Guidance from an Expert, When You Need It Most College admissions can be confusing, time-consuming, and stressful — and despite the expenditure time and energy, the reality is that many students make avoidable mistakes, from the colleges they choose to the essays they submit and the extracurricular activities they describe. That’s why I offer one-on-one assistance with all aspects of the college admissions process — whether you just need help with a single essay, or seek ongoing guidance through your full range of applications.
Available services include:
Planning and management through all phases of the college admissions process, from selecting ideal target schools to navigating the UC application, Common App, other application forms, financial aid, and more.
Guidance with all types of essays, from pre-writing through multiple drafts and edits. Students who work with me write essays that are engaging, insightful, and highly effective. (Note that I do not author or "ghostwrite" essays for students.)
Expert advice for framing extracurricular activities, additional information, and special circumstances (especially important for students with learning differences, inconsistent performance, and/or unusual educational trajectories).
My students have been accepted into a growing list of top colleges and universities around the country, from UC's and regional public schools to Harvard, NYU, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, and many more. My class of 2017 acceptances include Dartmouth, UCLA, Chicago, Northwestern, Tufts, Emory — and just as importantly, many other schools that represent ideal fits for those students.
Essays: The Basics Most college applications include a writing component. CSU's do not require a writing component; UC's require 4 essays. Virtually all private schools and most out-of-state public schools require some type of essay or personal statement. Students applying to a typical mix of 3 UC's, 3 CSU's and 3 private schools can expect to write 1 long essay (~600-650 words), 4 medium length essays (~300-350 words each), and 3-5 short answers (~100-200 words each). Some of these topics may overlap.
How I Can Help I want to say this as straightforwardly as I can: most college essays are simply not good.A couple of years ago, I surveyed admissions officers at a variety of colleges, asking what percentage of essays actually positively impact a student's application. The average answer was just 15%. For all of the effort students put into their writing, the vast majority submit essays that either don't help or actually hurt their chances of getting in. With my guidance, students can do better.
There are a number of ways I can make a difference in your student's essays:
Most essay problems show up after students have spent many hours writing, and some students take it personally when it is suggested that their essays need changing. They feel personally attached to what they've written — even when their writing would actually hurt their chances of admission. Early, individualized guidance helps to avoid these problems.
At many schools, English teachers and college counselors offer to help with essays. My experience is that English teachers are often great with grammar and description. However, English teachers are typically not college admissions experts. And both teachers and counselors have a lot on their plates; they're less likely to guide you through large-scale changes when those are needed.
I can track your student's deadlines, drafts, and essay topics. For many families, this helps to reduce stress and anxiety at home. I offer assistance with all aspects of the essay planning, writing and editing process.
Students and families are often misled about what makes for an effective college essay. Most people would say that a good college essay "makes a student stand out and sound special"; in reality, this is the starting point for a very average piece of writing. My professional role is to understand and clearly communicate what good college essays do and how to write them.
Fees and Structure No-Cost Initial Feedback: I will read one draft of any essay and provide basic initial feedback at no cost. With my feedback, you can make informed decisions about how to proceed and whether to hire me for additional services. My fee for college advising and essay assistance is $160/hour. Our work is typically a mix of in-person and online communication. I often meet with students once at the beginning of the essay writing process, after which we mostly work via Google Drive.