Viewing 1-12 Results Of 26
Apply Filters Clear Filters
Engineering the Sentence

In eighth grade, I took an elective to prep for a yearly STEM competition. I was eager to build rubber-band-powered airplanes and roller coasters, but as we filed in on Day One, there were no materials or tools to be found. Instead, the teacher divided us into pairs. One of us had to describe an object, the other had to draw it.

READ MORE more about Engineering the Sentence
Diving Deep

I once helped a college applicant who wrote beautifully about a terrible place to swim. It was a stretch of bay marked by strong currents, stinging sea lice, and a pungent smell when the tide stole the water altogether. 

READ MORE more about Diving Deep
The Other Side of the Desk

I’ve always known how overwhelming the college application process can be, but this is the first time I’ve experienced it firsthand with my own child. I’m continually struck by the level of accompanying stress, but what I didn’t see coming? The stress I would feel as her parent.

READ MORE more about The Other Side of the Desk
three students climbing stairs toward college building
Friendly Advice from Admissions Officers About Those “Extra” Essays

Writing supplement essays can feel daunting, but these questions really are a great opportunity to share more of your story with admissions officers. In the spirit of sharing, here are some of our favorite resources.

READ MORE more about Friendly Advice from Admissions Officers About Those “Extra” Essays
Following the Details Home

I asked her to draw a map. This is something I do sometimes when a student tells me they have nothing to write about. I have them draw their hometown or a place they know well. I have them sketch landmarks and points of interest. No detail is too small. At this early stage in the writing process, our work is to deal with self-doubt by gathering possibilities.

READ MORE more about Following the Details Home
Your Story Is Already There

My grandmother immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon and, for years, worked as a seamstress in a uniform factory. By the time I was born, she lived alone in the three-bedroom duplex. Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered an entire room dedicated to frivolities: a mannequin, a collection of yardsticks, and notebooks written in a cryptic hand.

READ MORE more about Your Story Is Already There
Writing as a “Math Person”

The lights of the theater dimmed and all I could think was, "Is this really a good idea?" From a young age, I’d believed I was destined for a different kind of performance. But here I was, at age twenty-seven, backstage at Improv Boston, about to perform a sketch comedy show. Three years later, I would quit my electrical engineering job to pursue writing and teaching full time.

READ MORE more about Writing as a “Math Person”
River
The Value of What We Do

I recently wrote a message to our team in anticipation of our summer work with students who will be writing out of their life experiences for their college applications. I share my reflection here because it provides a look inside our coaching for those who are curious to know who we are, what we do, how we think, what we talk about.

READ MORE more about The Value of What We Do
On Choosing a Coach

We emphasize student ownership of the writing process, and choosing a coach is a great place to start! Our best advice is to have the student visit our coach profiles to learn about our creative projects, our experiences, our curiosities, and our quirks!

READ MORE more about On Choosing a Coach
Where Writers Grow

At our new online home, we’re delighted to share how we look at writing and what it can mean for the writer. Our decade of coaching has deepened our belief in the enduring personal growth a writer experiences in the journey between the blank page and the final draft.

READ MORE more about Where Writers Grow
Why the Particulars Matter

At Hillside, we tend to ask a lot of questions, especially of college-application writers. If you’re talking about preparing for a robotics competition, then we want to know where your team gathered, what songs you jammed to while you drew the designs, and the fact that you nicknamed the robot “Sparky.”

READ MORE more about Why the Particulars Matter
Chat TYS (To Your Self)

I’ve been tickled by the arrival of Chat GPT, the sleek, A.I. algorithm that can transform our jumbled brainstorms into pristine sentences. I’ve been asked if I was worried, but I’m not terribly concerned. In fact, Chat GPT and I have something in common: the “chat” element. 

READ MORE more about Chat TYS (To Your Self)