Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


Should parents help their kids with college admission essays?

Dave, I've got a bit of a dilemma. My son is applying for college and his writing skills aren't, well, that great. I'm a writer and I'm finding it quite difficult not to get involved with his admission essay! What's your opinion on this? Do you think I should help him, or let him do the best he can and hope for the best?

What a fascinating question! College admission essays have become quite a bit more important in the last 10-15 years as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) has seen somewhat of a kickback from the admissions offices as being less relevant. But there's a wrinkle here too, because the new revised SAT now includes essay questions, so it's quite likely the case that a college admissions reviewer could compare an admissions essay with the written portion of the new SAT test, detect any dramatically improved writing, and potentially reject it as an admissions essay written by a professional service (or parent) rather than the student.

And those professional services have quite a lot of chutzpah too, if I may use that word. Here's a recent posting from Craigslist, for example...