Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you The First Draft!

You’ve written the first draft of your essay. Congratulations!


So…now what? You may be thinking it is time to submit your essay, but think again! Editing is just as much, if not more, a part of the process than the initial writing itself.


(Take me, for instance. I write everything twice. You don’t have to be as extreme as me, but it proves a point!)


Take your time with the edits to be sure that your essay encompasses all that you want to say.


  1. Set the essay aside for at least a couple of days before you review it. This will give you some much needed time and space so that you can view it with fresh eyes.
  2. Have other people read it. My advice is to have people who do not know you as well read your essay. Parents and best friends always have the best intentions, but unfortunately they may not be able to give you the same insights as someone who does not know you as well. They know you, your personality, and your experiences. Someone who is more objective will be able to give you more honest advice, and her reading experience will be more closely aligned with an admissions officer who is reading your essay for the first time. Ask a teacher, neighbor, a friendly stranger at a coffee shop, (or, just maybe, a college essay coach) to review your writing and offer comments for improvements.
  3. Read aloud. We hear language differently when we read aloud versus in our minds. By reading aloud you ensure that your essay flows the way you intend. You would be surprised!
  4. Editing has multiple facets.
    1. 1) Structural – Does your essay flow the way you want it to? Do your thoughts flow cohesively? Are you utilizing transitions appropriately?
    2. 2) Conceptual – Do you address the key topics you’ve designated in your brainstorming and outlining? Did you answer the prompt? How is your tone?
    3. 3) Grammatical – The essay is also a portion where admissions officers want to see that you have a proper command of formal English to ensure you are ready for collegiate writing.

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