A Parents Guide to the College Essay
Of all the integral components of your child’s whole college application process, the college essay is undoubtedly one of the most important ones. In the form of well-written, error-free sentences and engaging, organized paragraphs, the college essay not only highlights your child’s academic and sports accomplishments, life goals, and community service, but also shares how your child’s experiences can and will contribute to the academic program to which he/she is applying. Since just the thought of starting the essay can often feel overwhelming and stressful, here are some tips you can embrace that will enable you to help your child with the process:
Share Your Own Experience
Sharing with your child that you went through the same stress-inducing process when you applied to various colleges will make your suggestions, guidance, and insight more meaningful to your child. Often times high schoolers don’t realize that their parents have been there and done that. Being able to speak from your personal experience will lend credibility to the process. Sharing the experiences and accomplishments you chose to write about in your college essays will not only inspire your child to think outside the proverbial box, but also enable him/her to view you in a brand new light!
Schedule Time To Brainstorm With Your Teen
While your personal experience might help to inspire some ideas for your child’s own essay, he/she still needs to brainstorm. Although your high schooler is no doubt busy with schoolwork, friends, and commitments to sports, community, and/or religious events, setting aside a designated time just for brainstorming will help immensely. If you don’t have a whiteboard to write the ideas on, use paper and pencil. No ideas are ever “wrong” when you brainstorm. You simply jot down whatever activities, experiences, accomplishments, memories, and goals come to mind during the process. Once you and your child have exhausted the different possible topics that can be included in the essay, then it’s time to organize all of those thoughts into categories. Examples of categories might be: volunteering, after-school jobs, church-related activities, sports achievements, and academic accomplishments. Once the categories are listed, you can then put the different specific experiences under each appropriate category. Brainstorming is so essential to the essay-writing process. Without it, many students simply start writing and end up with an essay that is not well-organized or reader-engaging.
Once your child has written his/her essay, be open and available to hearing your child read it aloud, as well as you reading it silently to yourself. This will enable you both to identify areas that don’t seem to flow, to tweak word choices, and to check for grammar and spelling errors. It’s not uncommon to have several rough drafts of the essay before the final magnum opus is complete. If you realize this going into the process, it takes away the stress of feeling it has to be perfect with the first draft. In addition, by starting the essay writing process early enough in the college application process, you and your child will have time to set it aside for a few days and then revisit it again before it is submitted.
Set Up A Meeting With California College Prep
Having an objective, professional, and experienced essay writing coach help your child through the process can make the difference between submitting a mediocre essay and a captivating one. The coaches at CACP can assist with all facets of the process ~ from providing suggestions during the ideation sessions, choosing the most appropriate words, and helping your child create elegant statements that succinctly reflect his/her own voice to proofreading the completed essay.