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Why Get Help With College Applications?




College application season is exciting, inspiring, overwhelming, and exhausting. There is so much to do and there are so many decisions to make. Emotions can run high and parents often struggle to know the best way to help and support their soon-to-be high school graduates.


What does a college application or essay coach do?


An individual hired to help in the college application process can do a variety of things.

  • Assist with the personal essay. Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application, currently the most commonly used applications, contain a section for a personal essay. A coach can help the student consider which of the prompts to choose, show the student sample essays to provide examples and inspiration, brainstorm topics with the student, keep them on track with writing numerous drafts, provide feedback and encouragement, and help with proofreading for mistakes.

  • Assist in creating a roster of schools. A college coach can discuss with students and parents what they are looking for in a college or university. College coaches usually have a broad awareness of varied colleges and will often be able to suggest schools to consider. They can also assist students in making sure they have a balanced list consisting of dream schools, reaches, "just right" schools, and safety schools.

  • Ensure the application process stays on track. The application process can be quite overwhelming. Attention to detail is essential. A coach can help with keeping track of deadlines, prioritizing when time is tight, and overseeing all components of the process (ie. asking teachers for recommendations, filling out school 'brag sheets," updating resumes, etc . . .).

  • Keep the process moving once applications are submitted. A student is likely to breathe a sigh of relief when the application process is "over." However, there are still things to do! Submitted applications will usually generate an email from the school. These emails will encourage the student to set up a portal which tracks receipt of all parts of the application. Schools may also send emails with questions for the applicant. Students need to check their portals and emails frequently in order to make sure they don't overlook any important details.


What SHOULDN'T a college essay or application coach do?

  • Write the student's essay for them. A college coach should never write the student's essay for them. The coach can encourage, advise, suggest revisions, suggest possible edits and more, much like an English teacher does when helping a student work through numoerous drafts of a paper. However, the essay needs to be written by the student themselves.

  • Guarantee admission to any particular school. A coach can suggest schools to apply to and will probably be well aware of the admissions stats, average gpa's, average SAT or ACT scores, and rankings of the schools on their students' lists, but they should never go so far as guaranteeing admission to any school.

  • Be difficult to contact. College coaches may have varying levels of availability, but they should be easily reachable to answer student questions and provided needed help.



At Deirdre Allen Coaching, I make myself very available to my college coaching students.

Whether it's a last minute deadline, a quick question, or final edits on a supplemental essay, I am only a text, call or email away!


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