Over the years, we’ve heard from many students who’ve told us that they had their high school English teachers look over their college essays. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s always good to have additional eyes read your college essay writing. Your English teacher may well be able to offer some great feedback. Maybe he or she will correct some grammar or find a typo. Maybe she’ll recommend that you start your college essay at a different point. Maybe she’ll tell you to scrap it entirely and write an essay on another subject.
But, over the years, we’ve also noticed what high school English teachers do wrong. For instance, we’ve seen college essays that high school English teachers have scrutinized by removing any sentences that begin with “and” or “but.” BUT there is nothing wrong with beginning sentences in such a conversational way in your college essays. Maybe it’s not best practices according to grammar queens but, in the highly selective college admissions process, you want to strike an informal tone that captures your unique writing voice.
Also, high school English teachers like students to stick within a finite structure in their college essays. But this structure is often not original. It’s often not special. And it won’t set you apart from the thousands of other college applicants. So before you start taking all of your advice from your well-meaning high school English teacher, you might want to think twice. Not all college essay advice is good advice and that’s the bottom line!