Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Writing Essays for College Applications: Advice I've overheard, part 1

I've found myself hanging out in college admissions offices recently, and have picked up some juicy tidbits about the essay-writing (or more accurately, reviewing) process that I'd like to pass along.

First, in case you're even newer to this process than I am, here are a few things it's helpful to know before you begin applying to colleges and universities:

  1. Some applications require the applicants write on a particular topic, some just want a general "getting-to-know-you" essay. If you're applying to several schools, write on the prescribed topics first. Assuming you write several essays on prescribed topics, you can submit your best piece to the schools that leave the topic up to the applicant.
  2. Longer is NOT better. One college admissions employee told me in confidence that many are merely skimmed for grammar and construction. "But not in my office," she added. Of course.
  3. Obviously, that also means grammar and construction are critical. Of course. 
More to come... 
FroshMonster is a website in beta as of April 2013. Its goal is to help high school students more "easily manage the complex process of selecting, applying, and getting into college." Students who sign up now will be alerted to new features as they become available. 
(Thanks to Mary R. for the tip!) 


In the meantime, it should go without saying* that if you're concerned your student's writing skills aren't won't measure up to college admissions standards, writing or heavily editing an essay for your student is a HUGE no-no. And while help for writing college essays abounds** more important in the long-run is, a college student should know how to write. Well. Before he or she gets into college.

*but people who blog are compelled to say such things anyway!
** I'm partial to the tip sheet US News published a few years ago.  

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I agree wholeheartedly that parents should keep their editing to a minimum. Note to those who have not gone through this process: "Hands off" is one of the hardest things to do, since you'll probably feel that all the other parents are heavily involved in their students' essays.