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Why the College Essay Draft Is Just That, a Draft

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

A few weeks ago I had a student present her first college essay to me. To give you an idea, this is a student who quite frankly has it all. She’s an AP scholar, a model athlete, and has the personality of someone I could hang out with all day.

I was so excited to read her personal statement because I know how exceptionally cool she is and I couldn’t wait to see how that transcribed onto paper.

Though after I read it, I immediately wondered how I could help. The reason being is that although it was a decent essay, I knew it did not do her justice. We both knew what she wanted to say, but for some reason it was not coming out in the way that she intended.

That’s when it became my goal to help her execute who she is in a way that would pull a stranger in and form a connection.

You see, while I myself could read her draft and see her standing there, I knew that someone else reading it wouldn’t be able to grasp what's made her who she is without some serious editing.

So what did she do? She worked on it…and she worked on it…and she worked on it.

We scratched lines. She re-wrote. We brainstormed. We laughed.

In the final stage, she ended up writing a completely different essay, but that’s something that’s actually quite normal.

From day one, it had nothing to do with her being a poor writer. This student had it within her from the very start. It just took some guidance to pull it out of her.

This is something I feel to be an important message for students because it’s part of our human nature to struggle with criticism.

However, the reality is that the criticism was actually a compliment.

They say that coaches and teachers are sometimes the hardest on those they see to have the most potential. Always remember that when you see a red line on your paper. Writing and re-writing is totally okay. It’s part of a process that you can’t skip, no matter how great of a writer you are.

Rome was not built in a day and your college essays won’t be built quickly either.

Though, neither is anything worth stopping to look at.

If your student is in need of help with their college essay and supplemental pieces, fill out a contact form today!

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