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Great opportunity! Summer is an opportune time to start writing college admissions essays

… shooting for early decision, admissions, or just regular admissions?

Last week was a joyous time for one of my students — and for me. This young lady is a high school senior and is ambitious and hard-working, but she was concerned last year about writing effective college admissions essays to impress professionals at major colleges and universities. Therefore, last fall she reached out to me.

She is a quality young lady and worked hard during this process. It took hard work, patience, and persistence, but by late October, we had completed most of the essays.

Last week, finally, she had all of the successful admissions opportunities before her. and she and her parents made the decision.

She was thrilled that she was admitted to an honors science program at a top university, one that has its own medical school. That is a great accomplishment because her undergraduate major is going to be neuroscience, and she intends to ultimately become a physician.

Because of privacy considerations, I will not identify the student’s name or the university, but this is part of what she said in her note,

I committed as a Neuroscience major for their honors college a few days ago. I got into [another] honors college as well, but I chose [this opportunity] because I felt that it was a better fit for me and would provide me with more opportunities to grow.

Thank you so much for helping me with all the essays and always encouraging and motivating me!

High school student's message

Why are the essays so important?

As more universities and colleges decide to forgo the SAT and ACT for admissions, the essays that students write become even more vital for entrance to top-notch schools.

Please understand my role in this process: I do not write these essays for students. Instead, as an educator, I teach them how to write quality essays. I show prospective college students the preparation and presentation skills that will help them not just in this effort, but in their college academic journey.

I can proofread and edit, but that is not the most vital service. More important in this process, I can motivate and encourage students on this journey. Since this is a stressful time for students, that is a major concern.

I cannot guarantee admission to quality universities. However, I can help to show how to impress college admissions committees with the writing product that a student will submit.

The success of students is gratifying

I first started this a few years ago when a young woman who is native of France but never spoke or wrote English until she was eight asked me for some help. I am a septuagenarian, but I believe that my communication skills are better now than they were when I was in my 20s. Experience also helps.

This young lady is very articulate verbally and would do well in the interview process, and her writing skills are good, but she was applying to veterinary schools in Europe and the U.S. and thought that she needed some help to reach one of them.

She accomplished that.

While she was a student at a major university on the West Coast when I worked with her a few summers ago, she was staying with her father in France during the summer. We had some excellent sessions, and fortunately, she is now on her way to becoming a veterinarian at a major university. All you need is a good internet connection, Zoom, and access to Google Docs -- and a desire to succeed.

What was the fear of this young lady? Presenting herself in a professional and effective manner and not having the committees look down on her since her writing skills were not superb. In reality, they were solid for a college student, but she wanted something better, and her final product was impressive.

It was, however, her own work. I just provide guidance to her along the way.


If students and parents look online at the advice that many experts give, they will find significant variations in the approaches that the people use. I have no one theory that I follow. I tell students that they must inform the committees about who they are beyond the application and high school transcript and SAT or ACT scores and why they will be a great addition to the student body.

For instance, I have worked with a number of students who have applied to schools within the California system. Those schools no longer use any national standardized tests.

However, they want students to write effective essays that answer basic questions. For instance, one student wrote about how her creativity and skills were enhanced by her musical efforts over the past decade. She will not major in that, but it answered the question about what the committee should know about her that was so important in her youth and will aid her in college.

You can find many suggestions, and I tell students to read extensively prior to starting this effort. Here is one of them:

In reality, no one can write a perfect essay, but he or she can present a message to the schools that will be impressive and will reflect who they are and what they can bring to the university or college.

If you are interested in starting your odyssey toward college this summer, you can contact me at my website:

Good luck!

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