“You work for the @CollegeBoard?” the bright-eyed teen behind the fast food counter asks. I tell her I sometimes mark #APEnglish tests. “I’m taking three AP classes now!” she says. “After I go to college, I want to be the #POTUS!”

“Unsweetened tea. And can you use this cup?”

“You work for the College Board?” the bright-eyed teen behind the fast food counter asks, spying my branded mug.

I tell her I sometimes mark #APEnglish tests.

“I’m taking three AP classes now!” she says. “After I go to college, I want to be the president!”

I give her quick pointers on the essays.

  • Don’t start churning out filler right away. A high school student who can string together three grammatically correct sentences gets praise. But at the college level, what you actually say really matters. Read the prompt, and write what you’re asked to write.
  • Don’t waste words restating the prompt. (“If I were asked to describe the the most important person in my life, I would have to pick my Aunt Sally.”) Get right to the point. (“My Aunt Sally, a paratrooper who wrestles tigers, gives great hugs.”)
  • If the prompt asks you to analyze, don’t fill up space with summary. If you’re asked to evaluate, don’t fill up space by describing things.
  • Google for Bloom’s Taxonomy. Recognize the difference between writing that summarizes what you know, and writing that demonstrates you can develop and defend an original point.

Good luck, future president!