Preparing for College

Can Colleges Tell When Students Don't Write Their Own Essays?

Question: Although I browse College Confidential, I have not much glanced at the Essays section until yesterday, and a question pops up: To what extent are colleges aware that applicants receive so much essay writing help, editing, revising, etc? What do they do if they find out that the college admissions consultant wrote the essay?

You've hit a nerve with me. This essay business has gotten way out of hand, and it's near the top of the (lengthy) list of my admissions-process frustrations. College folks claim that they can usually sniff out essays that are not the student's original work. But I disagree. Of course it's true sometimes ... particularly now that a growing number of admission officials are requesting the writing-sample portion of the SAT or ACT so that they can compare work that was done in proctored conditions with that done at home--and which may have passed through many drafts (and many hands) before submission.

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