Read On… and On and On

BoWbookpileThis particular article in Arlington Magazine is near to my heart. I’m a huge reader and think the world would be a kinder, calmer place if everyone read more. And research shows that regular readers live longer, are less stressed, and earn more money than those who rarely read. Wow! (Read my article below for the details. Here’s the link to the research on living longer, which came out after my article went to press.)

In addition, instilling a habit of reading into your children is THE BEST way to prepare them for the testing culture of SATs, ACTs, SAT II’s, and many Advanced Placement tests.

So how do you encourage your child to become a reader? Read on, dear reader.

College Essay Time

CoachSkills_400With some high schools out already and others finishing up soon, it’s the ideal time to start thinking about your college essay and schedule a meeting with me. A strong college essay requires introspection and excellent writing tools. Most high school students I’ve worked with don’t have a lot of experience writing personal essays and are intimidated by the prospect.

No worries! My coaching is designed to SHOW you how to write the best personal essays you can. I use model essays from college websites and from my own former students who have been accepted by great schools*. We’ll talk about how to write an irresistible hook and what writing tools work best in personal essays. My students leave our first meeting feeling confident and relieved that I’m on their side. Not only will they use their new writing toolbox for these essays, but they’ll also take it with them to college and beyond. And — the best part — I get back to my students within 48 hours when they send me anything, whether it’s a sample hook or a complete draft.

My schedule is already full during a few weeks over the summer, and I did have to turn away students last year. Please contact me ASAP if you’re interested in a reflective and less stressful college application process. I look forward to coaching you!

* Incidentally, a great school is the one that matches you well, whether it’s Harvard or Christopher Newport, Johns Hopkins or Warren Wilson. I had students who were accepted by and then chose all of these schools last year. (See “Testimonials” on the side panel for a complete list of which schools have accepted my students. It’s pretty impressive, if I do say so. I’m proud of my students who work diligently and creatively to convey who they are and thereby connect with the admissions officers at their chosen schools.)

De-Stress with My Free College Essays Talk!

admission imageMy annual free talk on How to Write YOUR College Essays will be on 5/22 at 7:30 pm at Arlington Central Library in Arlington, Virginia. Last year I had 114 people come, so please come early if you want a seat! My talk is ideal for rising juniors and their parents, and you’re guaranteed to leave less stressed and more excited about the process.

I will cover what college admission officers are looking for in the essays and how the essays fit into your overall application. I’ll also stress the importance of hooks in any personal essay and share tips on how to make your essay shine. We’ll unpack several examples of strong hooks from both my students and essays shared by colleges or new organizations.

Hope to see you there!

Rethinking Summer Plans for Teens

red tulips istockIMG_3126Do you think that sending your child to Stanford or Oxford or Johns Hopkins will help him or her get into an “elite” college? This excellent article debunks that myth.

Instead, I’m a huge fan of letting your child drive the summer bus. What does she never have enough time for? In what does he lose himself? Summer is the time to ease up on the classroom stress and let your teen explore outside the usual boundaries. And any summer job — however menial or “unimpressive” — can be a wonderful learning experience. Check out this amazing essay by a Johns Hopkins student who worked at a bakery for the summer.

Of course, if you’re a rising senior, this summer is an excellent time to start working on your college essays, but not in a stressful way. Writing your college essays should be a time of introspection and exploration. If that scares you, then come to my free talk, Writing YOUR College Essay, at Arlington Central Library, Arlington, VA, on 5/22/16 at 7:30 pm.

Or you can hire me. I work with students in the Washington, D.C., area in person and all over the country via Skype and do prefer to get started over the summer. I’ll make you work very hard on these essays, but they will be some of the best, most reflective words you’ve written.

[This photo is from an Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Museum excursions are a fabulous part of any summer.]

Writing YOUR College Essays – My Free Talk

admission imageI’m happy to announce that my FREE annual talk on how to writing your college essays will be on Sunday, May 22nd at 7:30 pm at Arlington Central Library in the auditorium. I will be covering how the personal essays fit into your whole application, what admission officers say they want in these essays, and how to make your essays stronger. I’ll also share some examples of great essay hooks to inspire you!

My talk is designed for high school juniors, but parents are also welcome to attend. Please arrive early to get a seat. I look forward to seeing you!