Keep calm and write your college essay

“We decided to cancel our next appointment because my son  has already received his acceptance from MSU.  Your help was much appreciated!”–C.M. Oct., 2016





Note from B.J. from Maryland, a 2016 graduating senior in June, 2016:

I’m happy to tell you that I got into…

·         University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) – academic scholarship

·         Virginia Tech

·         University of Maryland (College Park) – Honors College, academic scholarship

·         Penn State (University Park)

·         University of Maryland Baltimore County – academic scholarship

·         Case Western Reserve University – academic scholarship

·         Rochester Institute of Technology – academic scholarship

·         University of New Haven – academic scholarship

·         Kettering University – academic scholarship

The lucky college I will attend is …. University of Maryland (College Park)

and his mother says:

This is the second time our family has used Debbie Merion’s essay coaching services…and the second time we’ve had a child be accepted to every college to which he applied. Thanks, Debbie!


Essay Coaching follows the Code of Ethics of the International Association of Coaching.

Ben Ehrlich, University of Michigan student, April 2014


St.Clair County,MI students

Essay Class in St. Clair County, Michigan


Feedback From Parents of High School Seniors:

“My daughter worked with Deb a few years back to tweak her college essay. All her college acceptances commented on her unique essay, as did her one late rejection. Deb is insightful, fun & easy going. She relates well to students and is able to get them to organize their own thoughts in an original yet interesting & professional way.”–Barb Kolling, Ann Arbor, MI.

“Hi Debbie,    Thanks for this flyer. I forwarded it to Stephen when you sent it. Just to update the update, Stephen got accepted to all 6 colleges, offered merit scholarships at 5, and ended up going to a small liberal arts college in Baltimore that offered him a full-tuition scholarship.  He’s doing so well in college: made the Dean’s List the 1st semester, the President’s List his 2nd semester, and made a 3.7 his 3rd semester.  He’s in his 4th semester right now and seems to be doing well.  In 2nd semester, he made an A in his freshman English class. Yippee!  Well, I’m back with another son getting ready to enter the college application season, so I’m looking for essay coaching again.”  –V.J., Homeschooling mother in Maryland, March, 2015

“Your sessions were exactly what we were looking for–and went beyond our expectations.  The most helpful aspect was the give and take.  It is so impressive to see Debbie reflect so perceptively and bring Lang’s words and ideas to life.  I really appreciated Debbie’s openness having a mom present.  It was so good to know the status of the work and not feel the need to intervene at home.  I have already recommended Essay Coaching to many folks.  My advice for others is to:  Start early.  Hire Debbie.  She makes the whole process fun and relatively painless.  Debbie is a lifeline in the whole process.”–Barbara Delancey, parent of Lang from class of 2013

“Your sessions provided direction on essay topic selection and kept our daughter on task.  I found the one-on-one sessions more helpful than a class.  I would absolutely recommend Essay Coaching to others, because it is much more than help with writing essays–it is help in building skill sets for writing in college.  My advice would be to encourage parents to stay to observe so they have a clear idea of what their child is learning and how you are empowering the kids to be creative and become better writers from session one through five.”–Lynn Dworzanin, Parent from class of 2013

Dear Debbie,

Thank you for your outstanding, long-distance work with Gordon on his college essays (you should have received a note from Gordon sharing his good news).  I could definitely see how working with you improved the quality of Gordon’s essays, and I appreciated that you allowed and encouraged him to do his own work.  I’m confident that your coaching made an important contribution to his excellent outcome.
If you are ever in need of a referral, please let me know.  I will certainly provide a most enthusiastic recommendation.”
–Alison, December, 2012

I don’t know how people can do this without you”—Kolby Moffatt, parent of a college-bound senior, 2012

“Many thanks for your “triage” work with my daughter today. You are amazing! You provided the perfect funnel of information & ideas + wisdom! KUDOS! We look forward to working with you in the future.” — February, 2012 LA Wallace, Georgia  (phone and email counseling)

“I asked writing expert and essay coach, Debbie Merion, to bring her “Write Your Best College Application Essay” program to Dexter in August, 2011 to help my high school senior. My daughter, Kristen is an excellent student, but has struggled with writing. She heard about Debbie’s program  and knew it could give her a vital edge in the college application process−and she was not disappointed. Debbie’s coaching helped Kristen bring enthusiasm, focus and personality to her essay. The evolution in her writing style was remarkable. Through Debbie’s program, Kristen has mastered an important skill that she can tap again and again! Debbie brings out the unique story in each student, increasing their self-confidence and opening their eyes to new perspectives. The students in Kristen’s group had a great time and emerged more motivated, excited and prepared for the college application process.”– Diane Durance, Executive Director, Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest.  September, 2011

“You had a unique relationship and professional attitude which is what is needed to distill a high school student’s essay into something that really highlights that student. After speaking with an admissions counselor, I believe that his essays were the component in his application that made the difference.” –J.S.  September, 2008

“Just wanted to say thank you for your essay coaching help this Fall.  Olivia heard from Michigan yesterday and has been accepted!  I have to believe that along with her grades, your help in preparing her to write a interesting essay made someone notice.” —Kathy, December 2011.

