Parents Vs. The College Essay!                     by Patti Brugman

By Patti Brugman

         We often feel the parent’s stress first because it is the parent who comes to us as college deadlines come near. Often, the students are just too busy or overwhelmed to get the job done.  Once we meet the family, we see much of the  family’s stress drain away. One mother even danced on the front lawn as we were leaving her home—she said she felt light and happy! There is nothing to match the confidence that comes from knowing that fabulous applications will be sent and that everything is right on schedule.  With these reassurances and the great work of our students, it’s high fives all around! 

         Still, there are parents who need a little extra support.  These are the parents who do not come to us early in the process, or perhaps, the parents whom we never meet. For those who are tempted to “help” their student by writing the college application essays, be warned that everyone in the business can tell the difference. Essays written by students have a student voice and sensibility that sounds right. The phrasing, the topics, the humor, and the depth are all age appropriate.  We can tell if the parent has written even a single sentence. If we can do it, so can college admissions staff.

         Writing the many essays required for competitive applications is a huge part of the application process.  These essays require deep thought and they take time to write. We do not take these documents lightly. We, and other independent counselors, work directly with the student to get the job done in these last few months of the application “season.” Please visit our website and those of other independent counselors, for ways to get through the process, while still maintaining a good relationship with your precious child.  Too often I hear, too late, that a parent is angered with his/her child just because an application essay wasn’t submitted on time. 

         How much better it is to be the parent who is proud of his/her child because the job was done well and their son/daughter’s future is assured.  That is what it’s all about, after all.  We are all working together for the future of the student.  With the right paperwork submitted at the right time to the right place, great things can happen.  And they happen so much better when everyone is calm and well-motivated.  After all, ‘tis the season!