The waiting begins

<p>This is sort of a revival of a thread from the old forum.
DD is turning in her first batch of applications to the GC today - ED, RD and rolling. That only leaves the hard ones, ie, those with extra essays.
Only the waiting is left.</p>

<p>My only worry/could she have done better is the essay. She did get a smiley face from her English teacher who reads all the seniors' essays and is notorious "wicked" hard to please. Essay writing is not taught or emphasized at her school, particularly not the type of introspective, yet concise essay that makes a great college essay - I read one of her first drafts after much coercion (I had vowed not to read them, I was a copy editor in college , and I didn't think I could keep my fingers off), and it needed work. I made lots of suggestions, against my better judgment, but it really read like she wrote it in 10 minutes, and didn't re-read it. She had read Balch's book, I saw her read it, but I don't think any of it "stuck". I will say, when she wrote the short answer about an activity, after she finished the big essay, it was much better, had the same "voice", rhythm, etc. but otherwise was 100% better. Hopefully, she'll get into the groove and the extra essays for the RD schools will be even better. I understand now what I had read before about kids thinking their later applications were better than the ED one!</p>

<p>This is another test prep, being in the know advantage - a school that actually teaches college essay writing, gives their kids a true leg up - on paper, my child would look like she would produce a good essay easily, but this is a different thing than an AP or SAT test, definitely.</p>

<p>Hi Cangel,</p>

<p>You gotta take a step back.</p>

<p>Is her essay still a work in progress or is it her final draft? Sometimes theycan get so bogged down in the process of getting their thoughts out, that the proof reading is not there. Maybe she needs to get a way from it for a moment and then will come back to it with fresh eyes and she will see things differently.</p>

<p>You would be suprised at the number of students who do not know how to write a college paper (APA/MLA format, citing etc) because it is not covered on the AP or SAT tests. D has friends who got 5's on the AP and 800 on the writing and were a little lost when their first paper was assigned. </p>

<p>I think that is one of the reasons why next year at Dartmouth everyone has to take writing regardless of how one has done on the SAT/AP</p>

Congrats to your daughter for getting those apps ready! The waiting will be hard, but at least she is on track. Best wishes to her! -- Momof2 in CA</p>

<p>You're right Mom, we have to congratulate the small victories or in this case a major one because they are written, she can always go back and edit.</p>

<p>Cangle, my S had the same problem. His CommonApp essay was so-so, and interesting subject about his imperfect teeth but not so well written. It even included at least one misspelling and several grammatical boo boos. His short "Why Oberlin" essay was quite well written however and described the impressions he had during his visit the prior spring.</p>

<p>While this may have had dire consequences with some AdComms, he was accepted to every college he applied to including Oberlin, Case and Rensselaer and received excellent merit scholarships from Case and RPI. Zip from Obie however.</p>

<p>Cangel: it's so hard to read the college essay with objectivity as a parent, let alone with the eyes of someone who has to get through fifty of them before dinner. Looking back, it is clear to me that my invaluable suggestions to my son on his essay only bogged him down. It was his essay, not mine. I was sure it was inadequate, but eventually gave up and surrendered to the fates. Imagine my surprise when he got a postcard from an admissions person at Duke saying it was ine of the best few she had read! I suggest you give some weight to your daughter's English teacher's opinion, and let it go.</p>

<p>I am also keeping my mitts aways from my son's essay. Besides his english teacher (a very good one), he will also run the essay by a family friend and his older cousin. I am so glad that 'college essay' was an assignment in his AP English class.</p>

<p>Oh, Idler & Sybbie, I'm way beyond letting go, I have let go and stepped back - I honestly was dragged kicking and screaming to read it in the first place. Her final draft was what I would call a good, serviceable essay - it won't overly stand out, either in a good or bad way (although I might, like Idler be pleasantly surprised). THe short answer was much better, I think she liked the subject much better.</p>

<p>I'm saying the kids who have practice in writing an anecdote about themselves that illustrates X quality or Y event, and who have someone force them to do real editing have a big advantage - it is real work to edit something down to 200 words and have it remain a good piece of writing that accomplishes its point, ask any newspaper editor. Her writing at school is all about history essays and what did the character in the story mean when he said such and such.</p>

