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Over the past decade as an English teacher and college essay counselor, I have heard many of the same questions and concerns about writing college essays. I hope the lists below reassure you that you are not alone:

Common Questions


Students’ Questions

Do I need to write new essays for each school?

What if I don’t have anything to write about?

How much outside input should I seek?

Do I have to show my parents my essays?

Do I need a fancy opener?

Are there “good” and “bad” topics?

How personal is too personal?

Are topics involving sex, drugs and alcohol off limits?

Does my essay have to be upbeat?

How creative can I be?

Do I need a five-paragraph “standard essay” format?

Should the Common Application essay be about a different topic than the supplemental essays?

How rigid is the Common Application essay’s 650-word limit?

What length is considered too short?

Is it necessary to answer the supplemental essays?

Parents’ Questions

How best can I support my child?

How involved should I be with picking essay topics?   

Is it a good idea for me to participate in consulting sessions?

How many people should “weigh in” on the essays?

Will my child work directly with you? 

How much time will this take (i.e., when should we start the process?) 

How many students do you work with at the same time? 

Will my child’s voice still emerge from this process?

Should I also get my child interviewing and resume help?  

When is the best time to start the writing/consulting process?

How important are the essays in the admission process?

Can you help students not only with their Common Application essay but with their writing in general?

Students' Questions
Parents' Questions

We can discuss and address any questions or concerns particular to you and your specific situation. In fact, asking these questions is a great starting point!


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