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Case Study

Essay Writer’s Block

The Challenge

This rising senior knew that she wanted to write her college application essay about her passion for music but didn’t know specifically what to write about.

Our Advisor

MaryPat St.Jean, Senior Admissions Advisor, was asked by the family to assist the student with her college application essays.

The Goal

The key goal was to determine what the most important thing was that she wanted the admissions committee to know about her, and how she could possibly use her love of music as a means to share that information.

The Plan

Although she was not a music major, she had a passion for music and knew that she wanted to incorporate that aspect of her personality into her main college essay. After spending some time brainstorming how to approach this essay, we realized she had a case of writer’s block. She was assigned the task of a “brain dump”. She was told to set a timer for 30-40 minutes and write everything she could think of about her love of music. She was then told to email it to her admissions advisor as soon as the timer went off without making any edits. During a family road trip, she took 40 minutes and wrote 3 pages of notes about her love of singing, playing the piano and Irish step dancing. In those notes, a clear pattern emerged of an essay that talked about how the piano sits quietly in the corner until someone takes the time to come over and draw out it’s beautiful music. She then paralleled this to her own personality that seems quiet at first but then has much to offer when people get to know her.

The Solution

Her essay was beautifully written and she was accepted to all of the colleges that she applied to. She also gave permission to use her “brain dump” as a sample to show to other students how this activity can assist them get past their own writer’s block.

In Her Words

“Working with MaryPat was great! It was easy to understand what she was looking for and heped me find just the right words and ideas to express myself!”

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