Knowing how to write top college essays is a key skill when it comes to college admissions. Yet, it’s not an easy task for high-schoolers.
The good news is, as a parent, there are some easy ways you can help your child develop good writing skills.
Not only will this help him getting into the college of choice, but it will serve your child well throughout his education.
Start by learning these tips to help your child write top college essays, below.
CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn the best ways to help your child write top college essays, including:
- Top Tips for College Essay Writing
- Read the Instructions Carefully
- Do Your Own Research
- Start with a Compelling Introduction
- Read Great Admission Essays
- Have a Conversation About the College Essay Timeline
- Be a Sounding Board, Not the Driving Force
- Seek an Outside Reader
- Final Thoughts on Top College Essays
Top Tips for College Essay Writing
There are professional admission essay writers everywhere. They can surely help your children prepare brilliant papers.
However, if you want them to grasp some skills and submit a self-authored essay as required by colleges, there is work you’ll need to do on your end. Most of the work will be done by your child, but they may need some guidance.
Here are the top tips to help your child succeed at what can seem like an overwhelming task.
1. Read the Instructions Carefully
The first thing to look at is the instructions. Remember that no one can write a brilliant report without reading the instructions and the essay prompt carefully.
Any writer needs to be aware of the word limit, format, topic, and particular points to make in an essay. A college essay is no different, and your child must cover these requirements to complete the task well.
Here are all the ways reading instructions can help them:
- Eliminate ambiguity by defining the topic
- Know how to define and approach the task
- Clarify the tone they are aiming for
- Identify how long are college essays
- Make researching the topic easier
- Save writing and revision time, now that assignment is fully understood
The key here is to spend around five to eight minutes reading the question properly and then move to the next time.
You never want to make the mistake of rushing into the draft, as your child might be inclined to do. Instead, be sure to take a few minutes to completely understand the assignment.
This can be a game-changer if you want your child to write the best college application essays possible.
2. Do Your Own Research
Students often try to find ways to avoid research.
They don’t know how to conduct proper research, especially when it comes to writing college application essays. It is perhaps the most resented bit of working on a paper, with a lot of pressure.
Well, you can change that.
Data and information are available everywhere, and you can help them find it.
Once your child understands the topic, teach them ways to conduct proper research to find suitable data. Yes, statistics and analysis strengthen all written work. Quotes for college essays can also be compelling.
Your child can find supporting information:
- On the internet
- In books, articles, journals, and newspapers
- Through personal interviews
- By performing some fresh research through surveys
The more information your child has at their disposal, the better the paper becomes.
Ideally, you should guide your children to allow 40 percent of their time for fresh and focused research. Copying another paper from the internet (even if it’s paraphrased) will not do the trick.
3. Start with a Compelling Introduction
If you want your child to write a good college application essay, it helps if they develop the practice of mastering the introduction.
This, sometimes called the “lead” or “lede,” is the first part of the entire paper. It becomes the first impression of your skillset on the reader. It also serves to pique the reader’s interest in what you have to say.
If the introduction is bland, the essay loses credibility, and the reader may not continue reading.
Do yourself a favor and help your child write a fantastic introduction. It should cover these four basic things:
- Give a brief background of the topic
- State the purpose of the paper
- Mention the thesis statement
- Have a strong and catchy hook
It might sound simple to do, but many students stumble with this thesis.
It can be a single sentence, but shouldn’t go more than three lines. Remember to state the essay’s purpose and summarize the article in a few sentences.
One writing trick is to save the introduction until the very end. Then, when your child is done writing everything else, it becomes easier to summarize. (It also prevents going astray from the thesis!)
4. Read Great Admissions Essays
Admission essays can have different topics, for instance, why you want to be a nurse?
Your child might not have ever thought about any of these topics, which is why it can be intimidating for them. To help eliminate the fear of a challenge, you can get them to read great essay samples.
The more they read well-written essays, the better they will recognize good form and learn to put their best foot forward without stress or anxiety.
Encourage them to read op-ed pieces in magazines or the college essays of other students who have been admitted to their school of choice. This will help them formulate their own expression.
In the best pieces, your child will recognize good sentence formation and changes in tone and emotion. That will help them learn how to organize the information in a meaningful way.
You can go through a few samples with them and discuss what they like and don’t like about each. Then, their own voice will become clearer.
5. Have a Conversation About the College Essay Timeline
When it comes to deadlines, your child might not have the time management skills to stay on track. Hopefully, their high school teachers have been a positive influence for school essay writing in that regard.
But then, it becomes more difficult as they get closer to graduating because–well, they’re teenagers. And they’re “so done” and ready to graduate.
So, you’ll want to gently encourage progress on their college essays without nagging. Oftentimes, the more pressure you apply, the more push-back you get.
Instead, talk to your kids about their feelings about the deadline. Ask how you can help make it easier for them. For instance, one idea is to offer to take over some of their chores for a certain period to free up their writing time.
A proper discussion about how you can help support them to achieve their goals will benefit them now, and in the long run.
6. Be a Sounding Board, Not the Driving Force
When your child is about to write a college application essay, it may seem a little late to ensure they have found their passion. But it’s a good opportunity to ask some important questions.
For instance, do they want to pursue the degree they are applying for? Do they want to secure admission to this specific college? Is their future path clear to them?
Don’t be alarmed if it’s as clear as mud to them right now. A lot of pressure is put on high school kids today to know exactly what they want and to get into the best colleges.
If that’s what’s keeping them from finishing their college essays, sssure them that it’s okay not to be so certain right now.
Getting into “the right” college is only a starting point. If it’s not the right fit, he or she can always transfer or change majors. This may help take some of the pressure off, and clear the path to writing.
Try to be a sounding board that helps them become better focused on their educational path over time, not the driving force. Otherwise, they will never develop the skill.
7. Seek an Outside Reader for Editing College Essay
Writing a college admission essay can take up a lot of energy. Your mind and your child’s mind may be exhausted when the paper is finished.
But there are a few more steps before it’s ready to be sent in for consideration. So rather than waiting until the last minute to finish and submit it, build in some extra time for these final tasks.
The first step is to find someone else to read your child’s college essay with fresh eyes.
Make sure you and your child choose a person you both trust. They should be good with language skills and be able to provide constructive criticism. This might be a teacher, a writer, or someone else in academia who is willing to offer some feedback.
By inviting someone outside the family to review your child’s essay, it will remove any bias. You’ll want to know if they think the paper is enough to retain the reader’s attention and if it delivers the point properly.
Another advantage of taking a break from the essay for a week or two so someone else can review it is that it will allow your child some time to decompress before making edits.
Which brings us to the second step in editing college admissions essays for a final polish: put the essay through a grammar checker. Here are some useful options you can consider:
- ProWriting Aid
Most tools offer free and premium options. Both will catch grammar, spelling, and other errors. Because now is not the time for careless mistakes.
Remember, the goal is for the paper to be its best.
Final Thoughts on Writing Top College Essays
All these tips and tricks will come in handy when your child is tasked with writing an essay for their college applications. Keep in mind, they may have to write several college supplemental essays in addition to the Common Application essay, too.
For some this will be easy to do, for other’s, much harder.
In any case, it will take some time and effort. But helping your child to learn how to write a good essay will be time well-invested.
And once you know you’re child is on the path to a bright future, you can begin reinventing yourself as an empty-nester.
Photos: Pexels, Pixabay
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