First Step for Writing a Killer College Application Essay: Mindset

That’s right, the first step is mindset.

Now, I know a lot of people might say, “What’s ‘mindset’ got to do with the essay writing process?  I just want to know how to write a great college application essay.”

But the truth is, if you don’t start the process with the right mindset, the writing part is going to be a lot more challenging and stressful than it needs to be.

So what is the “correct mindset?”  

It’s this: You want to know before you begin writing that you can do this well.  Believe that you do have lots of great insights and experiences from which to draw to create a stellar essay. Believe that you can write an essay that will help get you into the college of your choice. 

Because it’s undeniably true. 

If you give yourself enough time to brainstorm, choose a topic, write a first draft, write a second draft, then edit, proofread and polish, you’re there!

See, knowing this going in, and I mean utterly believing it in your core, will help reduce the stress you feel when you sit down to write.  You’ll be relaxed, and when you are in that state of relaxation, the brainstorming, topic selection, and writing are all going to flow much more easily.

On the other hand, if you’re freaked out by the process, you’re going to be scattered and nervous and unable to focus properly.  And this task is one that requires focus and concentration. 

The other part of correct mindset is, don’t go into the writing process thinking that your entire future rests on the completion of a college application essay.  It does not!  That mindset creates way too much stress.  And stress reduces focus.

Yes, this is a very important piece of writing, and a lot is riding on how well you do it, but if you’ve given yourself enough time for each stage of the essay writing process, then you will have no problem knocking it out of the ballpark.  You know you can do this.

And I know you can do this, because if you’re reading this blog post right now, that means you’re invested in writing a kick-a** essay, and you’ll do what it takes to get the job done.

(For more on proper mindset and other tips and techniques for writing a killer college application essay, visit my website at and download your FREE essay writing guide today!)

  1. #1 by Paul Hemphill on June 20, 2011 - 11:36 pm

    I genuinely appreciated the positive words and tone of your article. I look forward to reading more of your contributions. Paul Hemphill

  2. #2 by kdhouston on June 21, 2011 - 1:58 am

    Thanks very much, Paul, I truly appreciate your comment. : )
    I think alot of students get stuck in the very beginning phases of writing a college app essay because they get themselves overly worked up about how important the essay is. Sure, it’s important, but writing a great essay is totally achievable, and does not have to be stressful, which is where I think mindset plays an important role. Of course I say that from an adult’s perspective, all the while remembering how I fretted and slaved over my essays back when I was a student applying to colleges and grad schools.
    As I recently followed you on Twitter, I will also be looking forward to your tweets and other contributions! : )

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