<p>Oh well, 3 more essays to go - I am NOT reading them - she's got the point, she'll do better without me. Knowing she's turning something in is a relief.</p>

<p>I've been reading my son's essays for typos, misspells, grammar errors, etc. But I've stayed away from commenting from what they actually say. They have actually been better than the godawful I was expecting. My son is definitely NOT good at the kind of introspective, highly personal writing they are looking for.</p>

<p>Actually, if you can read for typos, misspells, grammar, etc, it may be good. When I finally read her first draft, 3 other adults had already read it and OKed things. Right off the bat I noticed she had used the word "repelled" for "rappelled", which of course passed spell check - now I'm not saying the English teacher wouldn't have caught that, but more eyes for that type of stuff the better. Another spot the Eng. teacher did miss was an adjective without a noun - the noun was part of the central idea of the essay, and I know he just mentally supplied the word, it had been used 3 times already. "keeping the mitts away" is the hard part.</p>

<p>I've been doing some mild editing of D's essays. I have training in doing that sort of thing, so it makes sense to me to make use of it. She's generally a good writer, but it's always easier to use the first word or phrase that comes to mind rather than thinking hard about what the perfect word or phrase should be. Anyway, giving her constructive criticism on the essays is a much pleasanter experience than teaching her to drive.</p>

<p>"Editing" of my son's (very important) essays consisted of:
(1) I pointed out about 10 grammar mistakes in the short one. I thought that what he said and how he said it were fine and to the point.
(2) I offered a suggestion for the long one that he keep the topic and thoughts behind each paragraph the same and in the same order, but that he completely rewrite each paragraph with one rule in mind: Demonstrate (via an example or a instance) the paragraph's topic, rather than flatly state what he did or thought. I also asked him to add a paragraph at the beginning that would dramatically bring the reader into his topic, rather than starting out: "The reason I am so passionate about my chosen major is..." I offered no suggestions or any other help except those two things. He's rewriting now and I'm anxious to see what he comes up with.</p>

<p>I want to make sure that it's HIS writing and structure, but that GENERAL suggestions to take what he's got and expand on it are not too specific so that his voice continues to come through. I will NOT do any "editing" that results in my words or thoughts ending up on the paper.</p>

<p>I don't let my parents get near my essays. I think if I knew that they were going to read it, I wouldn't get as personal. I think of it as a chance to present myself to the college as I see myself, not as my parents see me.</p>

<p>I ready my son's essay and asked a couple of questions that I think he would have left in the mind of anyone who read it...such as "why did you feel this way?" or "what did you mean here?". It got him thinking about his words from the perspective of an outsider and told him that he needed to explain a couple of things more clearly.</p>

<p>I posted this question on the old board the night that it was changed so I never saw if anyone responded: Are (parentheses) acceptable in a college essay?</p>

<p>I definately used some. I think these essays are pretty long as you feel that the college gets a better sense of your personality and who you are, why be so formal?</p>

<p>Sorry if I made it sound like nobody read my essays before. I have two college counselors who read my essays, but I guess for people who don't have that resource, parents are good.</p>

<p>S promises he'll write the essay this weekend for his ED application. CC parents helped a few months ago when I floated a potential essay topic. So he has a good topic and some solid examples. It's just "fingers to keyboard."
It seems every time I mention writing the essay, he has another government paper, or English paper, or something else to do for his REAL homework.</p>

<p>But there is a lot of real homework! Senior isn't easy you know.</p>

<p>"Anyway, giving her constructive criticism on the essays is a much pleasanter experience than teaching her to drive."</p>

<p>This cracks me up as I can SO relate.The problem right now for me, is that I am giving feedback on many college essays lately and ALSO teaching her to drive all fall. Woe is me!</p>

<p>I think that teaching to drive was much easier than essay editing assistance.</p>

<p>Susan, Woe to you indeed! D has already told me that for the sake of the mother/daughter relationship, teaching her to drive needs to be put off again for a while.</p>

<p>Interesteddad, I've missed you.</p>