Maybe I should have gone into essay coaching.
It seems that writing the college essay has morphed from a sometimes painfully difficult, personal challenge into big business. There's money to be made in providing tips, templates, tutoring.
Parke Muth, an admissions officer at University of Virgina, is often quoted on the topic of essays, with good reason. Read his advice on the essay -- and what is wrong with so many of them.
Our teen doesn't enjoy writing. This year, though, the freshman English teacher has focused on memoirs: finding a voice, using original and descriptive phrases. Once the writing began, the assignment became fun, the writing colorful, funny and appealing. It was a useful exercise.
Try encouraging your teen to write this summer, about vacations or a job or tribulations of the past year. Who knows, it might even be the start of one of those dreaded but darn important essays.