Convey, not Say
The purpose of the Application Essay is to keep the reader on the application when at a moment in time they'd like to close the application with a denial.
Please understand that there's not a person out there who can't wait to read your child's 600 word essay, especially knowing they have another 1,000 of them in the queue.
They'd much prefer to quickly become disinterested, maybe confused, so they can get off it, hit the Deny button, and go to the next one...999 to go! If you were them, you'd be the same.
Our job is to keep the application open, moving the admission counselor towards their college's specific section where Acceptances are won.
Your $75 application fee doesn't buy you their time and attention. Only an essay that's interesting, easy to read, and meaningful to the applicant will keep them reading.
The bigger picture objective is twofold-
1) Enhance the reader's experience
2) Enhance the reader's feelings about the writer
Acceptances are not typically won from the essay, but certainly tens of thousands of denials result from misunderstanding its purpose.
The biggest, most common mistake is to keep pushing what you, the child or parent, want to say.
"I want to say..." doesn't work. How about focusing on what you want to convey...this works. It's a huge difference to understand, and not to understate.
The best essays result when the writer writes for the reader. The key is to know what message you'd like the reader to get and figure out how to deliver it.
If you confuse the message, mix up the theme, or misdirect the reader, it's a losing essay.
When it comes to this, parents are not good judges. I'm sorry, how can you be? Essays are written to enhance the experience and feeling of a reader who DOES NOT KNOW the writer.
Alright, enough said...has my message been well conveyed?