There are plenty of college essay “editors” out there. I’m not one of them.
What an “editor” does
College essay editors will take your essay draft and help you improve it, often with a fairly superficial focus on language. In the writing business, the work they do is referred to as “copyediting.” They help you improve the clarity and correctness of your writing.
Revising for clarity, elegancy, and correctness is an essential and invaluable part of the essay writing process. Good copyeditors do amazing work that can transform a piece of writing. Trust me, I’ve done this kind of work myself: the before-and-after comparisons can be eye-opening.
However, copyediting has some critical limitations when it comes to the college essay
The limitations of “editing” the admissions essay
Limitation 1: copyediting isn’t nearly as important as the (often more difficult and personal) process of deciding what story you want to tell and how to unfold that story in a narrative.
This requires more time and reflection. Editors can’t help you with this because they don’t have an opportunity to get to know you. They just know the draft you given them.
Limitation 2: copyediting may improve the quality of the writing in some abstract sense, but it can easily obscure the writer’s authentic voice.
In many kinds of writing, clarity and elegance is more important than authenticity and voice. But the college essay decidedly isn’t one of them.
With the college essay, displaying your unique voice as a writer and a person is of paramount importance. It should be a clear reflection of how you see the world, which includes how you use language to communicate that vision.
College essay “editors” don’t have the opportunity to get to know your voice as a writer, and how to use it for maximum effect.
Why I call myself a college essay “coach” instead
My goal is to help guide you through the process—to make it less stressful, more successful, and more valuable to you over the long run. Through the process, I want to help you grow as a writer, and even grow as person. The essay can be a meaningful opportunity for reflection and self-exploration. To be clear, my primary focus is helping you write a strong essay, but because of the nature of the process, these other benefits occur as a happy byproduct.
Whatever kind of help you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to reach out.