Editing Your College Essay… and Seeking Outside Opinions
Once you’ve finished a draft you are satisfied with, it’s time to edit and seek outside opinions.
Not even the best authors in the world can write a final draft at the first sitting. Good writing takes time — for reflection, editing, and rewriting.
So, once you’re happy with a current draft of your essay, put it aside for a few days.
And while you’re trying not to think about it, share the essay with a teacher, parent, or other adult (or several of them) and solicit their honest opnions.
Here are some questions you could ask them to consider as they are reading your essay:
- What is the essay about?
- Have I used active voice verbs wherever possible?
- Is my sentence structure varied or do I use all long or all short sentences?
- Do you detect any cliches?
- Do I use transition appropriately?
- Do I use imagery often and does this make the essay clearer and more vivid?
- What’s the best part of the essay?
- What about the essay is memorable?
- What’s the worst part of the essay?
- What parts of the essay need elaboration or are unclear?
- What parts of the essay do not support your main argument or are immaterial to your case?
- Is every single sentence crucial to the essay? This MUST be the case.
- What does the essay reveal about your personality?
- Could anyone else have written this essay?
Once the time has past — and you have some feedback — it’s time to go to the next step: rewriting.
Need help with any of the terms described on this page? If so, find the answers in our High School College-Bound and College Planning Glossary.
Return to the main page of the College Planning Tutorial.
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