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Once admitted to these elite schools, these groups are subject to extra scrutiny from the institution, their community ("How are you representing us?") and the constant chaperone of self-doubt ("Am I here because of my race? I know this because my students share with me openly, during and after the writing process.
This produces some awkward conversations about affordability.
However, I’ve had a tussle over finances with only one family.
It means at any one time I am working with students who can afford boutique services and those who cannot.
For many students, even those who consider themselves writers or "actually" like writing, their college admissions essay is the most invested they have been so far in a single piece. They want it to do all the things it's supposed to do.
The essay writing process itself is so easy to scrutinize as a shortcut for rich kids, but it can be substantive, one of meaningful self-development.
The latest college admissions scam has shown us that, shocker, Money is still propping up Elitism and Whiteness, and, surprise surprise, privilege is blind to its own reach.And should know how to write about themselves, as a life skill; everyone should find that magic place of articulating their strengths while understanding that the sun and moon and stars do not revolve around themselves or their future. But for an essay that plays a significant role in the landscape of admissions, we get no practice prior to game time.So many students go into the application process armed with... You're just supposed to jump in and produce something awesome, relevant, and effective.While I think Jia Tolentino previously exposed the problem of nebulous, white-washed admissions greed magnificently for Jezebel, my experience as a personal essay coach for years is very different than hers.I am white, and I work with students from all demographics, but still primarily young people of color, often young men, and often students whose families qualify as lower-middle or lower class.to be like this, with wealth and privilege being the only winners.As a college essay coach devoted to equity, my business model has to make room for that possibility.Truth is, this incident of bribery is reflective of a different problem, that has so many faces: why focus on elite schools? The entire admissions process goes best for those who enter with an open mind, not a fixed or pinched one.It is most meaningful, and has the most integrity, for those who approach the writing and application in general with a sense that the world is big and life contains many twists and turns. And we owe them a world that makes that be true — thing’s will be OK, and not just for Wealthy Abigails.Essay tutoring can cost anywhere from an hour to 0 an hour. But in truth, the kids I work with are rarely bloated themselves.Participating in this as a beneficiary can feel like bourgeois enterprise, and one that upholds all the pillars of race and class disadvantage that this country was built on, and that capitalism relies on. When I offer my coaching services as an independent business owner, I ask families to place themselves on a sliding scale of full fee to pro bono, and we build their customized support from there.