In 2017–18, he served as the inaugural School Counselor Ambassador Fellow with the US Department of Education, keeping the Department informed of current trends and issues of interest to school counselors.Many students don't think the college essay matters all that much in the college application, but since this is the only time students can “talk” to a college, the essay proves to be very important.
O’Connor, Ph D, is associate dean of college counseling at Cranbrook Kingswood School in metropolitan Detroit.
A past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the Michigan ACAC, Patrick also teaches “Counseling in the College Selection Process” as both a graduate class and a professional development program.
Think about all the writing you do that has nothing to do with school. It isn't hard to write then—in fact, most students love to write then.
You put an opinion out there, someone responds, you post an answer, someone else jumps in the conversation, and suddenly, there's a real exchange of ideas going on.
Where the story goes, and how you get there, is pretty much up to you. Rather than see this as a chance to tell their story, they think they have to give a speech, or write a book report, which makes the tone of the essay very stiff and boring.
Worse, some students think they don't have anything important to say.
If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
In the world of college applications, this is like your best friend texting you and asking, “What's up?
But where do the colleges get to find out who you are now, and learn more about what matters to you, what you think about, and what you'd like to do in the future?
All of those answers can be part of a strong college essay, where sharing the story of your life can make all the difference between bringing your application to life, and being just another applicant with a bunch of numbers. They view the college essay as just one more part of the application, another item on the college checklist they have to take care of. It takes a long time to put together a book report, or a research paper—and that essay on what I did on my summer vacation? It's easy to see that most of the writing students do is hard—but a lot of it is pretty easy, too. Talking about who did what at a recent concert, or what someone wore to the music awards show.