Photo: Nina Subin

elping your college-bound student develop expressive essays

Essays are a such an important piece of the college application package, one of the few pieces that let schools see the three-dimensional person behind the numbers.

So many college-bound students I speak with struggle to find a subject. They worry there's nothing unique about them if they haven't endured something unimaginable, or established something extraordinary. But everyone has a unique story — it's just a matter of pulling the right threads together. I help them find an essay topic (or several) that reflects their most mature, insightful, authentic selves, and we work together to find their voice.

Having just gone through the process with my oldest child (and four more to go), I feel strongly about the essay being entirely theirs—their ideas, their insights, their work. My role is as coach, motivating them to dig deeper to find the themes and thoughts behind the anecdotes, and offering them comments and direction on the sentence level. (“Is that really what you want to be saying here? Because it sounds like you mean…”) The end result is a unique, descriptive, and error-free final draft that gives students the full pride of authorship.

If you're starting from scratch, the tutoring structure that seems to work best is five sessions/cycles of drafts and conversations over the course of a month or so (around $500), exchanging “homework” of outlines and drafts, and talking it through after I read them. This can be done in person or via email/phone/facetime sessions. If you just need feedback on an essay or supplement in progress, we can work hourly, draft by draft.

Just reach out through the CONTACT form below. I look forward to speaking to you and getting to know your student!

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