This is uncharted territory for both you and your child, that can even become an interesting bonding opportunity. So to help you, help your child, we've compiled these 5 great tips on how you can support them as they write their college personal statement essay.
Simply put - you can't help, if you don't know what's going on. You must first understand what the personal statement essay ought, or ought not, to be.
This tip is especially crucial for parents who did not attend college or university in the United States. You'll come to learn that the college application process in the US is a bit more nuanced with many more moving parts than universities in other parts of the world.
You can view our article on Writing A Personal Statement for a quick lesson on what the essay is, what is required and what is commonly asked.
You can even take it a step further by checking out our tips on Supplemental Essay Writing as well.
Use this essay writing task as an opportunity to stroll down memory lane and reflect on some of the memories you and your child share together- good and bad. It's often said that storytelling is the foundation of any solid college essay and stories come from no better place than real life experience.
This essay is where colleges seek to gain an impression of a potential student's character and personality. Reflecting on a past memory that can later be related into useful essay content is a great way to really make your essay stand out.
Having a parent nudge some of these memories is incredibly helpful for college prep students. Many students are not accustomed to thinking or writing about themselves in such an introspective manner, and so having a guiding hand to help them piece together memories with meaning can go a long way.
A major component of the personal statement essay is assertion of a stance, or demonstration of values and attributes. So, discuss these with your child and make sure you're on the same page. But, don't encroach. Allow them to self express and demonstrate their own character in the essay.
This further enhances the bonding experience. You may learn things about your child that you've never heard before... because trust us, some of these essay prompts can get real deep. And this works in the reverse too!
Allow your child to start rough. Don't approach the first couple of writing sessions with them as if it's an academic essay due tomorrow. Open the space for conversation and let ideas flow organically.
Rather than asking, "Okay, what are you going to write?" take the time to read the prompt together, and see where the conversation goes from there. As light bulbs turn on, write them out, scribble them out and erase if needs be.
Allow the first few drafts to be messy and scattered as your child gathers their thoughts. This is why we recommend that students start thinking about their college essays from as early as the summer between their penultimate and final year of high school. It takes time for them to really drill down to the core of what they want to say. Don't be a stickler for grammar, diction and cohesion just yet. All of that can come at the end when you're doing final edits.
Your expertise will only go so far... give your child the best shot possible by getting them in touch with one of the expert Essay Coaches here at AIM. We'll give them all the tools and guidance needed to write brilliant personal statement essays and WIN!