College Essays and COVID-19: Growing Up

My student in California apologized for her raspy voice, and said she would prefer not to Skype and just connect by phone for our tutoring session this week. Her dream is to become a physician’s assistant, and we were discussing the new supplemental essay questions that some schools are asking, including “How has COVID-19 affected... Continue Reading →

The ABCs of Remote Learning: 5 Tips

I’ve been teaching people how to write at a distance since 2004. In the past year I’ve tutored students in Shanghai, Singapore, Jakarta, Sydney, Detroit and Los Angeles via Skype. They are almost always learning to write college essays for undergraduate admissions, Ph.D. programs, and fellowships, but occasionally I get the odd request from a... Continue Reading →

Tiger Moms vs. Kitty Cat Moms

My students are taking a little break after the big push to meet the November 1 deadline for submitting early decision/action applications to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, the United States Military Academy, the University of Michigan and other highly ranked schools. It gave me some time to reflect on the different parenting styles I’ve encountered... Continue Reading →

College Essay Coaching: The Glaring Omission

I’ve come across a heartbreaking trend among my students who are applying this fall to prestigious colleges and universities. Many of them have stunning achievements, including perfect scores on standardized tests, hundreds of hours in volunteer work and leadership positions on winning sports teams. Their credentials include self-publishing books, rising to the top in national... Continue Reading →

Baba Yaga and How to Get into Harvard

My mother often brags that she has read just one book in her entire life, a young adult romance from 1942 called “Seventeenth Summer” by the author Maureen Daly. Books, to her, are dust collectors and a monumental waste of time. She reminds me a bit of the evil captain in the Jack London novel... Continue Reading →

Seven College Essay Tips – For Parents

As a college essay coach I’ve found that parents often are the greatest stumbling block to a winning piece of writing. Here is my advice to well-meaning parents who are tempted to parachute in and take charge of the process. Keep Your Hands Off the Essay Elementary school teachers often tell me that they can... Continue Reading →

Overcoming the Fear of Writing

I met with one of my business-writing clients at Starbucks this week. As we were finishing up, the real truth came out. Despite his impressive resume and credentials, he is intimidated by writing and doesn’t know how to overcome the fear as he seeks to launch his career in a new direction. I had a... Continue Reading →

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