"I was blown away by this presentation — some of the most engaging and inspiring teaching I've experienced, ever. It not only made me wish that my kids had had Allan as a teacher; it made me want to write my own college-application essays all over again, which is saying something!"

— Parent, Brookline, MA


The challenges that students face in composing authentic and compelling application essays are many, and they begin early. In this instructional talk, Allan Reeder, the founder of Hillside Writing, demonstrates effective strategies both for addressing the anxiety that this project can provoke and for guiding students toward discovery of engaging topics about which they can write with ownership and even enjoyment!

Brimming with stories from Hillside's long study of students’ writing efforts — not only on the page but also in the often uneasy approach to it — Allan opens fresh and profitable ways of seeing and thinking. Case studies displayed on a large screen allow attendees to enter the sentences and the evolving sensibilities of past college applicants who have progressed beyond the worry about having to say something significant and into the confidence of having something specific and meaningful to say. Take-away lessons about how to advance from fact to story and, ultimately, to the reflective thinking that admissions officers wish to see are made entertainingly clear through up-close exposure to the writing process.

In addition to a motivating collection of very specific writing lessons, the 90-minute seminar provides answers to many common questions, such as:

● What, exactly, is the Common App essay?
● How do colleges describe what they hope to see in students’ essays?
● Does it matter which essay prompt I choose?
● What if I don’t have anything interesting to write about?
● Are there essay topics I should avoid?
● How can I make my essay memorable?
● How do I structure my essay?
● What are common pitfalls in the writing process?
● How do I prepare for essays I’ll have to write beyond the Common App?
● What’s the first step I should take?


About Hillside Coaching for the College-Application Essay-Writer

Hillside’s support for the college applicant is a refined mentoring that takes care of the writing by taking care of the writer. With innovative approaches, expert listening, sensitivity to the sometimes emotional obstacles of the project, and deep experience in setting the creative environment, Hillside coaches turn the challenge of composing the college-application essay into the valuable experience it should be, helping students draw from their pasts to gain and share clearer purpose for their futures.

For us, it’s not just about the essay. It’s about a process of self-discovery, and the satisfaction of knowing that every student emerges from the process a more skillful writer. Learn more here.



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