We’re in a weird time—there's no doubt about that. As we try to navigate just what this summer—let alone the autumn—will look like, it's easy for tasks to fall by the wayside. You would not believe how often I forget what month it is; don’t even think about asking me about the day.

But the fall will be here before we know it. It’ll be a different one, with challenges not yet known. In order for rising seniors to be ready for college applications, it would be wise for them to use this summer to work on their college essays. Knocking out the essay during the summer will allow students time to rewrite, seek feedback, and meditate on what they want their essays to say about themselves.

Over the years, I’ve helped many students compose their college essays and have found that few students benefit from waiting until the last minute to get started. The college essay is a key element of a student’s application, especially this year, when there have been fewer chances to take the SAT and ACT; it would be a mistake not to devote the time to make the essay as perfect as can be. With summer activities curtailed, it’s even smarter to get a head start and master the essay. After all, the best essays are the ones given time to marinate. Stephen King has often said that when he writes a draft, he puts it away for a while, wanting to return to it with fresh eyes. Students should do the same with their college essays; this is not possible if they wait until October.

The college application process is up in the air—no one is quite sure whether due dates will be pushed back. My advice? Don’t assume they will be. Start brainstorming now, work with a writing tutor if you can, and come up with multiple ideas. You’re not sure if your niche hobby is interesting enough? Well, what are the odds anyone else will write about it? Slim? Maybe you’re on to something unique. Maybe you’ve just found a way to communicate who you are in a way no other applicant will. Once, I had a student write about building a gaming PC when he was thirteen years old. That I still remember it really says something—his narrative so effectively portrayed who he was as a person.

You want to have your essay mostly finished by the time school starts up. No one knows what the new normal will be in the fall, and you do not want to have to work on your essay while adjusting to the start of what will be a novel school year.

We here at Method Test Prep stand ready to assist. Whether you need someone there to brainstorm or just someone to help you edit, we’re eager to help you tell your story so colleges can have the best understanding of who you are and what you have to offer.