IN’s prolific writers offer thoughts about the Writing Center’s services.

common app essay

As easy as it is for me to shout out the virtues of IN’s Writing Center, (as the Director, I’m pretty biased), I thought it might be nice to share some feedback from some of the clients who work with the Writing Center regularly. At this point in the Class ‘21 application season, the Writing Center staff has edited more than 3,000 essays. Whether it’s a common app essay, a supplemental, a program specific supplemental, or a scholarship essay, we help each teen craft a narrative that gives a glimpse into the unique person they are. We help brainstorm and restructure, and organize…until the piece feels right…to them.

While our typical client writes approximately 10 unique essays during the season, some write more…many more. Lucky for me, some our busiest writers weren’t too busy to answer a few questions about their work with Writing Center.

Imagine a virtual round table with Gretta (Class ‘20) and Elliot, Jake, Matthew, and Shravani, all Class’ 21. They were each kind enough to share their thoughts about their own writing process. Amongst them, they’ve written 203 distinct application-season essays (and counting–several of these writers are in the midst of polishing remaining scholarship essays). As you can imagine, after writing about 40 essays each, they are experts about what Writing Center offers.

Three of the five writers felt pretty comfortable about their own writing abilities prior to working with IN. Several suggested that despite their confidence, it was nice to know that another pair of eyes was catching last-minute mistakes. Shravani reports,

“Having taken AP Language and Composition,
I was mostly confident in my writing ability,
but I had no idea how to approach college essays.
Writing about myself was entirely new to me
because I was so used to writing about
everything but myself.”

This is an excellent point. Years of research papers and other academic reports teach terrific mechanics, but typically little about the art of writing. Also, after years of writing enough to satisfy the page limit, these applicants found that it can be difficult to adhere to a much shorter word limit. When asked what was most helpful about working with Writing Center, Gretta mentioned,

“ Having access to constant feedback and constructive criticism
gave me an advantage over all of my friends who relied on
themselves to proofread. I attended a camp about writing the
common app essay, which can be an overwhelming process.
Having guidance and support through the main common app
essay, as well as the many supplemental and scholarship
essays gave me confidence in my writing abilities and helped
me produce the best work possible. “

Elliot added his thoughts,

“The IN Writing Center has helped with several different aspects
of my writing. Most notably, the camp was extremely helpful for ideas.
Using their past experience, the advisors outlined which types of ideas
were usually pitfalls for students. They helped us identify which of our
experiences would be good to write about. Furthermore, the camp was
just a good motivator to write. Additionally, their editing was very useful for
concision. It is often hard to cram any nuance into these word-limited
essays and is a skill that the average junior or senior is not familiar with.
So, their edits to meet these hard limits were crucial.”

So, after a great deal of hard work, how confident did these clients feel about the essays they’ve submitted? I’m happy to say, each member of this round table expresses incredible confidence in the essays they perfected. Jake says,

“This year… with the writing center’s help, I’ve improved the quality
of my essays a lot. I know that my essays cover the
right things and are strong!”

Gretta, a freshman at Washington & Lee, says,

“I felt very confident in the both the quality of my essays and
creativity. The people at the writing center are special because
they learn how you like to write, as well as which experiences
you enjoy using to answer the prompts. They really help you stay
true to your writing style and experiences, but also share your
experiences in a new way each time.”

When the group was asked if they had anything to add, they said plenty, including,

“Take advantage of the writing center!! It is easy to rely on your own
proofreading, but it is very hard to ever actually improve your writing
skills that way.”

“My confidence in my essays increases after every WC edit. The
edits have been extremely helpful, making the writing process
exponentially easier.”

“If you are thinking about utilizing the writing center,
DO IT!!! IT WILL HELP (no matter what writing level you are at)!”

“ Writing center has helped me overcome the anxiety and
manage the stress that comes with college essay writing
through amazing feedback, individual brainstorm sessions,
and hands-on essay camps! “

Even better than all this praise is knowing that most of this group plans to rely on their college writing centers for help with their collegiate writing. Our goal at IN isn’t just to edit your application essays; we aim to prepare you for the writing you’ll do in college. Learning to rely on someone else to critique your writing is an important step.

If you know someone who could benefit from IN’s Writing Center support, check this out.

Have other questions about what IN can do for you? Drop me a line, I’d love to help.

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