How to Make a College Essay Roadmap

on July 13, 2017

Making a plan for your college application essay is the best way to tackle a monumental task.


Here are some tips on how to set up a roadmap for your essay or essays if you’re applying to many different colleges.


Finalize Your List


Before you look at each college application’s personal statements, make sure you have narrowed your list of colleges to apply to. Applying to too many institutions can burn you out and will make your roadmap too complicated. Make a spreadsheet that includes each college’s name, deadlines, essay prompts and priority to you.


Find Similarities


Once you start to enter each college’s essay prompts into your spreadsheet, you’ll quickly notice how similar some are. Although you shouldn’t copy and paste the same response for different applications, writing a skeleton and crafting unique essays from there will save you time and energy.


For example, if several applications feature the infamous “Why this college?” essay, start with a simple structure, such as an imaginary day in the life as a student there. Then research each individual college, its programs and courses. This allows you to individualize each essay while still working with the same structure.




Once you’ve completed your spreadsheet, use colors to prioritize colleges, designate progress made on each essay and to group similar essays together. Even if you’re only applying to a few institutions, color-coding provides much of the important information at a quick glance.


Set Daily Goals


Even with a color-coded spreadsheet to organize all your college applications, finishing the process is hard. Instead of procrastinating or trying to take big chunks of it at a time, consider your ability to focus and how much time you can dedicate each day. Make a schedule for which essays you want to work on and stick to it. Update your spreadsheet accordingly, and congratulate yourself on tackling the intimidating process of college applications in an efficient fashion.

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