Your College Essays Are Still Useful

If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent dozens of sleepless nights working on your college application essays. Over the course of my senior year, I wrote 118 drafts, spread out over 24 separate essays for 13 different schools.

That’s 135,097 words, all of which would never be used again after my senior year. And while I’m satisfied with the fruits of my labor (after all, I got into college!), I don’t think it’s fair to ignore those essays after you log out of your Common Application account for the last time.

Thought leadership — it’s a term thrown around by Harvard Business Review and championed by both Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz of a16z. By writing, blogging, and tweeting, the hope is that you can establish yourself as an authority on a certain subject. Today, it’s almost seen as a prerequisite for anyone wanting to enter the tech industry.

However, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this:

“But I don’t know what to write about! I’m not an expert about anything yet. I can’t even write.”

First off, nobody starts off as an expert. Researching and forming opinions about topics help you become knowledgeable — even if you know nothing about the subject to begin with.

Second, even if you don’t want to learn anything new, it certainly helps your SEO (search engine optimization) and online presence to have a few articles floating around with your name on them.

Hmm… if only every college student in America had a few personal essays, already edited and ready to post…

…There’s a connection to be made here…

In all seriousness, post your college essays online. You don’t have to call them essays or mention that they were written for admissions officers, but you spent hours writing them — why not use them productively?

Yes, you might have to tweak them a little bit. If your essays are incredibly personal, you might not want to post them. I completely understand that. But you’ve already done the work — it’s silly not to take advantage of it!

Not only does this make sense, but I can promise you that it works. The article below, one of my supplements, hit the front page of /r/dogecoin, had nearly 1,000 views on Medium, and is trending on LinkedIn Pulse (296 likes and counting). I’ve even met people at conferences who referenced this article in conversation without knowing I had written it.

Try it out for yourself — post your articles on Medium and LinkedIn (using the #StudentVoices somewhere in the article). Let me know how it goes. And please, if you’re feeling so inclined, shoot your articles my way. I’d love to see what you wrote.

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