College Essay Cooks in the Kitchen

College Essay Opinions, College Admission Essay Opinions, Opinions on College Essays

Too many cooks in the kitchen evaluating your college essay is a red flag for us (photo credit: Joseph Barillari).

There’s such a thing as having too many college essay cooks in the kitchen. Many times, students and their parents email us asking if we’ll read over their admissions essays. Of course we’ll do that. For our fee. Do they think we just absolutely love reading random students’ college essays for free and would prefer to do that then, say, go to the Grammy Awards this weekend? It often times seems so. But enough with that tangent (hey, just as Nikki Finke changed Hollywood reporting with her snark-infused “,” we put the snark in college admissions blogging). What we’re really writing about today is how too many cooks in the kitchen can destroy college essays.

These same students and parents often write to us and say, “My guidance counselor (or my English teacher) read it over and did some revisions with me and she thinks it’s in great shape.” Ok, so then why again do you want us to read the essays? Because chances are mighty high that we’ll think the essay is terrible. They almost always are. In fact, in our decades in this business, we can recall one essay (one essay!) that was in superb shape before we worked on it with the student. Do you know how many college essays we read every year? Lots!

So the fact that your English teacher read your essay and gave you feedback already makes us cringe. Did they have you start sentences with “however” and “nevertheless,” too? If so, you might want to find your nearest garbage can and toss that college essay right on inside it. And while you’re out there getting advice on your college essays, why not ask your dentist what she thinks of your essay? Or your local fire chief? Maybe your dog-walker? There’s a such thing as having too many people giving you critiques. Instead, trust an expert. Like us. Not your local fire chief. If, however, you need a fire put out, absolutely go to the fire chief.


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