Are we having fun yet? Look at the calendar. It's almost November 1. Anyone for Early Decision or Early Action? If so, the clock is running and you should now be doing your NFL-approved two-minute drill. Time to break out the antiperspirant, which brings us to, no doubt, to the biggest sweat-inducing part of college applications: those pesky essays.
Back in the day (don't you love it when I wax nostalgic? Don't answer that!), I recall the essay (note that I said, "the essay" not "the essays" [plural]) prompt asked "Why do you want to attend [here]?" Granted, that prompt, or some variant thereof, appears on most college applications today, but there is most always a fleet of other prompts to torture even the most gifted writers' imaginations and patience. Many rising high school seniors use the summer to ponder their essays and some are fooled into thinking that the Common Application's relatively light writing requirement is all they'll have to tackle (keeping the football metaphor). Then, some of those less-well-informed applicants stumble onto the dreaded Common App supplements from their candidate schools, which pile on, so to speak, with a few more perilous prompts.