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By Education Team | 18 May 2021

Who Should Edit Your College Application Essays?


When you’re writing your college application essay, it’s important to also have your essay read by someone else. Not only can that person double-check your work for grammar mistakes, but they can also tell you whether or not your writing makes sense. But who should you ask, and why?

Who to ask if you’re a procrastinator

If you procrastinated your essay and need someone to read your paper fast and on short notice, you probably shouldn’t ask your English teacher. Chances are your teacher is already overrun with grading papers from other classes and doesn’t have the time to read your essay before your application deadline.

Instead, turn to either a friend or parent. This person doesn’t necessarily have to be your best friend (although if it is your best friend, that’s a nice bonus). You want to ask someone who reads often and knows how to give constructive criticism. Giving your paper to your harsh, critical, and opinionated friend may seem like a good way to fix both your glaring mistakes and your minor mistakes, but it ends up being counterproductive. This kind of person tends to nitpick on the minor mistakes and will make it difficult for you to edit your own paper without an overwhelming feeling of self doubt. Also, giving a paper to this type of person could result in the person not only editing, but completely revising your whole paper to the point where it’s no longer your own piece of work.

Go to the friend you usually talk with about your problems and who doesn’t judge you. This person is probably the “psychologist” or “mom” of your friend group. He or she will probably know how to read your paper and help guide you to developing your thesis and ideas on your own. Remember, your editor is just a helper or a guide, NOT a ghostwriter.

Who to ask if you have finished your essay early

If you’re more prepared and have your essay done well in advance of your due date, it’s more helpful to ask a teacher or guidance counselor who already knows what colleges look for in an applicant. For essays as important as these, your counselor or English teacher probably won’t mind taking a little bit of time out of their schedule to take a look. If you didn’t get along well with your English teacher, it may be a better idea to ask another humanities teacher that you did get along with, such as a history or social studies teacher. Try not to ask your teacher to read it if they’re already grading your class’s latest pile of papers. If you know a big assignment is coming up for your class, try to ask them a few days before it’s assigned or a few days after it’s due.

When you ask, be as polite as possible. Be sure to tell your teacher when the application is due and give him or her plenty of time to read it before the due date (at least two weeks before). If you give it to your teacher and they don’t say anything about it after two or three days, give them a gentle reminder (emphasis on the word gentle).