Are you struggling to answer a college application essay prompt?
If you have a life experience that you want to share but are finding it difficult to get your ideas written down, consider using the bullet-point questions trick. It's easier if you have someone to help with this process, but you can easily do this by yourself as well.
The idea behind this trick is to come up with as many relevant questions about the experience as you possibly can. To start, aim to write 10 questions. If you're doing this strategy by yourself, pretend that the experience you're asking about was presented to you by a friend. This is just a way to engage in the process more openly and objectively. For some reason, our minds tend to get in our own way when we're trying to think of ideas for ourselves, especially when it comes to writing.
When you've reached at least 10 questions, answer each one thoroughly. This is a key step! Flesh out your ideas with descriptive details, ideally using words that tap into the senses, i.e., see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Bring your memory of the situation--the people involved, the environment, the circumstances, what you were thinking and feeling, etc.--to life as best as you can recall it. Don't worry about word count, spelling, or proper grammar. Just start writing answers to your questions and let the ideas flow without judgment.
Upon answering those questions, you should have a good pool of information to use for your essay. Whether you choose to use the details as they are written or use them to springboard into more specific details about a certain part of the experience, the direction you take is completely up to you.
Remember, though, that it's important to think of your essay response as a short story that you want an admissions officer to read. Show him or her who you are as a person and how you deal with and learn from life situations. Using sensory details and descriptions can help immensely with this. Be genuine in your voice and honest in your details, and your personality and authenticity will come through.