“Last night we received heard good news from UM. I am grateful to you for your talents, your patience, your approach. Sign me up as a very satisfied customer.” –Dr. Fred Hankin, December 2011.

“The most helpful thing for me is it took me out of the picture. I had a lot of trust that the essays were getting done; I had confidence in your ability to see the process through to completion. –P.A.


Feedback From High School Students Who Were Coached Individually:

“I liked how I would brainstorm ideas with you, and how you took a personal interest in my life to find out what I could best write about.  My advice to other students is to not stress about finding a good story, because everyone has something unique and important to say.”  Madeleine L, Class of 2015

“The sessions helped me feel confident and secure about my qualities of my essays.  I liked how you were able to be honest with me about my writing, and found a way to be encouraging while still getting me to try harder.  I would tell other students to start as soon as possible, don’t procrastinate writing essays, and don’t feel bad if your first drafts aren’t great–that’s what coaching is for.”  Lauren W., Class of 2015

Hi Debbie!
I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for helping me with my college essays. They were definitely the difference maker in my application!
Because of your help, I have been accepted into all three schools that I applied to: Haverford College, University of Michigan, and Washington & Jefferson College. Now I will be able to pursue my dream by playing field hockey at Haverford in the fall! Again, thank you! I hope you have a happy holiday and happy new year!”  A.V., Class of 2015


At first I was nervous I wouldn’t get across all that I wanted to say in my essay.  But this last session really makes me much more confident.  I liked how you weren’t afraid to be truthful and tell me when I wrote a sentence or paragraph that could be improved. I think that the honesty is what really helped my essay grow.  I would definitely recommend Essay Coaching to others, it was a really helpful and positive experience. My advice:  It is never bad to ask for help with college essays. I think you are really good at making sure the qualities I wanted to emphasize really shine through in my essay. — Rose Henkin, 2013 graduate, attending University of Michigan

The sessions were extremely helpful.  I liked that you made it easy to brainstorm ideas for essays.  I think this was the most challenging part of the process for me and your process helped a lot.  I think you are also great at cutting (reducing the word count).  My advice:  Essay Coaching is extremely useful in all aspects of the essay writing process.  From coming up with ideas to putting them on paper to cutting and editing.  Essay Coaching has been extremely helpful to me in the college admission process.  I have already recommended Essay Coaching to others. — Josh Sherrick, 2013 graduate, attending University of Michigan

I liked being able to hear something I did well, and hearing a very clear plan of what I need to change.  I would absolutely recommend Essay Coaching to others.  My advice is:  don’t be surprised at the number of edits you will make. Be specific in your writing.–Justin Wooten, 2013 graduate, attending Cornell

I feel much more prepared for writing passionate and well-structured essays in the future.  I liked the positive atmosphere and how you were able to play to my strengths. My advice is:  get started early and be prepared for every meeting.  Don’t procrastinate! –Chad Adotonelli, 2013 graduate

I completed seven essays while working with Debbie.  My advice is:  do it!  but be prepared to work for the best result.


“Hi Debbie,

Thanks for your comments on my Northwestern essay. In response to your question about colleges, I just heard back from Stanford on Friday night and I got in! I’d like to thank you for all your help in the essay process, from generating ideas to assessing the final product. It was your help that pushed me to make my essays unique and full of “Gordon,” which is so important in college applications and all writing. Not only did you give critical feedback, but you laughed at my jokes and helped me see where my essays were strong as well. I really appreciate all the help you gave me.

