As you are working on your college application essay, you will brainstorm, write drafts, edit, delete paragraphs, proofread, write and edit more, and possibly turn it in for a grade. More than likely, you'll write more than one college admissions essay and have to answer many "short" answers.
For each essay and short answer, you should RYEOL.
What does that even mean?
📣RYEOL means Read Your Essay Out Loud.
👉🏼Because YOU are the best editor of YOUR essay.👏🏼
While receiving feedback from an essay tutor or counselor is important, reading your essay out loud is the easiest way to identify grammatical errors, to make sure you are answering the prompt correctly, and to hear how your essay flows.
You don't have to get in front of a mirror like you are auditioning for a play, but you do want to speak clearly, with confidence, and, well, out loud. Whispering does not count. 😶
Visualize yourself reading your essay with the admissions reader or scholarship committee.
Read the question, then read your answer.
👂🏼Hearing yourself read the essay forces you to pronounce those fancy words you choose. Application readers want to hear your voice, not a cluster of sesquipedalian words you looked up in a digital dictionary.
👂🏼Hearing yourself read the essay in your voice will help maintain the consistency of your voice. Application readers know when you are not being yourself or when a parent or professional has written the essay.
Once you've completed your essay...
📣RYEOL once then walk away.
📣RYEOL a second time making your edits (remember, YOU are the best editor). Then invite a teacher, counselor, college student, mentor, or parent to read your essay and offer feedback.
📣RYEOL a third time and finalize your essay.
Now you can be proud of what you wrote.
📉ADHD Executive Coach Seth Perler shared that the high school students he works with start to dip in performance 6-8 weeks into the semester.
🏊🏻♂Things fall apart. Now they having to swim upstream to catch up and turn in missing assignments.
🏈Then they are doing a "hail mary" in the final two weeks making up work and preparing for final exams. Exhausting!
🤷🏾♂Does this sound familiar? If so, would a different academic calendar be better for you to consider? If you take one course in three weeks or 2 in ten, would that improve retention and increase your GPA?
If you haven't considered the impact of the academic calendar, that should be a question to ask college representatives.
🧠In the comments below, which academic calendar would you prefer in college?
Semester (15 wks) - Offered in 90% of college settings. Most are traditional 14-15 week term while some use block terms of 3 1/2 weeks. Block terms are ideal for students needing to focus on one course at a time. It's intense. Then it's done!
Trimester (11-13 wks) - Some colleges are set up with trimesters. On one hand, you could possibly graduate faster; on the other, it's more challenging if wanting to change majors.
Quarter (10 wks plus summer) - Colleges with quarter academic calendars are beneficial for students transferring after a few weeks into the semester. If your college setting is harder than you imagined or your family needs you closer to home, you would stay on target attending a college with this type of system.
4-1-4 (4 mo + 1 mo + 4 mo) - This means you'd take a 4 week, "mini-mester" in January instead of having an extended winter break. Colleges with a 4-4-1 will offer a "Maymester."
🥓What motivates you to get up in the morning? Playing on your PS4. Cheerleading practice. The virtual school bell. Bacon. Your father.
The motivation to apply for college may not have the same urgency because it seems so far down the road.
As you prepare to enter the future workforce, Ken Costa, author of Know Your Why, reminds us that we are called to worship God in every area of our lives.
He writes that we need "to make our workstations our worship stations." 🛐
Most high school students are not thinking about this marketplace ministry mindset sitting in their classrooms. Even as followers of Jesus.
For those students, it's simply about graduating high school, being accepted to a college, and finding a way to pay for their education.
Let's stop and think about Costa's three reasons why people work. Which group you see yourselves in right now?
💰 Some want to work for cash – to make ends meet.
💼 Some want to work for a career – to move up a ladder.
🤝🏻 Some want to work for a cause – to make a difference.
For the majority of adult workers, I would believe that cash is the motivating factor.
My high school junior is focused on cash. Apparently, he needs another pair of sneakers!
As you research your careers and colleges, which motivating factor (cash, career, cause) is informing your decisions?
When deciding on a major for your career, you need to know your why. Developing your vocational calling - the type of work God has created you to do in the marketplace - will make that decision easier.
Also, college admissions officers know you have "passion" for your chosen field. Is that enough to set you apart? Is that enough to motivate you to "work for the Lord" (Colossians 3:23)? Is that your why?
Know that God wants the best for you - plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope, plans to give you a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Not to flounder without motivation.
🤷♂️ As you think about what motivates you to work, what conversations do you need to have with parents, teachers, mentors, or advisors to help you shift the focus to your calling?
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.