He’s taken the required
exams. Now he has to write the essay, but he’s having trouble.
For many seniors, writing the essay is the toughest part of applying for college.
Share these tips with your teen to make writing essays a little easier:
• Read the directions. Colleges tell applicants what they want. If they say 750 words, that’s what they want. Writing a longer essay could actually put your senior at a disadvantage.
• Be honest. Admissions officers read hundreds of essays each year. They are pretty good at figuring out that everyone in the class of 2001 isn’t going to be President or win the Nobel Prize.
Of course your teen’s essay should put him in the best light. But be realistic.
• Leave plenty of time. Don’t wait until the night before the application is due. The essay is too important to send a rough draft. This is where most seniors get into trouble.
The best way to help your teen is by encouraging him to block out time for writing.
• Write something new. Trying to reuse an essay that worked in English 11 hardly ever works.
• Use the writing process teachers have taught:
—Develop an outline.
—Write a draft.
—Review and edit the draft.
—Rewrite and edit again.
—Proofread, proofread, proof-
read. Here’s another place
parents can help.
• Ask others for their opinions. Rewrite anything with which more than one person has a problem.
In the end, the essay should be what your senior—not anyone else—wants to say.
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