I’ve been an award-winning writer and a teacher of writing for 25+ years. As an English teacher and assistant director of the Mountain School of Milton Academy, I taught High School juniors and seniors the art of the personal essay, and oversaw their college application process. I also worked as the director of Where There Be Dragons, an organization dedicated to meaningful travel programs for teens. I am one of those rare people who LOVES teenagers. As a trained personal coach, I know how to interview them to get their best ideas powerfully told on the page. My system includes multiple tools, honed with experience, that they can use in college and beyond to write clearly and persuasively. The top five schools attended by the students I’ve advised are Brown, Middlebury, Yale, Bowdoin, and Cornell.
This process was overwhelming: how do you say who you are in 650 words? Your guidance made it easy and helped me to find my voice. It was challenging, but you made it fun. Your interview process gave me clarity and helped me to focus on one great story. My writing was better, clearer and flowed beautifully. In the end I was so happy with what I wrote and I got into my top choice schools!!”
Pre-Meeting. Before we meet, I’ll send you a few questions to help me get to know you. This frees us up to dig in immediately when we connect and begin the 3-step process.
- Brainstorming. This is a no-judgement space. I do a series of interviews and share my favorite tools for finding the story that makes you distinctive. We have fun diving in and uncovering your developing sense of self.
- Structure. With a topic in hand, how do you write in a compelling, focused way? How will this essay stand out from the rest? We work on creating a “storyboard” for each essay. I’ll challenge you to take risks. I’ll teach you how to take something that seems so ordinary, so mundane, and write it so vividly that it ends up extraordinary.
- Fine-Tuning. Plan to write 3-5 drafts. We work together to find the best hook, to end with a “bang” and to get rid of any prose that weighs down the writing. I’ll help you with grammar and spelling to avoid distracting errors. I’ll also provide that outside perspective: does this person come across as curious, open, likable?
Susie is a miracle worker! She has tremendous empathy for students as they write (or procrastinate) an essay that requires self-reflection and storytelling. She is patient yet firm and most importantly can pull compelling writing out of these students that will surprise both the student and their parents. As an experienced educator who has taught and run a school with students exactly this age, she has a deep understanding of what will be a successful essay from the perspective of the admissions office. Her process reduces stress and anxiety for both parents and students, and instills fun into the task. I highly recommend her!”
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re curious about college essay coaching, try a session on me! Book a free 30-minute phone consult to gain instant momentum, and to see if working together is the right fit.
Our son didn’t always want our advice on his college applications. So we found it very reassuring to have Susie guiding him through the process. It greatly decreased our stress level to know that he was getting first rate advice. He really enjoyed working with her and found her feedback very helpful. She pushed when she needed to and helped him to elevate his writing. Susie cared about his success and in the end, he was excited to hit submit! Absolutely worth it.”
—Kelly R. S.
I offer a few paths forward:
This is the worry-free package. It’s a flat rate. I work by phone or in-person, beginning to end, for all essays. You don’t have to count how many hours we work together. And you can trust that I have your back to brainstorm, generate uncommon ideas, create a structure, provide unlimited editing and revision feedback of the personal statement essay (for either the Common Application or the Coalition Application), plus all supplemental essays/questions for up to 5 colleges. Get started here.
A La Carte
This essay is the toughest because colleges are looking for insight into who this applicant really is in 650 words. It requires reflection, perspective, and a unique angle. The open-ended prompts are overwhelming: “share your story” “what makes you unique?” My system breaks the mountain of writing down into small hills and gives support for the three main steps: 1. Brainstorm 2. Structure 3. Fine tune. Get started here.
For Returning Clients Only
These essays are shorter, but they need to be of the same quality as the core essay. Each school asks for 2-3 of these. Done well, these responses can pull an applicant out of the ‘Maybe’ pile and into the ‘Yes’ pile. Get started here.
A close look at a polished draft from an outside, experienced perspective. This is to catch grammatical errors, flow, and to help find the best hook and the most powerful ending. Get started here.