the bold, the dramatic, and the life-changing. But honestly, 650 words is not enough time to tell those stories. When choosing your Snapshot, think about how you tell a story in an Instagram post. Think about your life in pictures — choose one, tell that story.
Tip #3: Know why, why it matters.
There are no fancy words or descriptive writing that can cover up a lack of content. Content means you have to know who you are and why your Snapshots matter to you. When choosing your Snapshot, be sure you know why (and how) that moment in your life is worthy to share.
The college essay is so much more than an essay. It is an opportunity to share the Snapshots of your life with the people, the admissions officers, who can influence the future Snapshots of your life. Maybe it’s time to share those snapshots. And no, one of those snapshots is not of you living in a cardboard box.