As deadlines loom for college applications, The Brian Lehrer Show opened its phones and online forum to hear what was trending this year for college essay topics.
“My younger son wrote about how not one of the young people questioning President Obama during the MTV campaign interview asked about the war in Afghanistan, even as members of their own generation continue to fight and die after 10 years,” wrote Bob from Pelham, New York. “With an older brother serving in the Army, he reflected on how this illustrated how unequally the burden of 10+ years of war has been borne by the country as a whole, and contrasted it with the way the Vietnam War dominated political discussion when his parents were applying to college.”
Michelle, a high school teacher from Fairfield, Connecticut, cautioned students against writing about Sandy if the storm didn’t have an immediate impact on their lives.
“A lot of times kinds will write about a big world event because they feel like they have to sound smart,” she said. “The best essays have to well written and I think come from something they care about and know about, even that is how I learned to waterski or whatever.”
Don Fraser, the director of education and training at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, offered suggestions on how to best address the storm’s interruption. He said students should be specific about how the storm affected them but use the essay to reflect on its larger significance.
“It’s a hard essay to write but ultimately I would say if it sincerely impacted a student then I think it’s a worthwhile essay for a student to write,” he said.
Also, take note: his group is holding weekend workshops Dec. 15 and 16 in the New York and New Jersey area. There will be experienced college admission professionals on hand to help high school seniors with their college applications.