Psychologist and counselor Jeanette Spires joins us again this month with advice for parents on the college essay. It can be helpful to parents -- as well as students -- to understand what the colleges are looking for and how important it is for the student to own this step in the process. Read on for more guidance about how to be involved "just right" and why weathering a "white knuckle" experience may be just fine.
"She won't even talk about it!"
"We have a great idea for him!"
The essay for selective colleges is often a source of frustration and conflict within a family. Understanding the function of the essay can be a calming solution to endless kitchen table "get off my back" discussions.
A tired reader hopes to know your student in a way that the glowing recommendations do not cover. How can I know this person better?
What would he be like to have on our campus? How does her mind work?
Years ago I took notes at a national college conference from a dean at one of the nation's most selective colleges:
"Don't try to anticipate our politics,,,don't patronize us...don't be terrified of offending us...don't read books of college essays; we've read them all. It does not have to be perfect. We are here to help you grow. No vague generalities, avoid the boring or overused topics such as the D Words: divorce, depression, drugs and dog death. Humor is always appreciated!"