For Parents For Students
Why does my son/daughter need an essay coach?
I’ll be honest: your teen may not need one. There are several excellent websites that will walk you and your teen through how to write solid essays. However, not everyone has the time or patience to wade through the sites. I’ve done the research, listened to the podcasts, and spoken with admissions officers. I know what colleges are looking for from students’ personal statements and supplemental essays. From my years as a journalist interviewing story subjects and my years teaching college students, I know well how to work with teenagers to extract fresh ideas and facilitate strong writing.
My teen wrote a college application essay in school, and the English teacher gave it an “A.” Does my teen still need an essay coach?
Possibly. In my experience, high school teachers have too many students to give all essays the thorough going over that’s required for an essay of this importance. With one reading, I can let students know whether their essays need more polish or are ready to be submitted.
When and where will you work with my son/daughter?
Meetings can be held in person–at a location of mutual convenience–via online conferencing, or by phone. Once we get to the revision stage, most feedback is provided via email.
When should my son/daughter start the process and how long does it take?
I believe the summer before senior year is the best time to hunker down—or at least start brainstorming—especially if your son or daughter is applying Early Decision or Early Action. How long the process takes will depend on where your teen is when we start—does she come with ideas or a blank slate (either is fine)? Does he come having written a first draft? Does she need assistance solely with a personal statement or with supplemental essays, too?
How much does it cost and how do we get started?
Costs typically range from $125-$500. That said, each student is unique—some require a lot of assistance; some very little. Some will write only a personal statement; others will write a personal statement and several supplemental essays. For information specific to your son’s or daughter’s needs, please contact me.
For Students For Parents
What can I expect if I work with you?
The personal statement is your opportunity to set yourself apart from other students. I will help you determine your best story and the most effective way to tell it. I will guide you through the writing and the revising until you have an essay that captures the you that you want admissions officers to know.
If you are applying to schools that require supplemental essays, I will work with you to manage that process. Oftentimes essay prompts overlap, and you can write one “super essay” that will satisfy multiple prompts.
I have no idea what I want to write about; nothing about me stands out.
This is where you’re wrong. Each of us is unique. Sometimes, however, it can be challenging to ferret out our uniqueness or to determine what to share about ourselves. Through questions, brainstorming activities, and conversation, I can help you discover where you stand out.
Will you write my essay for me?
No. Your essay needs to be told by you, in your words. But I will work with you on everything from idea formation to final revision.
This whole process has me overwhelmed. Do you have any suggestions?
My first suggestion: Take several deep breaths. Second: Go online. There are so many helpful resources at your disposal from websites to podcasts to videos. These will answer many of the questions you have and those you don’t even know you have! My go-to website is Ethan Sawyer’s College Essay Guy. Another resource-rich site is College Vine, which provides guidance on everything from picking schools to managing the application process.
Jacki Skole is an award-winning journalist, author and adjunct professor of communication. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, she spent a decade as a writer and producer at CNN before turning to teaching. Jacki launched WRITE Now to assist students in writing the college application essays that will chart their future. Read More...