I assist high school seniors working on college application essays as well as parents writing essays about their children for independent elementary, middle and high school applications. Services include brainstorming essay topics and editing drafts. I provide suggestions for streamlining text, improving readability and increasing reader engagement in content. My primary goals are to help the writer create essays that will stand out among the thousands and, most of all, to preserve the writer’s own voice. Importantly, I do not draft admissions essays.
My hourly rate is $200/hour.**
* One review of an essay typically takes 30-75 minutes. Subsequent reviews of the same essay and the first review of shorter/supplemental essays take approximately 15-60 minutes.
* Edits are usually completed within 12-72 hours of submission. Edits are made in Google Docs “suggestion” mode, which the writer can then accept or decline.
* Drafts submitted by the writer must already be complete with no missing information to be filled in by the editor.
** SFUSD families — If this fee is inaccessible to you, I provide these services for free through the personal statement tutoring program at 826 Valencia, a non-profit that supports students with writing skills.
Workshop for Parents = $450
For parents of kindergarten, middle school and high school applicants, this 45-minute workshop will cover how to craft an engaging, reader-friendly essay that accurately conveys a child’s strengths and challenges. (Maximum 25 attendees.)
“Erin was my saving grace in the college process. I was working with another tutor on my college essays who wanted to rewrite my essay and change all of my ideas. I went to Erin and she helped me edit my essay without changing my voice. Because of her help I was able to submit essays that were authentic to my personality and I got into my top choice school. She is incredible!”
*Boston College-Bound High School Senior
“I think everyone can agree that the college application process is not for the faint of heart – for neither child nor parent. Having Erin’s rational, thoughtful, speedy and spot-on feedback for my daughter’s application essays was a gift beyond measure. Erin asked the right questions, made solid suggestions, cut down words like the pro that she is and beautifully preserved the voice of my 17-year-old’s prose, making this process so much less fraught with anxiety (and familial tension) while taking her essays to the next level. Once my daughter handed her work to Erin, we knew it was in the best of hands – not only would she respond quickly but always with some word magic that would truly save the day. We have a lot of gratitude and loads of praise for Erin.”
*Convent of the Sacred Heart High School Parent
“I am so grateful to have had Erin on my ‘team’ during the college application process. I went to Erin with multiple ideas about essays I wanted to write; she spent time on each idea and helped me hone in on the ones that best represented me. She was incredibly encouraging and quick to respond to all the drafts I sent her – usually within a day. She prompted me to be creative and thorough in my writing – without being too wordy. I’m beyond pleased with how my essays turned out and attribute the acceptance to my dream school in great part to her help.”
*New York University-Bound High School Senior
“Erin took much of the stress out of college application essay writing; I can’t recommend her highly enough. She was constructive, positive and incredibly responsive. She provided practical calm during what could have been an intense time. (I could basically stay out of the way!) My daughter felt great about her application essays and that with Erin’s help she told her story well. Erin was a true voice of reason helping my daughter find her own voice in writing.”
*Parent of Gunn High School (Palo Alto) Senior
“I have a tendency to completely plow through word count limits, so Erin was a HUGE help in reigning in my wordiness. And despite the word cuts she helped me make, I never felt like she’d cut out my voice. Most importantly Erin knows deadlines and her response time is lightning-fast (perfect for those day-before-due-date supplement cram sessions!). Erin was a godsend and I truly don’t think I would have made it through this college application season without her.”
*High School Senior, San Francisco
“Erin was wonderful to work with. She is incredibly competent and responsive and I felt like I had someone I could trust to guide my essays in the right direction. Erin was exceptionally good at identifying the kind of essay each school wanted to see and making sure my writing reflected those desired aspects while being uniquely ‘me.’ She was also especially good at pinpointing habits in my writing that diluted my voice or were superfluous. I absolutely recommend working with Erin!”
*UCLA-Bound High School Senior
“Having my daughter work with Erin took a lot of the pressure off me (and her). It’s a very stressful process, but Erin gave my daughter the confidence she needed to get through it. I knew that she was in good hands with Erin, which allowed me to be more hands-off about deadlines, etc. Erin always got back to her right away and the quick turnaround time was very much appreciated. Thanks so much, Erin!”
