Who Should Edit Your College Admissions Essay?

on June 20, 2017

Although finishing a first draft of a college essay is a sigh of relief, you're not finished until you've edited your essay. This probably will require multiple drafts with significant changes. Your final essay should read like a story with a purpose, showing admissions officers who you are, how you’ve grown and why you'll thrive at a particular college. 


To ensure your essay has all of these qualities and reads nicely, consider asking someone you trust to help you make revisions. Here are some tips on who to ask:


Family or Friends


Your parents, siblings and friends know you better than anyone, so they can help you identify your best qualities and choose the right anecdotes to discuss in your essay. Family and friends can help you make connections and expand upon ideas in your piece. Keep in mind, though, that because they know you so well, they'll be unable to provide an objective opinion on your essay. After all, they want you to be accepted as much as you do. Their input can be valuable, but seek out an additional, impartial editor. 




Teachers can be great resources when it comes to college essay advice, and they've likely edited many college essays. They know you personally, but also are used to viewing you more objectively. They'll be able to identify strengths and weaknesses in your piece that might not be obvious. Also, because they're teachers, they're more likely to catch errors than family members or friends. Make sure to ask them far in advance. Your teachers are busy enough as it is, and they'll be doing you a big favor if they agree to read your essay.


College Counselors


Your college counselor might not know you as well as your family, friends or teachers, but they are trained to know all the details of the college admissions process, and their insight will almost certainly prove valuable. They're more likely to know whether an essay topic will appeal to a specific college’s admissions criteria or not. They've also read many admissions essays, so they'll be able to identify clichés and help you avoid common missteps. Again, ask far in advance, because they'll probably be reading many essays during the busy period of college applications. 


Essay Editing Services


There are many college editing services available online and through various organizations. They'll help you write a grammatically correct, well-written essay. The downside is that they won't be able to speak to your individual voice. Exercise caution when taking the advice of these services. They recommend the same tactics to many applicants, so your essay could end up seeming too generic. Professional editing services are best used in conjunction with a family member or friend. 

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