At Write Start Prep, we recognize the importance of the College Essay, and our Essay Planning provides students with feedback and guidance as they write. We work with students on the Common App, supplemental essays, and short-answer questions. Our goal is to help students craft well written, authentic essays that reveal the person behind the high school transcript.
Through one-on-one sessions, our essay coaches help students generate ideas, organize and expand their paragraphs, and come up with an authentic essay. Our step-by-step essay help sometimes means getting students to consider a) what colleges are looking for or b) how a certain essay will sound to colleges. But for every student, essay help means providing detailed suggestions on how to improve the essay. Of course, we make suggestions about grammar and punctuation, but we also focus on bigger strategic questions, like whether the essay is going into enough depth about the student’s experiences and interests or whether the essay is sufficiently clear about how different experiences and interests connect.
Of course, we don’t write students’ College Essays for them. There are many ways to write an outstanding College Essay, but the bottom line is that it has to be authentic. And authenticity is a risk for high school students, who often struggle with writing about themselves. In fact, some of our best moments at Write Start Prep have been those moments when our message gets through, and a student realizes that who she is and what she cares about isn’t a liability at all but the core of a truly outstanding College Essay.
WHEN SHOULD I START ON THE COLLEGE ESSAY?
The summer after junior year is usually the best time for students to start writing the College Essay. Application deadlines for Early Action or Early Decision tend to be November 1st or November 15th, and, for many schools, the deadline for Regular Decision is January 1st and January 15th.
Because the fall semester of senior year can be very busy, students should try to complete a strong draft of the College Essay over the summer. When students give themselves sufficient time to write and edit drafts, they tend to write a more creative and successful essay.
HOW MANY HOURS OF ESSAY PLANNING DO I NEED?
Every student’s rate of progress is different, and a great deal depends on the time that students put into creating and expanding drafts between meetings. (Often students schedule weekly meetings so that they have a few days to revise their essay and develop new ideas.)
For students who haven’t started the College Essay or have a very rough draft, it usually takes 4-5 hours (spread out over 2 weeks or more) to complete the final draft. For students with a strong draft of the College Essay, it often takes 2-3 hours to complete the final draft. Supplemental essays and short-answer questions can be completed more quickly, but the timing varies depending on how many supplemental materials colleges ask for.
CAN I GET FEEDBACK ON MY FINAL DRAFT?
Yes! For students who have completed their College Essay, we offer Proofreading. First, our expert writers will examine your essay’s structure, grammar, transitions, and word choice, and provide suggestions to improve the essay’s readability and narrative flow. We make recommendations on whether to condense or develop paragraphs on specific experiences or interests. Finally, we consider how the essay will sound to colleges and how complete a picture of the student it presents (based on the student’s List of High School Activities).
If a College Essay needs a great deal of revision, we will make a recommendation for Essay Help and provide an estimate of how much time it would take to finish.
WHAT IF MY COLLEGE ESSAY IS DUE TOMORROW?
For last-minute essay help, please try to provide us with at least 2 days notice for Proofreading and 3 days notice for Essay Help. Because so many students share the same deadlines, our schedule can fill up quickly. If your deadline is coming up, please call us as soon as possible.
Note: For Last-Minute Proofreading, we charge an extra $20 fee. For Last-Minute Essay Coaching, we charge an extra $15 fee on the first 1.5 hours of coaching. Any additional coaching is charged the regular rate.