Services We Offer
Undergrad Application Essays: We help students applying to college write strong college application essays. Our positive, proven process also helps high school families reduce their stress during those busy application months.
Graduate School Application Essays: We also assist students and adults applying to graduate school write personal statements. We specialize in include medical school, law school, social work school, nursing school, business school, and PhD programs.
Two Service Options
Package of meetings: A success package of five zoom or face-to-face meetings (described below). Purchase a success package of meetings here.
Expert written feedback: A single session of expert written feedback of essay drafts. Read a description of our expert written feedback here. Purchase expert written feedback here. (Click the down arrow under “Services.”)
To help you understand the services we offer, we offer a free consultation to answer all of your questions about Essay Coaching. Sign up for a free consultation here.
Success Package of Five Zoom or Face-to-face Meetings
Completed essays are always an amazing improvement over the original drafts—more compelling, unique, and memorable. Students take away writing skills that help them succeed in college and beyond.
Prior to session one:
Before we meet, students use the jumpstart questionnaire to relax and recall experiences in their comfort of their own home. Students also complete a jumpstart contact form to help us stay in touch. You’ll receive a 13-page handout with tips and five sample essays.
Students learn what colleges are looking for in the college essay, and get all their questions answered. Time is spent interviewing the student and discussing their questionnaire as a way of getting to know him/her, reviewing helpful handouts with sample essays, teaching essay writing tips, and brainstorming best topics. Usually at the end of the first session, the student has one or more essay ideas. At the end of each session, we outline goals for the next session and confirm the calendar date of our next meeting.
This first appointment is perfect for a student who needs help selecting an essay topic or desires a thorough and professional evaluation of essay drafts.
About half of all Essay Coaching students walk in not knowing what they want to write–or should write–on an admissions essay. That’s OK!
Writing a strong college application essay is rarely taught in school, but is thoroughly covered in the first Essay Coaching appointment. All questions are welcomed…and answered! Students walk out relieved, knowledgeable, with essay samples, and usually with a strong idea for their own essay.
The other half of Essay Coaching students walk in with a draft, but aren’t sure of how it will affect a college admissions officer. Those students walk out with helpful feedback generated through a game and a discussion. Students wondering is this essay good enough? find this first appointment stress-relieving and helpful.
After session one:
Students write! They can type on a phone, ipad or computer, handwrite in a book, or dictate speech-to-text into a phone.
At the second session, the student will bring essay drafts, ideas, or may write during the session. Often we will simultaneously view their draft on a google doc. We will play a game to evaluate the writing as a college admissions officer would, discuss how to expand ideas into an essay, and may outline the essay. The other three sessions are spent editing the essay together and starting to brainstorm and draft additional essays.
After session two:
After session two: For college-specific essays, we encourage students to do their research. Students need to ask themselves what they know about the school, its courses, professors, classes, and their intended major if they have one. They can do this by reading websites, talking with students, faculty, alumni or college counselors.Students will continue to edit their essay drafts based on our session insights.
Sessions three to five:
During sessions three to five we will review college-specific essay drafts and continue to polish the common application essay.
Questions we ask at Essay Coaching before delivering one-on-one feedback.
- What did I learn about this student from reading this essay?
- Was I interested and/or impressed with what I learned? Did I learn about qualities that might help this student to enjoy, participate in and graduate college?
- Could I follow this essay, especially the timeline? Did any parts of the story confuse me?
- Was there anything mentioned that I was curious to hear more about?
- Does the essay seem as impressive as the student I read about in the questionnaire or met on a zoom?
- When I try to envision the student and his/her story, what images from the essay do I see, what phrases do I remember?
- Were there any obvious grammatical errors?
- Were there any sentences or paragraphs that were not needed or should be moved?
Remember: Application essays show what you care about, and what you’ve done about it. Colleges read these essays to envision you graduating from their college.
Five-appointments Package Includes:
- Solving the College Admissions Puzzle: A Guide for Students and Families about College Selection, Essay Writing, and High-Stakes Testing, by Debbie E. Merion, M.S.W, M.F.A, John B. Boshoven, M.A., M.S.W and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. – Gold Medal Winner of the 2014 Global Ebook Awards.
- Essay Coaching Handouts Package
Package deal with five sessions:
Sign up for a fall package price of $1150.
For the student who needs help selecting an essay topic, and structuring, writing, and editing the essay.
The five-appointment package covers the average number of appointments it takes to write one winning essay, but one student wrote eight essays during her five sessions!
Dear Ms. Merion,
I want to thank you for your expert advice and suggestions for my college essays last fall. I feel like I am often misunderstood, so it really helped that you took the time to get to know me, to ensure my voice was shining through with enthusiasm, visual imagery, and clarity in my writing. I was fortunate to be accepted to Harvard, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, Caltech, and my top choice, MIT — and I’m sure my essays and your guidance played a part in this. I am beyond excited to move to Cambridge this fall to study at MIT. Thanks again, and I hope you continue to share your talents with kids like me.
–R.T. MIT Class of 2022