Essay Dialogues (#1): A Couple of Parents Talking about College Application Essays

Starting a new series of blogs today called “Essay Dialogues.” Simple concept, people – students, parents, teachers, whomever – talking about the college admissions essay.  Here’s the first. I hope you find it enjoyable, enlightening, even comforting.

(Hannah, efficient, crisp, the kind of woman you’d trust to pack your parachute, enters her local coffee spot, approaches her friend, Paige, sitting at a table.)

HANNAH: I have no idea what I’m doing.

PAIGE (laid back, adheres to the doctrine of “Don’t worry, be happy.”): What do you mean? What happened?

HANNAH: Tyler is applying to colleges. It’s a nightmare.

PAIGE: Oh, c’mon, how bad could it be?

HANNAH: Have you ever heard of the Common Application essay?

PAIGE: My kid is seven.

HANNAH: Well, it’s 650 words and it’s supposed to be this incredible piece of work that makes a college believe they absolutely must have Tyler in their freshman class.

PAIGE: He’s a great kid. Of course they’ll want him.

HANNAH: Obviously you’ve never had to assign him a task. He only takes out the garbage when my kitchen reaches landfill status.

PAIGE: I thought he was a brain. Like a 4.6 GPA or something.

HANNAH: That’s just the thing. It seems like every kid applying to college has a 4.6. Then during the summer, they discover another planet.

PAIGE: Would you please relax? Tyler is going to get accepted to a college.

HANNAH: Not if he doesn’t write his essay. He keeps telling me he’s working on it but the deadline is December 1st.

PAIGE: I don’t understand why it’s so tough. 650 words? Kids text that much in an hour.

HANNAH: He’s supposed to reveal the person behind the grades and test scores. Are they kidding? That person wouldn’t go to college. He’d go into the witness protection program.

PAIGE: Hannah, calm down. Tyler’s fantastic.

HANNAH: I know, I know, he’s a wonderful young man and he’s going to make a great… something… some day.

(She crosses her arms on the table, lowers her head on them.)

This is so stressful.

(Paige pats her reassuringly on her shoulder.)

PAIGE: It’s going to work out. Uhm… Are you okay? Because I need to go.

(Hannah lifts her head.)

HANNAH: I thought we were going to the museum.

PAIGE: Yeah, I know but… my kid may be seven, but I’m getting her started on this essay thing today.

(Paige, deep concern on her face, hurries out. Hannah lowers her head back to the table.)

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