Mastering the College Application Essay: A Trusted Revising Checklist

If you know me, you know I love writing. Teaching writing, reading writing and yes, simply writing is how I spend most of my day. We're here in September, right in the heart of college essay writing season, and if your teen has not already started their essay, it's crucial not to delay any further. Let's ensure that the wheels are in motion for the college essay process because, now more than ever, the college essay can make or break a college application.

To assist your teen effectively, let's break down the college essay process into four essential steps:

1. Brainstorming

The first step, brainstorming, is a collaborative effort. Both you and your teen have ideas, and it's important to discuss them thoroughly. Brainstorming sets the stage for a compelling essay, helping your teen identify the unique aspects of their story that will captivate admissions officers.

2. Writing

Once the brainstorming phase is complete, your teen's role transitions to writing. This step is entirely theirs. The ideas generated during brainstorming should find their way from their minds to the keyboard. Writing is where the magic happens, where their narrative takes shape.

3. Revising

The third step, revising, is where your teen's essay begins to get refined. Every great piece of writing benefits from feedback, and college essays are no exception. Feedback can come from you, their school counselor, or a professional consultant like myself. I would prefer feedback not to come from an English teacher who has no context of the college admissions process and what colleges are looking for from a student. Revision is where the essay truly comes into its own, making it more impactful and persuasive.

4. Proofreading

The final step is proofreading. It's essential to ensure that the essay is free from errors and polished to perfection. Tools like Grammarly can help, but also consider a manual line-by-line review with a trusty #2 pencil or, even better, reading it out loud to catch overlooked mistakes. The essay should be well-proofed before it's submitted to colleges.

At Strategic Admissions Advice, we offer a comprehensive online, digital course titled "How to Write an Awesome College Essay." In the course, we provide a step-by-step plan for success to guide students through the essay-writing process effectively.

The P.L.A.N. F.O.R. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Checklist is a must have for college essay writing success. It’s a full acronym and here is the “P.L.A.N.” portion (buy the course and learn what F.O.R. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. means!)

P - Prompt: Ensure that your teen's essay answers the specific prompt provided by the college application, whether it's a Common Application prompt or a supplemental essay prompt.

L - Length: Pay close attention to the essay's required length. Some essays may need to be 250 words, while others could be 300, 350, 500, or even 650 words for the Common Application. Adhering to the prescribed length is crucial.

A - Authenticity: Authenticity is key. The essay should reflect your teen's unique voice, experiences, and values. It should be a genuine reflection of who they are.

N - Narrate Their Own Story: The essay should narrate your teen's story, emphasizing what's important to them. This personal touch can set their essay apart and make a lasting impression on admissions officers.

Want more? Here’s the How to Write an Awesome College Essay course!

Our goal is to empower students to craft outstanding college essays that genuinely represent them. By following our P.L.A.N. F.O.R. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Checklist, students can create essays that stand out and increase their chances of admission.

I'm passionate about essay writing, having a background as a former English teacher with a master's and bachelor's degree in English. I take great pride in guiding students through the college application process, particularly in crafting compelling essays.

If your teen is not as enthusiastic about essay writing as I am, consider enrolling them in our course, How to Write an Awesome College Essay. This course provides them with a clear path to success, ensuring that they answer the prompt, adhere to the required length, infuse authenticity into their essay, and narrate their unique story effectively.

Remember, a well-crafted college essay can make a world of difference in your teen's college admissions journey. So, take the first step towards success. Visit Strategic Admissions Advice and purchase our course today. Let us help your teen write an awesome college essay. It's a P.L.A.N. F.O.R. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. that can open doors to their future.

Thank you for joining us, and I look forward to assisting you and your teen in this exciting college admissions journey.