College Application, Essay-Writing Checklist

How to Start the Process

It’s about that time again! Know what that means?

THE COMMON APP IS OUT! Oh, joy, the process begins! As scary as this fact is, don’t let it ruin your summer. Here are the things you need to do to start your applications in the least stressful way possible.

Step 1. Register on

*NOTE* BEWARE of commonapp.COM because this website will try to make you pay to fill out the common application which is WRONG.

When you have time, start filling out the basic information—your name, age, school, address, etc. This stuff is easy; you know how to do this, I promise! Also, find a time when you can sit down with your parents to fill out information about them and your home and life and whatnot. Getting this out of the way will mean you don’t have to do it later! YAY GETTING THINGS DONE! It’s just one more thing that you can finish early!

Step 2. Make a list of the colleges you are applying to, their application deadlines, and any supplemental materials or essays they might require.

Lists are fantastic. I love lists. Use them to your advantage. If you list out every school deadline and requirement, there will be no surprises and nothing can sneak up on you. This is the ONLY foolproof way to ensure that everything that needs to get done will get done. It will organize your brain, as well, because having all the information floating around in there is clogging it up and stressing you out. Put it down on paper to get it out. Check off materials as they are sent.


Johns Hopkins University

-Send ACT scores by [date]

-Write essay

-Schedule a tour

-Get teacher recommendation by [date]”


Step 3. Sit down and write an essay.

Just do it. Turn off your phone. When I say turn it off, I don’t mean silence it or put it on airplane mode. I mean TURN IT OFF.  Turn. It. Off. Seriously. Off.

Retype of copy-and-paste the prompt you are going to write about at the top of a word document and start typing. The earlier you do this, the more time you have to go back, revise, and stop worrying about it! Also, doing this BEFORE school starts means that once the craziness begins, you won’t have essay drama on top of all the homework and tests and quizzes, oh MY!

Step 4. Make a list of any outstanding work that needs to get done, and then DO IT.



In case you didn’t realize this in step 2, I LOVE LISTS. A LOT. If I could marry a list, I would. What this step is meant to do is finish organizing your brain so that you have everything you need to do laid out, plain and simple. For example, I have a summer assignment for AP Psychology that I need to get done, and I need to go shopping for index cards. These are two items currently on my to-do list.

Step 5. RELAX.

Take a yoga class. Go get ice cream. Dance. Search for cute puppies on YouTube (my personal favorite is the Husky Puppy live feed: I don’t care what you do, but treat yourself to some fun or relaxation once you’ve crossed a couple things off on your to-do list. You deserve it.


Step 6. Sleep.


I know it’s the summer, but you need to sleep or your brain will go haywire. Every study ever will basically tell you that sleep is good and you need it. Also, true fact, the more hours of sleep you get before midnight, the better. So don’t stay up late to write essays or fill out apps. Go to sleep at a reasonable hour, wake up before noon, and get work done when you feel energized.

That’s all for now! See, that wasn’t so bad. Just organize your brain, lay things out, and the whole process magically seems a whole lot easier

Here’s a picture that always makes me laugh:


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