When I was speaking last week at the Mark Twain Library in Redding along with Matthew Dempsey from Fairfield University, we both addressed the question of who should read a student’s college application essay before it’s submitted.
Here are our suggestions:
Ask more than one teacher, preferably an English teacher, to read your essay. Why more than one? Because different people see different things. One teacher might flag your grammar and sentence structure while another might focus more on your story telling and organization.
Try to find someone who knows what’s expected by a college application essay. College application essays are different beasts. Unlike the usual high school essay, this essay has to reflect you — your interests, your insight, and what makes you unique.
Parents can be good readers, too. Parents may not be your most objective audience (which is why teachers are important), but they know you, and can tell if there’s enough “you” in your essay.
Hire a college essay coach when you need one.
- College coaches know what colleges expect.
- College coaches can see the weak points in an essay and provide detailed suggestions on how to strengthen them. They have many tools and teaching techniques at their fingertips.
- College coaches can relieve family tension. They’ll handle time management and deadlines, so parents don’t have to worry (or squabble with their teens).
Find people you trust to read your college application essay. It’s an important part of the writing process.