With all the hype and pressure surrounding college admissions, I don’t blame students and parents for looking for shortcuts or anything that can give them an edge in the selection process.

While I believe students should take the helm of figuring out where they want to go to college, I understand the attraction of getting some help.

Taking prep classes for standardized tests.

Hiring a private college admissions counselor.

And working with a writing expert on the dreaded college application essays.

Yep, I provide help with essays, including tutoring.

But I do not write them for students.

It can be a fuzzy line, and I think we all know when it’s been crossed.

If you have searched the Internet to find help on writing these essays, I’m sure you have discovered the booming business of buying essays. The Web sites make it all sound so normal and natural.

Here are some reasons why it’s a very bad idea:



1. It will NOT be better than what you could write. There is no way someone else could write an effective college application essay about you, even if they know you really well.

The whole point of these essays is to capture something about you that is highly personal, unique and sets you apart from other candidates. That is challenging enough to discover for yourself. 

Details, emotion and insight power personal essays, and you simply can’t fake those. If another person writes your essay, it will be generic, and general is dull, and dull is essay death.

2. These essays are not only meant to help you get into the college(s) of your choice, but also to get you into the right school for you. In order to decide if you are a right fit at their university or college, admissions counselors need these essays to get a sense of who you are, what you value and your unique personality.

If someone else wrote your essay, they are going to make their decision based on someone else. What’s the point?

3. I know this doesn’t seem important, but writing these essays can be a powerful personal exercise beyond helping you get into a great college.

From what I’ve seen with the hundreds of students I have worked with, many have not had or taken the time to sit down and really take a long, hard look at their life yet—what they have accomplished, lessons they have learned, challenges they have met, how much they have changed and grown.

In the brainstorming and writing process, you will be surprised (even impressed!) by your own personal stories, and might even enjoy telling them.

4. I know it’s hard to believe, but there’s a strong chance you will need to write more of these in the future.

Many scholarships, transfers and applications for graduate programs (medical and law and art schools….) require personal statements.

Might as well learn how to do it now.

5. I’ve saved the most important for last. Buying an essay and passing it off as your own is CHEATING. It’s totally immoral. Hello!!

Save your money! If you need help, search the Internet for writing advice, buy a guide book or hire someone to help you. And keep reading this blog!

My Jumpstart guide post is a great place to start writing your own college application essay.