Tackling the College Essay

While FSSA teachers and counselors help with your college essays, there are a lot of resources online to help as well.

As many know the college application process can be very stressful. Between finding the perfect school for you, deciding on a major, dealing with money, leaving home, financial aid, it can feel like your world is crashing down on you and you have a list so big you can’t even seem to find a starting place.

Growing up in New York City, many students already know the stress of applying to the school of their choice due to the policy New York has for specialized high schools. But that doesn’t mean the second time is any easier. The main subject of college applications that everyone seems to understand is that they have to write the perfect essay. 

People spend hundreds of hours and dollars working on the essay, some write just one, while others write three to five. Many students that were interviewed during this process discussed how their college experience has been very difficult to go through and they are taking it to step by step. Some say their college essay was tricky to figure out while others have enjoyed writing their essays. 

Many wrote about their parents, experiences that helped them grow into the people they are today, what they love, who they look up to. And some had no idea what to write at all. 

“The college essay process for me was actually really good. I had a ton of help from my teachers who were willing to help me revise my essay to the best form it could be. Overall, I love my essay,” Daniel Bachayev a senior vocal major at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) said.

Nicky Bernal, a senior drama major at FSSA said she is absolutely exhausted from writing her college essay because some of the colleges she chose also require different supplemental essays.

“Due to this, the process has just been prolonged with having to write an individual essay for each college,” she said.

Both of these students have had very different opinions on the process of writing, Daniel had a lot of help and enjoyed discussing his ideas, while Nicky has great essays, but since the amount of perfect essays are so large, she is feeling the pain.

Colleges give certain prompts to applicants to make the experience easier, but in reality, it just takes more time, so many students decide to write essays on the topic of their choice.

Julia King, an FSSA senior dance major wrote about her fashion culture magazine. Issa-Malik A. Bernard, an FSSA senior drama major, wrote about his performing arts experience and how his dad’s role in his life has pushed him to learn and form goals as an actor.

Matthew Golub, a senior technical theatre major at LaGuardia, wrote about his father who passed away and what he taught Matthew that made him the man he is today.

Vivian Sores, a senior art major at FSSA,wrote about her love for art history. 

All of these essays are very different and personal to each individual as they are supposed to be. Many here wrote more than one essay and talked about how they have worked on their essays for months and have multiple drafts.

The college essay has been the main topic of conversation for many students during the college process or way before, starting in 11th grade for FSSA students. However, it is just a small part of one’s collge application. Depending on where one goes and what they decide to major in, there are other factors to think of: Such as a portfolio, auction requirements and preparations, grades etc.

While the college essay is important, so is everything else. A note to everyone applying or soon to be applying is work ahead: Understand what you have to do and take your time. 

— by Tess McGuire ’21