*The Bronx High School of Science Parent
“Despite being a good writer, when it came to essays for college applications it was challenging for our daughter to write about herself. Her writing needed focus and editing, and she didn’t want feedback from me (her mom). We didn’t find Erin until the week before the application deadline, but Erin was super responsive and worked as a sounding board for our daughter and helped her finalize her essays while being cognizant of the writing needing to be our daughter’s. Our daughter was happy with how her essays came into focus and we were happy that having Erin involved helped us not get sucked into a difficult family dynamic under the pressure of college applications!”
*Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory Parent
“We attended Erin’s high school essay workshop where we learned how best to frame, edit, and capitalize on the opportunity to highlight our son’s strengths and opportunities for growth through the parent application. Erin demystified the process and we left the workshop feeling much more confident in our approach. In fact, Erin was so helpful that we decided to use her editing services. Erin was supportive, professional and efficient and helped us distill our child and his ‘fit’ for schools down to a succinct and impactful 500 words. If you are looking for support and assistance in the editing process or even just where to begin, we highly recommend Erin. She saved us an enormous amount of time and energy in the editing process and made us feel much more confident in our final product while ensuring the content and voice was our own.”
*Live Oak School Parent
“Erin is the Essay Whisperer and was a tremendous help in our daughter getting accepted at our first choice kindergarten. Erin’s workshop explained what the admissions directors are looking for, along with common mistakes parents make when writing their essays. Her editing of our drafts turned our essays from good to great, presenting our family in an authentic and compelling way. The San Francisco kindergarten process is daunting, but with Erin in our corner, we felt confident that we were putting our best foot forward.”
*JCC Preschool Parent
“I hired Erin in the middle of the high school process when I felt absolutely stuck with the parent portion of my application. I can’t even begin to express how incredible her editing was. She helped create a more cohesive and smooth essay about my son, which made all the difference in the world. Erin made the process easy and it was a very quick turnaround. I would definitely use Erin again and I highly recommend her for any of your editing needs.”
*Cathedral School for Boys Parent
“Erin is the guru of high school Parent Essays! Trying to convey your child on paper can be very challenging, especially when you are writing about a child that has struggled and overcome learning challenges. As an experienced writer and parent, Erin is equipped to support both the structural elements of the essay and the emotional elements. She is attuned to the complexity of some children and can help tease out the elements that the schools will be most interested in hearing. After working with Erin last year, I was excited to share her expertise with my school community. She led a high school essay workshop on the weekend which was well attended. The majority of parents later used Erin for 1:1 work and her admission results were impressive!”
*Claire Lilienthal Parent
“As a professional writer, I thought I had the Parent Essay all figured out. Until I met Erin. That’s when I was reminded that every writer needs an editor, that adverbs really serve no purpose, and that maybe that cute anecdote about the time your kid knocked out her top front teeth isn’t all that original when you’re trying to illustrate her resilience in the world. Not only did Erin help me boil down my writing to the strongest, tightest messaging possible, but she genuinely cared about our family, my daughter and what she sought from her high school experience. Where needed, Erin pushed me to dig deeper into the ‘Why’s’ when attempting to find schools that matched my daughter’s values. It’s never easy to write about your child objectively. But with Erin’s fantastic counsel, you can craft a compelling picture that shows off your child’s uniqueness authentically and powerfully.”
*Chinese American International School parent
“Erin is a great resource for high school parent essays. She helped us focus our content on what is most important and most relevant for the schools, and edited the general flow to read better.”
*Marin Country Day School Parent
“I attended Erin’s high school essay workshop and used her guidelines as I wrote the parent portions of the applications. As can happen, I found myself returning to edit the documents over and over again and not feeling like they were not quite ready to be submitted. It’s not easy to write honestly about your child without feeling like you are gloating about how wonderful they are; though, in effect, that is what we are being asked to do! I hired Erin to do a final edit of my responses and was very pleased with the edits that she returned. They rendered the essays more succinct and complimentary without being boastful. I will definitely work with Erin again.”
*Live Oak School Parent
Please note: I do not speak for any school, I do not have insider admissions information at any school and I do not make any admissions decisions whatsoever at any school. These services in no way promise or guarantee admission at any school.