I won’t be sending in any more applications since I heard back from Stanford. Thanks again for all your help and guidance!”  — Gordon. December, 2012

“You really helped me come up with ideas, and stay on task weekly.”  –Abigail Dworzanin. 2012

“Dear Ms. Merion,

I just received notification that I have been accepted to Harvard College in the Class of 2016. Thank you so much for all of your help. From brainstorming to writing to editing, your expertise gave me the tools I needed to write strong, high-quality essays.  I truly could not have done it without you.”
Aaron Mukerjee
(Essay Coaching also congratulates Aaron for being named Young Citizen of the Year in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2012)


“You helped me get what I had in my mind out onto the paper, in the way I wanted it. I’d definitely recommend you to any student who is struggling to write their essay.” — S.C. ,Duke University


“You were extremely helpful and my essays wouldn’t have been nearly as good without our meetings (that’s an understatement).  You helped me write my own essays by extracting ideas from within me and guided me in their improvement, so your mission description holds true. ” – J.H.

“You helped me make my essay stand out, and give it a focus.” –A.W. , James Madison University

“I liked how you taught to my style. Each time we worked we made a lot of progress on each essay. The free-write was helpful to get my ideas out there and warm up my ideas.” –P.S.,  University of Michigan

“You helped me find a topic that was meaningful for me and to other people as well. I had fun–I enjoyed the appointments.” –M.A., Miami University

Feedback from Grad School Applicants (including PhD, MBA, Law School, Engineering School, MS in Journalism)

“Debbie’s bright, straightforward, and no-nonsense style helped me immensely during the stressful time of writing a college essay as an older adult. I had learned about a PhD program with very little time until the application deadline and Debbie made time in her busy schedule to help me. She was quick and to the point in asking questions that made me think more deeply into what I wanted to say and expressing my true self in writing. She genuinely loves helping others with their writing skills and I feel extremely lucky to have found her.” – G.S. Ann Arbor, 2016

“I got into the social work program!!!!! Thank you for all your help! I couldn’t have done it without you!   – C.R.  Ann Arbor, 2016

Note from Debbie Merion–I am proud to report that the last two students I coached on their MBA essays received full tuition scholarships from top schools.  The next two excerpts are from notes they sent me:

Hi Debbie,
I just wanted to reach out now that the MBA application process is over and thank you again for all your help. I think you did wonders to improve my essays, and ultimately I was very successful.
I was admitted to NYU, Cornell and Dartmouth. I ended up accepting my offer to Cornell, having been provided a full tuition scholarship.
Thank you again for everything .–J. Cohen  April 12, 2014
I JUST GOT INTO KELLOGG MBA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With a boatload of money. Amazing news, I’m so excited!!!  (Also was admitted to Stanford MBA and decided to go there instead.)–M.R., Dallas.

“To Whom It May Concern,

Writing has always been a difficult and painful process for me. When I decided to go to school for my M.B.A., the thought of developing personal essays during the application process almost prevented me from returning to school at all! Thankfully, I met Deb Merion. Deb helped me believe that what I had to say was valid and interesting. She also taught me that I could write it in a way which both inspired the reader’s confidence in me and gave an accurate insight into who I was and where I was going.

What surprised me most about working with Deb was her gift in understanding subjects which were unfamiliar to her. She asked wonderful, thought-provoking questions and had the ability to identify where my success factors were in those complex situations. She did not write for me; however, she was able to clear the muddy thought process which prevented me from communicating intelligently. She validated my thoughts, praised my progress, and worked diligently with me through approaching aggressive deadlines.

I liked working with Deb because she genuinely cared about my goals and adopted them as her own. When I told her I had been accepted to the University of Michigan’s Business School, it was as if we had been accepted, not just me. Now, when I write I feel more confident and capable concerning my skills and am able to believe more in myself. I highly recommend Deb to anyone who is looking for guidance in the writing process, for they can be assured that their final product will be regarded as a premium form of communication.”


G.B. CPA  March, 2005


“Hi Debbie,

I cannot thank you enough for your help and guidance with my applications for the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. I found out on Friday that I was admitted! Your candid feedback and responsiveness provided major assistance as I compiled the application over just a few weeks. I appreciate your support and strongly endorse your services. Thank you!”

–Nick, Aspiring MBA candidate.  Admitted  March, 2013

“Debbie’s assistance on my law school personal statement was very useful.  I believe that her help with my essay is the reason I was admitted to my first choice law school:  New York Law.  She has excellent ideas on ways to improve any personal statement or to help an applicant get started on the essay. Debbie was a pleasure to work with and it is clear that she truly cares about helping her students.  Additionally, her knowledge of the entire application process makes her services even more useful to applicants.  I would recommend Debbie to any student applying to law school.” – Alex L.  Ft. Lauderdale, Florida  March 20, 2012

“Hi Debbie,

I got into Columbia!!! Can you believe it?   It’s absolutely my No.1 choice and my dream school. I’m so so excited. I guess I don’t have to worry about other schools any more. I’ll graduate with my M.S. in Journalism.

