When college admissions readers start reviewing a huge stack of applications, they must move quickly. They’ll take a look at your grades, your SAT/ACT scores and the rigor of your classes first, to make sure you meet the school’s standards. If so, it’s on to the essay. And this is where the college really gets to know who you are and if you’d be a welcome addition to their academic and social environment. This is where you have a chance to shine.
That’s where I come in. I’ve been helping students with their application essays since 2006, when I served as a guidance counselor at St. John’s International School in Waterloo, Belgium. I’ve guided my own four children through the college application process to colleges they loved. And, as a freelance writer, I’ve had my own personal essays published in magazines like Family Circle, Salon, NPR and Writers’ Digest. I myself have had to compete with hundreds of other essays in order to get published, so I’m experienced in “hooking the reader” from the very first sentence.
When you send me a rough draft, I’ll send it back to you with insights about structure, staying focused, and using a mix of descriptive writing and “action” writing to move the story forward. I’ll ask you questions that make you think about what your “lessons learned” are or why this story is important to you. And of course, I will help you clean up any grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors.
Writing the personal essay is, well, personal — and it should be. But it needn’t be stressful. If you feel overwhelmed, I can help you break the essay into manageable bits. If you don’t even know where to begin, I can help you brainstorm. If you hate writing, I can help you get your voice heard anyway. Before you know it, you’ll have an essay or two ready to go and you’ll realize that the rest of the college application is just filling in the blanks from your resume. The hard part will be over. And, who knows? You may be surprised at how enjoyable the process was in the end. It’s like the ultimate “selfie.” This is the person you’re showing to the college. If you don’t know yourself well now, you will definitely know yourself better by the time you finish an essay or two! Let’s do it together.