Need someone to read and edit short answers for application

Both the applicant and the parent are uncomfortable with the responses as written and the OP has asked for guidance. Of course, the final answers should be the work product of the applicant. There is no problem in offering suggestions, guidance, and examples.

Especially important to refine the response to question #4 as it is non-responsive.

The responses listed by OP are not written well, but do show personality.

I find this to be a teaching & learning opportunity. When someone reaches out for assistance, I prefer to offer help. The applicant should use the guidance offered to assist in refining her written responses.

P.S. It is also worthy of note that the applicant is a rising high school junior. Writing at this stage of one’s education should be much more clear and concise.

The OP’s daughter needs to avoid the appearance of having help from an adult. I think the rewrites verge on dishonesty. The student needs to write her own answers. They do not have to be perfect.

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Please read my last response in which I indicated that my suggestions and examples should be used as guidance to redo her responses.

I actually think those answers are really good as they are.They show heart, care, concern, and engagement - and, very importantly, they sound like they were written in the voice of a HS student. I edit the writing of others every day at my job but I think a HS student’s application of this sort is different. I don’t see any glaring grammatical or composition errors.

I noted that #6 didn’t have an answer. Thinking she might want to craft something for that?


@Jolynne_Smyth wrote: “I don’t see any glaring grammatical or composition errors.”

Really ? I encourage you to reread the responses to #3, #5, and #7.

Are you comfortable with response #4 ?

Please remember that the writer is a rising high school junior. It is important to be clear and concise when responding to questions otherwise this student is likely to be placed in a remedial course as a college freshman.

Ok, both I and my daughter have read the responses and appreciate the comments. In regards to question 6, she is still trying to come up with something for that one. She is not really sure what they mean by opportunities, job, educational, social, etc. As far as question 4, not really sure why the answer is inadequate? I agree it could be better, but not really sure what the major problem is with it. She really liked the suggestions for response #7 as she felt that she didn’t really know how to convey her thoughts well on that one. Response 3 and 5 suggestions are drastically shorter, it seems very short, does it not need more detail?

I realize that the writing does not seem very advanced for someone going into the 11th grade, but it is on level with the majority her age at our school. Unfortunately English has always been a particular weakness at our school, even when I graduated in 1991. Most people have to learn how to write when they go to college, her older brother just finished his 2nd year of college and his writing has greatly improved from where he was in high school.

She is fine with criticism, but doesn’t really know how to better answer question 4 and has not yet figured out how to answer 6. The program teaches leadership through team building and lots of volunteer work, so that is why she was emphasizing the giving back on question 4. Do you have suggestions of what she needs to be conveying on that question?

@HearttoDixie I have PM’ed you. Look at your avatar on the top right of the page.

For Number 4: If she wants to use her brother as an example, she should be more specific in what positive changes she saw in her brother, whether it’s more confidence, compassion, leadership skills, etc.

And she should get right to her answers instead of repeating the question in the answer in all questions. EX. 4 Junior Leadership Program is a great opportunity… Then put in about the brother. End with why she wants to be a part of it and also what she can bring to the program. Ex. patience, willingness to learn new things, desire to help, etc. And break the long sentences up

Re-read each paragraph. She has many long sentences that should be 2 or more sentences. (Lots of ‘ands’)

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  1. Fine

  2. Missing an opportunity to add something that shows her personality more. Example: “Doing these things helps me feel energized…”

  3. Too much about what the nurse did first, then second, then third. She doesn’t actually wrap up WHY she admires the nurse in a way that reflects back on herself.

  4. Would be nice if she could offer a more specific reason and not repeat opportunity three times. What will she DO with the opportunity?

  5. Fine

  6. No response?

  7. Would be better if she could mention WHY these activities matter. Too much description of the activities whihc isn’t interesting. She could, for instance, say how she loves meeting the people who come to the baseball games, how she enjoys the responsibility of work8ng with the manager to count the money taken, etc…

Don’t you think that the last two sentences in Response #5 are run-on sentences that need to be shortened ?

Also, Question #5 asks the applicant to address one specific problem, therefore the first two sentences in the applicant’s response are not appropriate.

