Want to Help Students with Their College Essays? Become a Volunteer Essay Reader on CC

College Confidential is redesigning its Essay Feedback feature. Students and readers will join a private essay feedback group where their essays are not searchable on the internet.

We hope to enlist the skills of enough senior members to make this project a valuable new addition to helping students in their college journey. No special skills are required, and the time commitment is whatever works for you. Students value whatever advice you are able to give, whether it’s helping them work through an idea, or giving more specific advice about a whole essay.

Are you interested in joining in? Use this link to list yourself as a volunteer essay reader.

Your skills and knowledge are the main reason why CC is the best place on the internet to get real help and advice and we appreciate your efforts.

Please read this thread if you’d like to join. It provides tips on how to approach essay reading: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/t/essay-readers-tips-for-reviewing-essays/


I’m interested but would like more information. Will there be any volunteer training/guidelines? Is the point to help with overall topics or actually proofreading?

I’ve helped a few students IRL with their essay concepts and would be comfortable doing that here, but I would be a terrible proofreader (English was not my first language).

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I think any of this is fine. Some people might initially give feedback, then one or two might spend more time with a student until they have done what they can. If a reader is all about ideas, they can just give their perspective on that. If someone just wants to read the end result, they can offer to do that.

Example (very clichéd and hastily created):
Sally writes her essay on the joys of baking. She writes of baking disasters, trial and errors, baking with family, baking to raise money for charity, etc…

But maybe Jake, a reader, doesn’t get enough of sense of what Sally’s goal is with her essay. Jake suggests Sally keeps the focus of the essay on her baking disasters and her trial and error baking attempts because he felt that those aspects of her essay were helping him understand what she wanted the AO to know.

Sally revised her essay and focuses on baking setbacks. Jake felt that a stronger idea was emerging, so he suggested Sally incorporate examples that showed how she was willing to try and fail in her baking.

She asked Jake what he thought about a few ideas. She added a story about ruining one cake and improvising a new recipe at the last minute, which everyone loved… Now her essay shows how she has learned something about herself and not being afraid to try new things, to keep striving to get something right, to enjoy small victories, or other personality characteristics.

With Jake’s feedback, Sally was able to revise her essay so that it was much more clear what Sally wanted an AO to know about her. Jake doesn’t have more time to volunteer on this essay. Maybe Nancy is able to give Sally’s essay a final review because that’s all the time Nancy has.

Anything is helpful.


I would love to participate, but besides helping some friends , I am not a professional. I do though grasp the concept of what the essay needs to do (show the reader who the student is outside of the “resume”/EC/grades, and how they would be a great addition to the institution). I also am not a fan of the essays that talk about personal tragedy in many cases, as there as too many of them. Of course there are some that worthwhile and do really show who the student is. If you all think I can help, I would love to.

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No need to be a professional.


If a topic is important to a student (personal tragedy etc.), even if many students write about it, I still encourage it. But that’s me. Of course if their grandpa died of cancer, and they write their goal is to cure cancer, I encourage a change to “want to help the effort to cure cancer”!

One student wrote about overcoming a mental health challenge. The forum discouraged it but the essay was really well-written. However, she mentioned being in several hospitals and I encouraged her to leave out the “several”!


I want to start by thanking the ones who already signed up to be an essay reader. We are thrilled to establish this group of volunteers to help students with their essays.

As @Lindagaf said, we are not looking for professionals (of course if you are a professional that shouldn’t disqualify you). We will make sure to inform students this service is offered by volunteers. We will work with the group to take in your feedback and adjust the program to best meet the needs of students.


Many students who look for essay help on CC are from disadvantaged backgrounds. The help they can get from volunteers here, even if it’s just basic feedback, is more than they can get from school or their family. Any amount of help they can get is better than nothing.

There are a variety of reasons students look for help:

  • No adult in their lives who can give any informed advice due to language barriers, work schedules, lack of understanding of college admissions, disinterested, physically unable, myriad other reasons…
  • Overworked school guidance counselors.
  • Applying to Questbridge, Posse, or various scholarships and honors colleges.
  • Poor writing skills and/or confusion about what’s involved in writing the personal statement, in particular.

The list is endless. If you are able to help, please use the link above and sign up.


I tried to sign up but got a message that there were no users by my name.


@cinnamon1212, I just approved your request. Glad to have you on board!

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It’s very exciting to see that we now have a number of volunteer readers and that students are asking for help already. Keep up the good work!

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If I ever make senior member status, I’d be happy to help.

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I have been on CC for many years but not a senior member. How do I get to that level? I will happily help.

Did you try clicking the link to join?

Yes I was added. Thanks @Lindagaf

I’m not allowed.