We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.  

Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)


The Personal Essay

The purpose of a college essay is for the admissions panel to discover more about who your student is and how capable they are of communicating through writing.  Most college applications contain some sort of essay, whether short answer or longer form. While a student’s numbers and letters—test scores and grades—are critical factors in the making of admission decisions, essays may be just as important, especially for highly selective colleges.

The number one reason students get nervous about the college application process is because they fear writing the essay.  In all their years of schooling, they likely haven’t ever been explicitly taught how to write about themselves.   They may need help in choosing a proper topic that is personal and showcases an important characteristic of them as an individual. Even before senior year, you can help your student come up with quality essay topics.  Stories from their past, seen from your perspective, might jostle loose some ideas that can become really great and unique essays.

There are some topics, however, that shouldn’t be written on: sex, alcohol or drugs, personal struggles with suicide or mental illness are tops on the list.  Revealing criminal activity is also a big no-no (even if they learned a great deal from the experience).  Additionally, there are some topics that are overdone and should be avoided, such as essays on common novels (Catcher in the Rye & To Kill a Mockingbird), the game-winning athletic comeback, and wanting to make the world a better place by promoting world peace.

They may have to write multiple essays for many different purposes - don’t reinvent the wheel.  Many essays can be reused for other college essay requirements or scholarships, BUT make sure that the essay really answers the question and is edited so that you don’t mention one college in another’s essay (yikes).  

And it is NEVER ok to use someone else’s words as their own (even their parents), which means that your teenager must write his/her own essay in their own words.  This is their endeavor and they must own it and do all their own original work.  



Get started on the Personal Essay

The Personal Essay should be just that: personal.  It should reflect a time in your student’s life that was meaningful and important and changed them for the better.

Sit with your student and reminisce about their past and help them see meaningful moments from a different perspective.  The more unique the story, the more easily it will stand out in a sea of admissions essays.  

TIP #1

Feels like summer is just about here…help them stay focused on their school work and finishing up 11th grade on a high note!  This will be the final semester that will most likely be calculated for their GPA on collage applications – make it a good one!

TIP #2 

Identify 1-2 companies or businesses in your local area that may be interesting to them. Schedule a day over the summer for them to observe and job shadow. They might learn a whole bunch AND even meet some great people!

myOWNEDU for Schools!

We work with schools to bring college planning courses to students and offer free College Planning Presentations for parents.  Learn more by clicking here.