Parent College Coach Tip #21: 3 Tools to Help With the College Essay

The college essay should be drafted, refined, and completed during the summer before the senior year.Summer is when upcoming seniors begin to get serious about the college essay

And getting serious about the college essay means it’s going to require some thought, planning, and multiple drafts. Ideally, seniors should have their essays polished and finished by the time they go back to school in the fall.

Knowing this, and desiring to help parents motivate and encourage their college-bound teens, today’s tip gives you three tools to help with the college essay.

Essay Apps

Students have problems with essay prompts, being creative, and using proper grammar. As luck would have it, however, there are even essay apps to help with this task. These 7 apps can help with creativity, prompts, planning, grammar, and even organization.


I’m a huge fan of podcasts. In today’s busy world, podcasts give parents and students the opportunity to listen when they have the time. Most podcasts also have a transcription of the key  elements in the podcast so you can go back and use them after listening. My favorite podcast on essay help comes from How to Pay for College HQ interviewing the College Essay Guy, Ethan Sawyer. He simplifies the task and helps students and parents understand what the essay should communicate.

Essay Writing Tips

Before sitting down to write the essay, students should read some essay tips on how to write it and what to communicate. Learning lessons from the experts and from past successes helps your student eliminate the fear that often accompanies the essay writing task of the college application.

The college essay is not something that can be written in the 30 minutes before the application is due. It is a student’s chance to connect with admissions officers on a “real” level. If it’s done properly, it can make the difference between an offer of admission and rejection.