Few milestones inspire as much dread as the task of writing a college-entrance essay. For many students it’s more difficult than taking SATs or ACTs. Six little essay topics and five hundred words hang between them and their future. Where to start? How to stand out? And what are colleges really looking for?
The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Kids already have the wealth of personal experience and reflections they need in order to write a killer essay. They just need a skilled listener to help them plumb the depth of their thoughts and words.
This is what I bring to my work as a college-essay coach and mentor. I’m a professional writer with over 25 years experience in journalism, marketing, web development and higher education. Using interviewing skills I’ve honed writing about professors and politicians, students and celebrities, I will help your child craft an essay that shines with originality.
The great news is, it’s an almost painless process. It starts with a conversation. No preparation is necessary. Together, the student and I will uncover the specific details that make their lives meaningful, unique, dynamic. Everyone has a story — lots of them, actually. It’s a matter of asking the right questions. Listening to the spaces between words. And bringing my own humanity into the mix.
From there, I review a transcript of our time talking together. I pull out threads, themes, questions drawn from the student’s own words. These will become the building blocks for their essay. Many students find that this mode of working reduces their anxiety and writing blocks.
Once we have a draft to work with, I will edit the essay for coherence, depth and grammatical errors. I give feedback in the form of suggestions that prompt the student to take full responsibility for incorporating my advice or not. It’s their work, through and through.
Thus far, all of the students who have worked with me have been accepted into their first-choice school. I can’t claim credit for that or make a guarantee. Each one of these outstanding young adults shone on their own merits. But I am honored to have been part of the process of self-discovery that got them there. More importantly, they often report that they understand and appreciate themselves and their lives better after having done the work with me.
I charge $125/hour for the first four hours, and $75/hour for subsequent work. I find that most students are able to complete their work with me within those four hours. I reduce my rates thereafter so that those who may need extra help don’t feel unduly pressured.
In-person interviews can be scheduled for students in the greater Washington, DC-area. Working sessions for students located elsewhere are conducted by phone and Skype. For more information, or to schedule a session with your student, contact me at: 207-450-1788.
References available by request.