Paying for Help for College Essays

This time of year, I am often asked by friends and colleagues about resources for helping high school students craft their personal statements and college essays. Many believe that just like resume writing, there are experts out there they can pay to do this and the same should hold true for these important pieces.

This is an ethical dilemma for many resume professionals; a black and white issue for others. While many college admissions professionals recognize that students have help from parents and other well meaning adults with editing and proofing their work, and even providing helpful tips, many can also recognize a piece that has been heavily coached or even professionally written. Think about it – they read thousands of these. They know what kind of content and skill level to expect from a rising high school senior. If the essay or personal statement is out of synch with the rest of the application, or they have reason to question its true reflection of the student as a person (the purpose of the personal statement) they may see red flags.

This differs from professional resume writing in that this is part of an application process. It’s designed to be reflective of a potential student’s abilities to handle rigorous academics and/or to give insights into admission professionals regarding “fit” for your child. My heartfelt advice would be to let your college bound teenager go it alone with you providing your well honed parental wisdom and guidance as necessary. There are many good resources on the topic. Here is one I particularly like:¬†https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/essays/8-tips-for-crafting-your-best-college-essay.

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