Ask An Expert: Who should look at your essays?

August 20, 2014

This week’s Wednesday expert advice from Joie Jager-Hyman of College Prep 360 answers:

How many people and to whom should you show your essay concept or essay drafts?

One thing is for sure: in this competitive college admissions environment, you should be the only person who writes the essay but not the only one who reviews it.  

There are numerous resources for high school students who want to craft a winning college essay, including this website.  Books are also incredibly helpful.  At College Prep 360, we just started collaborating with Ashley Wellington after reading her new book Admissions Essay Boot Camp. I also recommend the classic, On Writing the College Application Essay by Bauld and—apologies in advance for the self-promotion—I have a chapter in my new book about essays; I have been told it is very informative.

To recap: start early, rewrite often, seek advice from two or three trusted advisers. 

Of course, you may also want to consider hiring a professional essay coach to work with you on your essays, if you can afford it.  If not, you should find other resources at school that are free, including your guidance counselor and English teacher(s).  Depending on their writing abilities, parents and friends may be helpful. If you know any professional writers, you might also hit them up for advice.

At some point, there can be too many cooks in the kitchen, as they say, so I wouldn’t involve more than two or three trusted advisers in the writing and editing of your college essay.  Just be sure that you pay attention to feedback.  And be prepared to write multiple drafts.  Remember: nothing you have ever liked reading was the product of a first draft.  If the greatest literary giants of all times write multiple drafts of their work, then a novice high school essay writer should certainly be prepared to do the same!

And try to have a little fun with it, if you can!


Next week’s blog:

Anthony-James Green of Test Prep Authority answers your questions about the SAT and whether you should switch to taking the ACT this year.

Have a question you’d like answered in a following blog post? Let us know in our Contact Us form!

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UCLA ‘20

Accepted to UCLA, Cornell, CMU, USC, UCSD, UC Davis

UCLA Class of 2020. Orange County native. I like math and music.
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Accepted to Pomona, Swarthmore, Bowdoin, Middlebury, WashU, Vassar, Emory, Kenyon, Wesleyan, Hamilton

Salutations person! My profile includes the awesome details of the ridiculously goodlooking man in the above picture! Plus, a bunch of essays!
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Accepted to UC Davis, UCLA, UCSD, USC, Emory, UMich, UNC, Pepperdine

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I'm a student at Columbia. I love writing, activism, terrible jokes, and binge-watching Netflix. Aspiring English teacher.

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