College Application Essays


When should a student start college essay coaching?

Ideally, students will start in the spring of their junior year. I aim for all students to finish their main essay for the common application and coalition application by the June before their senior year so they can start the supplemental essays as soon as they are released at the end of the summer. This way, students only have to work on remaining supplemental essays once their senior year begins, which reduces stress for both students and parents.

How many sessions will it take to complete all of the essays?

Every student’s college process is different. The number of sessions required depends on three factors: the student’s writing ability, comfort level with opening up about personal matters, and the colleges to which the student is applying. Since colleges often require their own supplemental essays, the student’s essay load is entirely dependent on the number of colleges to which the student is applying and how many supplemental essays those colleges require. For this reason, a student applying to 10 schools may have to write 8 essays or 15 essays. If a student sends a college list in advance, an estimate of the number of hours can be provided.

How will the essay coach ensure that the student’s essay sounds like his/her voice?

College admissions officers are looking to read essays from a high school student– not a parent or professional. Therefore, keeping the integrity of the student’s voice is one of the top priorities of Admission Ignition’s essay coaching process.  Comments will be made on the Google Document such as “come up with a synonym” or “you have used the word ‘want’ four times in this essay– please vary word choice”. The student’s voice and writing style is an additional opportunity to showcase a student’s personality. Therefore, Admission Ignition never discourages humor, wit, or quirkiness and has a strict policy of limited parental involvement, as parent editing tampers with the student’s voice. Please read this New York Times article for more information.

Are virtual sessions on Google Hangouts and Skype less effective than in-person sessions?

Not at all! Many students who live only a 20 minute drive from the Admission Ignition office choose to have virtual sessions because of convenience. Students and essay coaches work on essays using Google Docs, so both the essay coach and the student can see what the other person is writing in real time. Also, screen sharing is a great option when browsing a college’s website together when doing research for Why Us essays.

Writing and Organizational Skills


At what age should students start writing coaching?

Admission Ignition offers writing coaching to students in 4th grade through college and focuses on the skills that students need to master at every grade level.

Does Admission Ignition offer writing skills coaching for adults?

Absolutely! All sessions are customized to fit the the student’s individual needs and the skills he/she wants to build. Learning to write professional emails is a common motivation for adults who seek writing coaching.

Can strong students still benefit from writing coaching?

Absolutely! Admission Ignition supports many outstanding students with the development of higher level writing skills. The goal of writing coaching is to equip students with advanced writing skills that will help them succeed in college and in life. Whether writing an email to a professor, boss, or friend, knowing how to organize and articulate one’s ideas is extremely important. Writing coaching not only helps students build skills but also confidence! With writing coaching, students will feel more secure in their approach to assignments both in and out of the classroom.

What types of skills are emphasized in writing coaching?

For middle school students, coaching focuses on writing strong body paragraphs and five paragraph essays. For high school and college students, writing coaching focuses on equipping students with the skills necessary to write a well-developed research paper by utilizing scholarly sources to formulate a compelling thesis statement. This skill set will benefit them in college and make their adjustment easier. General concepts that are enforced throughout writing coaching are organizing ideas, utilizing transitions, improving flow, using active voice, writing thesis statements, integrating quotes and outside sources, writing compelling introductory and concluding sentences and paragraphs, and citing properly in MLA and APA format.