By Kathy Laberge, College Admissions Coach
At the College Advisor of New York we are grinning in anticipation. This is the time of year we launch our writing season and we simply cannot wait!
Every coach on our staff devotes substantial effort to knowing their students well. When an applicant demonstrates their candidacy in an articulate, convincing, and original fashion they increase their chances for admission. As we have discussed in in prior blog posts, this year we believe application essays will be of utmost importance to colleges. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced high schools into several unfortunate situations for the Class of 2021. These students, many of whom have been wholeheartedly devoted to their studies for the past several years, now find themselves without the concrete evidence of their earned success. Our staff is eager to reap the rewards of all this dedication. Our commitment to our students and our students’ commitment to their goals is sure to shine a spotlight on our applicants this fall in college admission offices.
The College Advisor of New York staff teaches our students how to demystify the varied writing statements and supplemental essays that are intrinsic to college applications. As admission professionals we know exactly what colleges want to see in student writing. Equally important, we know what colleges do not want to see. We also understand that one size does not fit all, and therefore we coach our students to the best approach for each individual college. Every college application offers multiple, sometimes obscure, opportunities for personal comment. We know where to find these mysterious gems and how to employ them to the best advantage of our clients. Best of all, we think this is a lot fun!
Our office has helped students write thousands of essays and no two are ever alike. There is no recognizable style or pattern we promote. Every student and every essay receive a deliberate, thoughtful approach, so the finished product is unique and personal. While we speak extensively with our clients before a pen ever touches paper (or a fingertip touches a key) we do operate by a set of guidelines.
Colleges want to hear an authentic voice. They also expect a writing sample commensurate with the other components of the student’s application and transcript. Parental editing and rewriting are visible within the first one hundred words. Revisions demanded by rubric minded English teachers do not serve our students well. Essays that are so reworked they are excruciatingly formal and formulaic are boring and tortured. Our students write essays that cause application readers to wake up and take notice. As a college writing coach that makes me very proud.
Students and parents often overlook one important piece of information. Here is the secret: Admission officers truly like college applicants. They appreciate every applicant, and they want to admit every student. Their job is difficult because they need to choose which qualified members of their pool will not receive an offer of admission.
We are lucky to not suffer that problem at our office. We get to revel in the quirks of all our students. We are spectators to their self-discovery. We lead students from thinking of themselves as passive teenagers to sovereign and self-reliant young adults. We just finished celebrating our seniors from the Class of 2020 and we eagerly anticipate starting the process all over again.