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Essay Countdown

It’s October! The countdown to early action/early decision deadlines is in full swing. Hopefully your student has been diligent about preparing their application. With a month left to finalize the application and essays, now is the time for editing tips. If your student hasn’t started on their essays, do not panic! Check out this article for tips on creating the best possible personal statement. But for today, I’m sharing a few of my favorite techniques for putting the finishing touches on your essays.


1.Peer Editing

Peer editing is one of my favorite tools to develop really awesome essays. It’s how I created my personal statement that helped me get into Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Stanford, so I’m a big proponent! Encourage your student to exchange essays with a friend and give each other feedback on what interests and values are coming across in their personal statements. This is a great way to see what is working with the essay and what could be tweaked.

2. Trusted Advisor Editing

Talk to your student about what adult — teacher, counselor, coach, or you as a parent — will be reviewing the essays. It’s really important that whoever is reviewing the essay knows what it takes to get into your kid’s dream colleges today, not 20 years ago. It’s also really important that if a parent is editing, you make sure the essay is still coming from your child. This is not a place for parents to write!

3. Be Concise

One of the biggest mistakes I see with students is wordiness. Never use three words when one will do. This is a lesson I first learned in my high school senior English class. It is one of the most powerful techniques to take a good story and make it compelling and powerful.

Check for extra even’s, actually’s, in order to’s, and other filler words. If it doesn’t add to your narrative, cut it out. Students should go through their essays with a fine-toothed comb. Make sure every word earns its way onto the page.

If you are interested in 1-on-1 support from me check out my coaching services HERE. If you’re looking for lots of advice on every aspect of the college admissions process, check out the Dream College Summit.

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