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College Talk Blog

Mama don't let your babies submit essays that you wrote

The voices of individual students and each generation of students is distinctive. It does not sound like parents in cadence, language, punctuation or thought process.
Yet, every year I meet parents who think it is a good idea to write their children's essays.

College application essays give students a chance to let colleges know them as people. The best creator of a who am I message is the person who is the subject of the essay.

There are four reasons that allowing a parent to write a teen's college essay is a bad idea:

  • it deprives the student of a rite of passage
  • it encourages dishonesty
  • it communicates a lack of confidence in the ability of the student to write
  • it is likely to keep the student from being accepted at a college

Dead giveaways that a parent wrote an essay include using words a teen would never use, pandering to the reader and a lack youthful enthusiasm and fresh ideas. Parents concerned about the essays of their teens can help by brainstorming ideas with them and helping them develop an outline. Beyond that, parents can proof read and give encouragement to teens to edit until the essay is in the best form it can be.

The best essays are ideas that are written about, re-written, edited, edited and edited. This is an exercise that requires teen ideas, thought process and a significant amount of time.

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