How to work through writers block....

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Registered: 05-13-1998
How to work through writers block....
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Thu, 10-24-2013 - 12:07pm

DD 16 is really struggling with college essays. She's an excellent writer generally but she's been working on it for months and it's just not happening. She is the most expressive person I know. She loves and loaths. Nothing inbetween. Everyone ELSE knows how she feels... it's all over her face, her body, her voice and yet, she's never been capable of "telling" you how she feels (seriously, she could be sobbing with a dead kitten in her hand and still not be able to come up with the word "sad.") We've tried to help her work through it over the years but here we are with her first deadline next week and the main essay not done. Well, she has an essay done and it's "OK" but it's not her voice. It is not the person any of us actually know. 

I thought we made some headway this week. I told her to write a story about herself in 3rd person and she did a beautiful job. It sounded like her. I cared about the person in her story. Then she tried to adapt it into an essay and she fell apart.

She's stressed. I know she's stressed. We can put off the deadline next week but honestly, I'm not sure doing that now will help her. She'll only feel like more of a loser for not making it happen and it will extend this for months longer. I just need some ideas to help her work through this if anyone has ideas.

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Registered: 04-09-2006
Mon, 10-28-2013 - 3:49pm

Lots of state schools in the US don't require an essay, although a quick internet search reveals that a couple of schools I attended now require one (or two!).  My son (going to a state school) didn't need one, my daughter (private school) did.

Deborah

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Registered: 07-23-2002
Mon, 10-28-2013 - 4:38pm

I'm not clear on what you're saying: your two posts seem to contradict each other. You said personal information forms are required with short essays and references but then said CVs or cover letters are not required. I think we're probably just into a question of semantics here: what you describe as "personal information with short essay and references" is along the lines of what I was calling a CV/cover letter.

In any event all I really meant is that in Canada, "The College Essay" doesn't have the pivotal institutionalized importance that it seems to have in the US. Maybe I'm misconstruing its importance and onerousness in the US, but sooth of the border it seems to have such a huge role. So much angst, so many websites devoted to helping students with the process, etc. My dd knocked off three or four paragraphs here and there as part of the application process to UBC, McGill and UofT (I honestly can't remember which ones required written answer) without thinking they mattered a whole lot. Maybe she was wrong. 

Also, to clarify about scholarships: I'm not talking about entrance scholarships, but about those offered by foundations, corporations and private funds. Our school and community has a fair number of smallish scholarships, and there are few larger ones. There are also some great private/foundation scholarships available for kids who are pro-active in seeking them out: my ds's closest childhood friend received a full-ride $80K Loran scholarship last year. 

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

Avatar for turtletime
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Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 10-28-2013 - 5:57pm
In my state there are two public systems. One system requires no essay. The second system requires 2.

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