College Essay Workshops and Coaching
Write bullseye college essays with integrity and voice. We get it done.
Leaf and Pen offers small group workshops and individual coaching, to help college applicants craft admissions-winning essays, and strengthen their writing skills in the process.
Please email for more info.
Private sessions on your schedule, for maximum individualized attention. In person and virtual.
Small group workshops that harness the fun and power of group dynamics, and get the bulk of the work completed in one affordable, four-day workshop.
Why Leaf and Pen? What should you look for in a college essay coach?
A great essay coach must bring deep experience to the process, as both a teacher and a writer. Check the coach’s credentials carefully. Many essay coaches have writing or editing backgrounds; others are educators. I bring powerful professional experience in both these fields to my coaching. My work as an educator includes two decades of full-time English classroom teaching, many years as a teacher-writer in residence in K-12 schools across New York City, and many years leading writing professional development for fellow teachers. My own published work includes novels, short stories, and—of course—personal essays. One of my personal essays was awarded the prestigious Pushcart Prize, which the Chicago Tribune calls “The ex-officio house organ for the American literary cosmos” and the New York Times calls "A distinguished annual literary event."
A great essay coach will not write or rewrite your child’s essays. In an era of admissions scandals and fraud, colleges are looking for essays that give them insight into each unique applicant; they’re looking for character, essence and genuine voice, not perfect essays. Admissions officers can spot a heavy editorial hand in a Manhattan minute, and are increasingly wary about it. It’s not hard to find a “coach” to write or heavily edit your child’s work. There are even companies that sell full-blown essays. These aren’t the services I provide. It’s easier to write a student’s essays than guide a student through the process of writing and polishing their best essays themselves. I will teach your child to write to potential on these essays.
A great essay coach knows how to get the best out of each individual student. Good writing is not a one-size fits all endeavor. This is particularly true of the college (common app)essay, which requires a uniquely personal piece of writing, that conveys something essential about the writer. Each student writer needs different kinds of tools, encouragement and techniques. Some essay coaches will tell you what they do. I will work with your child—and you—to assess what they need. My expertise teaching all different kinds of learners allows me to tailor my work to your child’s learning style, strengths and areas for support.
A great essay coach makes the process smooth, productive and successful—for both you and your child. The college process is stressful enough. The college essay and supplemental essays shouldn’t feel like boulders you have to push up hill. Are you finding yourself coaxing, cajoling and nagging your child to get the work done? Sometimes the most important role of the essay coach is to just make sure the writing is completed efficiently and beautifully. I am a veteran at building relationships with students and their parents, to facilitate peak work.
A great essay coach has their heart and soul in their work. The ranks of essay coaches and tutors are filled with recent graduates, aspiring creatives and academics-in-training, who work with young people on the side. Tutoring companies farm out essay coaching to a roster of staff members. Coaches are often generalists, tutoring a variety of subjects and skills. Nurturing young people and bringing out the best writer in them is my life’s work. I will personally coach your child, with the dedication and skill born of experience and love for what I do.
And finally, a great essay coach will teach your child something about writing that will last. My students learn techniques for brainstorming, for capturing rich details, for developing and structuring work, and for editing, trimming and buffing a piece so it shines. Students will walk away with great essays for their college applications; they may also walk away feeling more like writers.
How many hours of private coaching does the main (common app)essay require? Four to fourteen hours, start to finish; it varies greatly. How strong a writer is the student? Can the student do focused independent work on drafts between coaching sessions? How well do they re-draft and incorporate editorial feedback? On average, students complete their essays with six to eight hours of coaching.
What about the supplemental essays? These vary greatly from one college to the next. I will work with your student for maximum efficiency, minimum stress and optimal results.
Will my child leave the small group workshop with a finished personal essay? Some students leave with a finished draft, some students leave with a draft that needs some revision. Each small group workshop includes an hour of private coaching following the workshop to discuss what else the essay requires, and to give the student detailed notes to complete the work. Most students leave the workshop with a very solid draft and are able to easily polish their essay with the notes we make during the private follow-up. They also leave with a variety of ideas they will be able to use for any supplemental essays required by their school of choice.
When do the small group workshops meet? I work with workshop families to find dates that fit into their students’ schedules. I will add your child to a group, or you may put together your own group (minimum six students, maximum ten).
Do you work with students who can’t afford coaching? Yes. I work with some students each admissions season who are not able to pay a tutor.
To what schools have your students been accepted? The majority of students in my last cohort were accepted to their first choice schools, many early decision or early action. Among the school acceptances last admissions season were Binghamton, Carnegie Mellon, Champlain, Columbia, Cornell, George Washington University, Harvard, Howard, NYU, Oberlin, Penn State, Reed, University of Chicago, Wesleyan and numerous others.
I also coach applicants writing high school admissions essays, graduate school admissions essays, personal statements and cover letters, and I tutor primary and secondary school students in reading and writing.
I'd like more information! Please email me at email@example.com. I will be happy to answer your questions.
"I started late on my college essay, and had no clue where to begin. Eve worked with me to figure out the story I wanted to tell. She is a great storyteller and helped me understand what key parts are important in a story, and what can be left out. She showed me strategies to help me focus and stay on track. She helped me create a vivid image in my mind and describe it. The strategies Eve taught me will help in my writing in college and forever."
--Jibreel, 12th grader
"When it came time for my son to write his college application essays, we were stressed out. We were used to him needing support to do any writing. Enter Eve. She agreed that time was short, but was confident Jibreel could get it done. She met with him a few times and he did some work on his own. Jibreel was excited to complete the work Eve assigned him between sessions. Overall, the process was painless. In the end, Jibreel produced the most beautiful writing he’s ever done and got into a college that’s a great fit for him! Eve helped Jibreel find his voice as a writer, the confidence to put his words down on the page, and the willingness to revise and edit. We are ever grateful." --Rasha, Jibreel's mother
Leaf and Pen writing retreat scholarships for public school teachers and adjuncts are funded by your essay coaching fees.