By the end of their junior year, high school students have largely locked in place their class rank and G.P.A.’s, but they can still distinguish themselves through the all-important personal essay(s) on their college admissions applications. As I found working as a Merit Scholarships Counselor for the Wake Forest University Admissions Office, a beautiful, powerful, tightly-written essay makes an applicant stand out and can tip the scale in the admissions process.
I have worked with high school students through the entire college application process: organizing the application components, making a timeline of deadlines, writing and editing a resume, preparing materials for recommendation writers, and brainstorming, drafting, editing, and proofreading the personal essay(s). Colleges intend for students to embark upon a personal journey when writing the personal essay, embracing their adult selves and understanding who they are ethnically and have become ethically. It takes time–and many drafts–to get the essay to the place where admissions counselors at competitive colleges will take notice. Even well-prepared students with a strong writing background benefit from the help of a coach and an editor.