Last year we published an essay by Holly Kellner titled, “Why Having Conversations or Writing College Essays On Your Story of Loss Is Okay.” Since then we’ve gotten emails asking for tips on how to write your college essay on your loss or asking for comments/edits on drafts themselves.
While we’re happy to help edit as many college essay drafts as we possibly can, we also want to make sure that all the information you need is in one place. Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing content that’s directly related to the college application process — including the essay, financial aid and any other resources that will help make this process easier.
For starters here are some tips to keep in mind when working on your first outline or draft for your college essay:
Stay True To Your Story
The biggest advantage at your disposal when writing an essay about your loss is that you’re the only one who has ever experienced your specific kind of loss. (Trust me: this is an advantage) Even if you have siblings who all lost the same parent or sibling, you’re the only one who has lost your specific relationship. Stay true to how the loss impacted you.
Always Go Back To You
You want to make sure that you’re telling the story of who you are, this is what admissions officers want to read. Think of it this way, you’re encouraging someone to read an essay that’s told through the lens of a loss but that looks directly at who you are because of it.
Instead of speaking in generalizations about what grief or loss mean to you, tell us specific stories about how what you’ve experienced is specific to you.
The Bad Days Count Too
Not all stories of loss or grief go back to incredible epiphanies. Not all stories of loss or grief are uphill stories either. Lots of experiences go back to hitting a specific kind of rock bottom and building your way back from that. Your stories are hard and real, don’t be afraid to show the imperfect pieces too, they add character to your story.
Don’t Be Ashamed
Don’t let anyone tell you that this is a cliche essay topic to write about. It’s not. It’s 100% not. Your story of loss is unique and probably the most life changing thing you’ve experienced. It’s helped turn you into the person you are today and it’s a story worth telling.
If you have any questions regarding the college essay writing process, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject: College Essay) or tweet us your questions, @2DamnYoung.
If you have any other tips you’d like to add, comment down below!