Posts tagged with "Washington"

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.)

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!

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.

 

“Empowered”

CoachSkills_400On the advice of several friends and colleagues, I’m expanding my business into a wider array of essay coaching.  I’m now offering coaching on everything from the Thomas Jefferson High School admission test essays to scholarship essays to graduate schools essays and everything in between. Why?  Because there’s a definite need and because I love it!

It’s great fun to get to know my students and help them find their authentic voices.  One Washington and Lee High School mom, whose son is applying early, said that he left our session feeling “empowered.”  Isn’t that the word that every coach and teacher wants to hear?  I sure do, and that’s one of my primary goals:  that my students walk out of our sessions knowing they have the skills, understanding, and talent to tackle writing in a new way.

My students are some of the best and brightest around, yet they have no clue how to write a strong personal essay.  It’s completely different from writing DBQ’s or a five-paragraph essay or an Advanced Placement analysis. Many of their first drafts are formulaic snoozers that will be easily discarded by an overwrought admissions officer.  I tell my students clearly that I’m not being mean, but honest.  They need to take their writing to the next level, and it’s been tremendously satisfying to watch them do just that.

Happy writing!