College Help Essays

Helping Your Student Identify Their Best Stories and Write Their Best College Essays

We’re Experts in College Essay Writing

Collegewise counselors have read thousands of college essays from both sides of the desk—as both admissions officers and college counselors. We know what a great essay looks like, and we know all the clichéd tales to avoid.

And we know how to help teenagers articulate their best essay

We’ve learned how to help teenagers find their best stories. We ask the right questions, listen carefully to the responses, and unearth the kind of interesting, charming, endearing, or just plain compelling tales admissions officers want to read about. We can do the same for your student. We’ll also set deadlines for drafts, offer our written feedback over email, and give the essay a final proofread to make sure it’s error-free. And while we never over-edit or otherwise hijack the essay from the student (admissions officers can always tell when a student received too much help), every year, Collegewise students of all academic levels produce essays that make them proud and improve their applications. Frankly, we love this part of our job.

How much does the essay program cost?

The cost for the program depends on how much help your student needs and how many essays you need help with, but the average cost for an essay program is around $600 (which typically produces about 1,000 words of finished writing when beginning from scratch). Most students come to us before they begin their essays, but we can also offer feedback on essays that have already been written.

What’s the first step?

Contact a counselor in person or online and tell us more about where your student is in the essay process—starting from scratch, needing a second opinion on finished work, or somewhere in between. We hope to hear from you.

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Assistance on College Admissions Essays

There’s a piece up on “Inside Higher Ed” today that focuses on assistance on college admissions essays.

If you’re seeking assistance on college admissions essays, know that good writing is about rewriting. Very rarely is a first draft of an essay or a book or a play the finished product. Good writing is all about starting over, revising, reordering, peppering in new details, starting over yet again, and more. This is true of all sorts of writing. It’s true of television writing. TV writers write first drafts, then production company executives give their notes on how to make that draft better, then studio executives give another round of notes before it goes into the network for network notes. Often times, there are multiple rounds of production company, studio, and network notes. While it drives TV writers mad (and sometimes the notes are not good!), there’s a reason this process exists — because in most instances it pulls out the best writing from these artists. It’s true of college essay writing too. Students don’t knock out outstanding college admissions essays on the first pass. Great essays require notes, edits, and feedback.

Assistance on College Admissions Essays

On that note, there’s a piece up on “Inside Higher Ed” today written by Scott Jaschik entitled “When Application Essay ‘Help’ Crosses a Line” that we figured we’d address. In the piece, Jaschik highlights instances when students solicit help on their college admissions essays that ends up going overboard. And we absolutely agree that some folks can go overboard with their assistance on college essays — so much so that a student’s voice disappears entirely. Yikes!

But just as too much help is unacceptable, we’d argue that too little help is also unacceptable. In the piece by Jaschik, Mark Sklarow, the CEO of the Independent Educational Consultants Association — an organization to which Ivy Coach is proudly not a member — is quoted as saying, “When you are looking at a student’s essay, don’t have a pen or pencil in your hand. Your job is not to change words or grammar. It’s to talk to student about whether from a content standpoint, is it revealing something? Are you letting an admissions director know who you are? When you have that pen in hand, you are probably making too many edits.”

Well, for starters, who uses paper and pen these days? It’s 2017, Mr. Sklarow. Secondly, it is preposterous to suggest that an independent college counselor should not address (and fix!) poor grammar or word choice. If a student makes a grammatical error, you bet we’re going to fix it. We would never allow a student to apply to colleges with grammatical errors in their admissions essays and any independent college counselor that did allow a student to do so, well, we’d argue they’re not any good.

We’d be mortified if a student of ours submitted essays with grammatical errors to college. Now that doesn’t mean our students can’t submit fragments. Fragments can be powerful if used appropriately. It doesn’t mean our students can’t start sentences with “and” or “but.” We love it when our students write in a colloquial tone. But grammatical errors? No way. Never. We strongly suggest you not listen to this particular advice of Mark Sklarow, a man who has openly defied the very bylaws of the organization he leads.

If you understand that we have no intention of allowing any student (ever!) to submit grammatical errors to colleges and you’re seeking assistance on college admissions essays, fill out our free consult form and we’ll be in touch. But if you’re looking for someone to tell you that your essay is great as is and those six spelling errors are perfectly fine, well, you’ve come to the wrong place.

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