If your senior is preparing application packages for college next fall, holiday break is a great opportunity to put the finishing touches on some of the more personal elements—like the application essay. The college application essay is easily one of the most important pieces your teen will ever write, and Eileen Huntington, Co-founder and CEO of Huntington Learning Center says that students should give it the attention and care it deserves. “Essays that are well written and sincere give admissions officers a glimpse into who an applicant is ‘off paper’,” she says. As teens prepare to send in their applications in the new year, Huntington encourages them to use the downtime of holiday break to polish their application essays. Here are several tips as they do so:
Make sure the essay addresses the prompt. The essay is your teen’s chance to share something about him or herself that isn’t addressed elsewhere in the application package. Be sure your teen clearly and thoroughly answers the essay prompt and offers supporting information that shows why your teen is a strong candidate for admission.
Evaluate the “unique factor.” Many students have strong academic backgrounds and impressive resumes, but the essay is your teen’s chance to shine. The essay must be thoughtful, personal and genuine. It is the appropriate place for your teen to express who he or she really is. Have your teen read any essay draft through the lens of an admissions officer. What stands out? Does the essay poignantly reflect an experience your teen had or does it sound too generic?
Edit. By now, hopefully your teen already has a working draft of the application essay and a teacher or guidance counselor has offered comments. The break is a good time for your teen to address any suggestions to strengthen the essay and do his or her own self-edit. After each new draft, encourage your teen to set the essay aside for a day, then review to ensure it is honest, vivid and expressive, and that the topic is meaningful and appropriate and paints your teen as someone capable of succeeding at college.
Proofread. Careless errors say a lot to an admissions officer about an applicant. When your teen gets to a final draft that he or she feels good about, it’s important to print and proofread the entire essay a day or two later. Fresh eyes will help ensure your teen doesn’t gloss over words he or she has written and read several times. You can proofread a draft as well, and your teen should consider bringing the final draft to an English teacher as soon as school resumes.
The college application essay could bolster your teen’s overall application package—encourage him or her to work on making it as great as it can be over holiday break. For more information about how to craft a strong application essay and improving your teen’s writing skills, contact Huntington at 1-800-CAN-LEARN.
Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Learn how Huntington can help at www.huntingtonhelps.com. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
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