To Edit or Not to Edit?
Each person has their own writing style and while yours may differ from your child’s, it doesn’t mean that they are wrong. Many times parents think their way of doing things is the only way but when it comes to college essays, there are outrageous varieties in writing style. Admissions officers are more impressed with an essay that resonate that of a student and not the parents. Overly sophisticated and formal writing may sound good and well, but honest work is greatly appreciated.
This is not mean parents cannot review and revise college essays. If your child asks you to read it over and provide feedback, by all means do so, but remember that you are their parent, not an editor for the New York Times (unless you are a parent AND an editor for the New York Times). If you notice any grammatical/spelling errors, make a note. Or if believe a paragraph can be easily condensed and clarified, point it out and let them find a way to make their arguments more concise.
When it comes to the meat and potatoes of the essay, also known as the content, leave that alone. You want your child’s essay to sound exactly as if they were speaking, and the nature of that essay will impress admissions boards far more than an essay that is unrealistically written by a child.