Posts tagged with "DC"

Your Concise Guide to the College Application Process!

Stressed out by the college application process?

Don’t miss my latest article in Arlington magazine for a step-by-step guide to this often confusing and frustrating process. I interviewed dozens of students, parents, admission officers, college essay coaches, and college admission counselors to get their best advice for you.

Organized chronologically, my article emphasizes a common sense, low stress approach to finding the best fit for any student.

Find Arlington magazine on newsstands, book stores, and grocery stores throughout Arlington, VA, including Lebanese Taverna Market, Bayou Bakery, Covet, and Cassatt’s. I’ll post a link when it’s live.

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.)

The Joy of “Getting All the Lovely Words Just Right”

Tomorrow I start coaching my first students of the 2014-15 College App season.  It may seem early, but I’m thrilled that they’re getting a head start and will have — at least — their 650-word, Common App essay completed before the hectic senior year starts.  Most of my students are so used to scripted writing with very specific expectations — think AP exams and DBQ’s — that they don’t realize they can have fun with their college essays.

Writing your college essay should be a process filled with insight and the joy of “getting all the lovely words just right,” as dear old Professor Cronin used to say.  The essay can be a pause in the academic rush, a moment to take a breath and reflect on who you are and who you want to be.  All colleges want students who are capable of reflection and growth. All colleges want students who can identify and share the moments that define them.

It is an honor to coach my students to express such true and lovely words.

Socrates and the College App Essay

True Confession:  I was a Great Books major; ergo, one of my favorite quotes is from Socrates.  “The unexamined life is not worth living,” he said at his own trial.  I frequently share this quotation with my students in essay coaching sessions.

Why?  Because I want my students to see that self-examination is a major point of the college essay.  While college admissions officers certainly look at scores and grades and recommendations, they ultimately want to know that the applicant is someone who has experiences and learns from those experiences.  You might be the youngest person to have climbed Mount Everest, or you may have tutored lepers in India, but if you didn’t learn anything about yourself and the world, those experiences are meaningless.  If you can’t articulate who you are and who you want to be, your essay won’t be meaningful or convincing to a college admissions officer.

Applicants to college aren’t expected to have all the answers, but they should be able to pose important questions they’re not afraid to ask, such as why is my life worth living?  What do I value?  What valuable skills or attitude or aptitude will I bring to this college?

Writing an excellent college application essay is a truly introspective process.  Not only do the applicants have to choose a significant story, accomplishment, or place, they also have to share how that experience reverberates through their lives.  They need to examine their lives past, present, and future.  I am always happy to share the timeless wisdom of Socrates.