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On Choosing a Coach

How should I choose 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! Each coach also has blog posts linked from their pages that give a great sense of their voices and mentoring sensibilities.

Students may gravitate to coaches with interests that are similar to their own, and that can be wonderful. But magic can also happen when a coach knows nothing about a pursuit that a student is deeply invested in. In such cases, the coach’s curiosity helps to establish the student as the expert on the subject. As the student shares their experience, they get excellent practice in finding the effective and telling details.

We recommend having two coaches in mind in case schedules don’t align.


Don’t have time for coach research?

We’re aware that our suggestions will take time you may not have. If that’s your situation, choose the coach whose availability best aligns with your child’s schedule. They’ll be in great hands! We are all practicing writers, expert listeners, energetic conversationalists, and teachers in practice and at heart, and we are all extensively trained in Hillside’s instructive writing process.


What if the coach I prefer doesn’t have times that match up with my child’s schedule?

If you and the coach you prefer seem to be taking vacations at opposite times, or your child needs Saturday sessions and the coach offers weekend sessions only on Sundays, you may need to consider scheduling with a different coach.

If it’s close, but not quite — for example, your child can’t meet until 7:30 on weeknights and the coach offers appointments at 6 or 7 on a night that otherwise works — schedule the sessions that are almost right and send us an email ( to see if the coach has flexibility. We’ll check in to see if changes are possible, and if they’re not, we’ll propose another way forward.


Is there a way to look at all coach calendars at once to see whose schedule is the best match?

Once our calendars are live, click the “Sign Up” button on any service page (The Uncommon Essay Course, for example) to view multiple coach calendars for that service at once. Open the accordion menu under each coach’s name to compare. We don’t have a way to offer a single, fully aggregated view at this time.


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