I think talking to you over Skype or phone and discussing my essays together really helped me a lot. I could understand why changes were needed and how to make them. I believe I learned a lot in this way. I would recommend you to others. Thanks so much for all your help. Please keep in touch.”  –X. B. ,Columbia School of Journalism.  March 20, 2011.


Feedback for “Write and Edit a Winning College Application Essay” and “Writing a Winning College Application Essay” Ann Arbor Rec and Ed Class – 2013

Very helpful, informative, I like the exercises we did and the way Debbie tried to vary the pace of the class and made sure to make people comfortable to ask questions  — Janice Lieberman (parent) 6/13

What I liked most about the class is I understood what I need to write about.  –Scott Lieberman 6/13

Debbie is a great instructor — Kathleen Mabie (parent) 6/13

I liked most that Debbie was very knowledgeable and open to questions.  It was very helpful. — Anka Clark 6/13

I like most that the class was both instructive and personal, with help tailored to the participants.  — Jakob Smith 6/13

Very helpful class! Excellent information, presented in a way easy to understand.  Good discussion.  Keep up the good work! — Amy Meltzer

One thing I really liked about this class was that both sessions really helped me get started and have ideas for essays.  One change I would suggest for this class is it should be advertised.  It was worth it.

–David Vallem

I loved this class.  I learned so much and I’m glad I took it. One thing I really liked about this class was the one-on-one with the teacher, and the 10 min free writes. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a winning college essay.

–Hina Jaffer

One thing I really liked about this class was it gave me a lot of good ideas to start, now I don’t feel so lost.

–Kayla Zynda

I gained some really useful, quick tools to get me started in thinking about writing these kinds of essays. Very chill and positive instructor, I really felt that I learned all I could in a couple of 2-hour sessions.

–Peter Burke

Excellent, useful class for people starting the college application process.

–Delaney Wright

Enjoyable and informative class.

–Sumayya Atmeh

Debbie is very knowledgable and experienced.  I feel much more comfortable about the upcoming application season.

–Jacob Rich

Feedback for “Write Locally, Get Published Globally” Ann Arbor Rec and Ed Class – 2012

One thing I really liked about this class was the resources provided and information about the UM printer for books.

–Tywann Booker

One thing I really liked about this class was her great enthusiasm for writing/publishing.

–Vidyadhar Kshirsagar

I enjoyed it.  I was impressed with how much knowledge the instructor had.

–Joy Duffy

Great presenter, very informed about subject.  I really enjoyed the class.

–Anita Smith

One thing I really liked about this class was Debbie—very personable, good pacing, knowledgeable.

–Harriet Wolbrink

Feedback for Publish Your Own Ebook– Rec and Ed Class 2013

One thing I really liked about this class was that it was easy to understand and enough information without it being overwhelming.  Great class! –Katerina Manikas

One thing I really liked about this class was Deb’s patience, support and interest in everyone’s success.  –Great training!  –Jo Erickson

I loved the clear directions by the instructor, willingness to answer questions, and her PATIENCE—Kathleen Peabody

I don’t have much confidence with technology, and Debbie made sure that no one was left behind.  Kudos!  She knew her material.  She spoke clearly.  She was patient. Well worth the time.—Deanne Sovereen

It was a good and fun class.  Debbie is very nice, patient, and encouraging.  –Enya Liu

Feedback from Educators:

““Debbie connected with our students and teachers immediately. She inspired the students to write an essay that communicated their passion. After her lecture, Debbie facilitated a group of writing mentors who provided one-to-one feedback to seniors engaged in college essay writing. It was an awesome experience for both students and adults. I highly recommend Debbie.” –Joanne Hopper, Director of Education Services, St. Clare County RESA

Essay Coaching students have been accepted to:

  • American University
  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dennison University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University (Honors Program)
  • James Madison University
  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University
  • Lake Forest College
  • Michigan State University (Honors Program)
  • Northeastern University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Georgia (Honors Program)
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Michigan (Honors Program)
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Wisconsin University
  • Wittenburg University–This student received a acceptance letter from the Director of Admissions, complimenting her on her essay and offering her a $60,000 academic scholarship.
  • Yale University

Please note that some of our clients requested that we use initials on this webpage.  If you would like a more detailed endorsement, please write to debbie at essaycoaching.com.  We would be happy to provide you with the names and emails of past clients who have volunteered to serve as references.