Updated: Nov 12, 2021
November 15th deadlines are looming on the horizon, and I want to dedicate this post to all the high school seniors who are feverishly writing and rewriting their college essays. I’d like to share a few last-minute essay editing tips and strategies that will help to make the essays shine.
Before I finalize or sign off on a student’s essay, I make sure to review it three times: Once for content, next for structure and tone, and finally for presentation. I encourage you to do the same. And here are a few questions you can ask yourself in the process:
Editing for content:
Have I answered each sub-question of the essay prompt?
Am I demonstrating at least 5-7 skills/values in my essay?
Are those skills/values unique (not emphasized elsewhere in the application)?
Is the essay mainly about me and my experiences or about someone else and their experiences?
Editing for structure and tone:
Do I have an interesting hook in place?
Do my paragraphs begin with good transition sentences?
Does my essay follow a logical sequence of events/ideas?
Am I coming across authentically (not forcing myself to be someone I’m not)?
Editing for Presentation:
Have I used specific details to bring my essay to life?
Am I avoiding cliches?
Are my ideas coming across clearly and succinctly?
Is my essay grammatically correct?
By breaking down the editing process into three distinct steps, you can focus on each critical element at a time. This helps to make the process feel less overwhelming, while simultaneously ensuring a compelling product at the end.
Happy ̶w̶̶r̶̶i̶̶t̶̶i̶̶n̶̶g̶ rewriting!