With respect to Response #5 as edited : Yes, she could add a brief sentence regarding her concern about the effect of plastic bottles on the environment. (I have added an example of such a sentence in my first response above.)

Regarding Response #3 as edited: Do not use another person’s name in the answer; simply stating the relationship is enough of an identifier.

Yes, she could add additional details to edited Response #3, but your daughter should try to be more concise in her answer than she was in her original version.

Response #4 as written by your daughter should not use her brother’s name and probably should not mention him at all. This question is directed to your daughter, not your son. However, it is fine to list the benefits of participation that were realized by your son as benefits that attract your daughter to the program. It is clear, for example, that your daughter wants to meet new people and that she enjoys helping others.

My suggestions are designed to help your daughter express herself in a clear and concise manner.

Once your daughter reviews my suggestions, she should better understand how to efficiently and effectively convey her thoughts in her own words.

P.S. It is very difficult to work with more than one editor per project. In my opinion, you did the right thing by seeking guidance in order to help your daughter learn to express her thoughts in a more clear and concise fashion.

Generally, on this forum, help with essays is done via PM. It is rare for content to be posted publicly. I am willing to help via PM but there are too many differences in philosophy between posters for me to be comfortable doing so in the public forum.

Certainly a few sentences could be tightened up but the concise version offered by one poster here leaves out too much.

Public school students are often trained to repeat the question when responding in exams. That does not make for sophisticated, magazine-level writing but seems appropriate for this age level and purpose. Etc.

Again, I think that essay help should be done via PM for privacy reasons as well as in order to sort through various approaches behind the scenes.


Compmom - I agree - would suggest that for her daughter’s privacy the poster remove this thread and communicate via PM. These boards are entirely public - her daughter’s identifying info and the fact of her accessing editing help shouldn’t be out there. That being said - I don’t think some light editing is any sort of ethical problem - students get such assistance at writing centers and in my daily work colleagues (even those at the highest levels) edit each other’s work.

And agree about differing editorial opinions! For instance - publisher, you have some very thoughtful comments. However, I’m always looking at my audience when writing and who is the audience here? Not someone reading a tech manual. :wink: It’s people deciding whether a HS junior should participate in a local leadership program. As such, conciseness might detract from the heart and enthusiasm which come through on the OPs original version and which - to my mind - are the key factors in such an application. Again, differing views - one not necessarily more valid than others. :slight_smile:


I view working on an essay with a student as a relationship that takes time. Light editing is fine of course, but generally it is best to coax changes rather than direct them. For instance, rather than offering concise versions of the text, it may be better to ask the student “Can you think of ways to make this more concise?” Or, “I didn’t really understand why you enjoyed these activities, can you be more specific?” Etc.

This kind of interaction happens best via PM over time. It preserves the agency and personality of the student while improving the quality of the writing. It takes a lot of back and forth. It is different from editing at the workplace, yes- a very good point.

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Maybe, but they are not egregious and IMO, she has answered the question. Over editing is bad. It sounds like a teen wrote it, and it addresses the question. Her reasons are solid.

When I work with students, I aim to leave some “imperfections.” If I was being paid to work with this student, I would suggest she trim a few words in #5, but I get the impression that the OP is looking for glaring errors or fixable issues, so in my above answer I’m only focusing on what I feel is problematic.

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Thank you for your response. I think that your response shows why one should only work with one editor per article or other writing. Different editors use different techniques.

Helping the writer to organize and present her thoughts in a more clear and concise form does not constitute “over-editing” as it assists inexperienced writers in sharing his or her message. If you read all of my comments, I encourage the young writer to use my edits as a framework.

I purposely used a sterile style in this exercise in order to focus on organization and clear expression of thought from which the writer can then fashion a response in her own words which should add warmth and show her writers voice.

I hope that you reread my comments included with my edits in order to better understand the method that I used in this instance.

I find your comments and all of the comments in this thread to be thoughtful and sincere, but quite different with respect to editorial style. Once again, this illustrates why one should only work with one editor per project = consistency in style & method.

For anyone wanting feedback on a specific writing piece, please use our pilot program in the College Essays and Writing Help category. Closing this thread to push all further conversation to PM.

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