In Just 12 Years, Admission Rates Have Plummeted by HALF to an IMPOSSIBLE 4.69%
Every year, someone sues a college for discrimination or unfair practices. Every year, advocacy groups play the race card.
That’s because acceptance rates are NOSEDIVING like birds shot out of the sky. Stanford 4.69%. Harvard 5.9%. Princeton 7.9%. Yale 6.8%. Berkeley 14.8%. UCLA 17.3%. USC 16.5%.
Those are about HALF the acceptance numbers of a mere 12 years ago!
Acceptance % Today (2016)
Acceptance % in 2004
University of Southern California (USC)
These aren’t the colleges of your day anymore! Back then, if you had the money, you could go (it was exponentially cheaper too). Back then, just writing “I’ve always wanted to be a Harvard man” was enough to get into the nation’s #1 school.
Oh, how times have changed! Today, we hear tense stories like:
Abigail Fisher, the student who dragged the University of Texas all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court over "reverse racism"
The Asian-American Coalition for Education fighting the Ivy League tooth-and-nail over unconstintutional prejudice against Asians
The viral open letter from Latino Stanford student Guillermo Camarillo, who was shamed for being “lucky” by his dentist (whose daughter wasn’t able to get in, despite her near perfect ACT score)
Emotions are rampant. Public outcry is defeaning. And tensions are at an all-time high.
This vicious cycle is happening all across the board (not just elite colleges) and only getting worse.
It’s lose-lose. As more colleges join the Common Application (which makes it simple to apply to 20 schools at once) and the University of California makes it easy to apply to ALL their campuses with a few mouse clicks, students are applying to more colleges than ever before.
Last year was the 12th consecutive year that the University of California system received a RECORD-HIGH number of applicants: 206,339 freshmen and transfer students, 6.4% higher than in 2015.
In 2016, UC Berkeley alone rejected 70,322 college hopefuls (86.2% reject rate). That’s a lot of broken hearts and dashed dreams.
As the acceptance percentages plummet, students panic and are compelled to apply to even MORE schools, thus perpetuating the cycle. Even the old “safety schools” aren’t looking so safe anymore, are they?
With all these hundreds of thousands of shot-in-the-dark applicants, is there any way for your child to rise above the competition?
The Heartbreaking & Surprising Rejections
You’ve heard the horror stories—students with perfect GPAs, flawless SAT/ACT scores, and jaw-dropping activities still get rejected.
Listen to this recent nightmare:
- Valedictorian (#1 out of 500+ person class) of his Arkansas high school
- Perfect 2400 SAT as a freshman
- 35 out of 36 ACT as a sophomore
- Flawless 800s on four SAT Subject Tests & 790 in Spanish
- Perfect 4.0 unweighted cumulative GPA with a heavy AP course load (all 5s on the AP tests)
- Certainly a leader as well—president of his school, plentiful research internships, engaged in his community
Yet he was rejected by every single one of his top schools—Stanford, MIT, all the Ivy League schools, except for a slim-chance waitlist option at Yale. The only school that took him was the University of Arkansas, the ultimate safety school for someone of his caliber.
In your gut, you know there’s more to the tale. I wish NO CHILD would EVER has to suffer such a kick in the stomach; it’s sickening!
But I hear these heartbreaking stories every year. Kids lock themselves in their rooms, refusing to eat dinner with their family anymore, literally crying for days as they plead with admission officers with emotional appeal letters.
These students beat themselves up as they wonder, “What did I do wrong??!”
The sad reality is, they didn't do anything wrong. In fact, they did everything they've been told...but they STILL were denied by all their dream schools.
The problem is, they’ve blindly followed the same generic advice. “Study hard, be a leader, be well-rounded.” All well-intentioned, but ultimately failed strategies.
Meanwhile, countless other students were able to get into the Ivy League, Stanford, and MIT...with far less impressive grades/scores and activities. What’s their secret?
What Admission Gatekeepers Want That You Don't Know
There’s a mountain of confusing, contradictory advice out there. Much of it TOTALLY misses the mark of what colleges are REALLY looking for in their “must admit” candidates.
Surprising Truth #1:
Colleges are NOT looking for well-rounded students.
Colleges want well-rounded classes...made up of specialists. The best scientists and engineers, the most creative artists, the greatest future politicians, the top musicians. Think about it.
If you're the BEST at something, then you have a much higher chance of making the college famous in that field. But if you're "just okay" or even "pretty good" at everything, then you aren't likely to make the college famous in anything.
College essays must strategically show off your child’s specialty—whether it’s a specific skill or a particular trait. And they need to do so without bragging, while being engaging and emotional. Tall order!
Surprising Truth #2:
What most people THINK colleges want to hear is very different than what ACTUALLY appeals to them.
There’s so much generic, unhelpful advice out there. Things like “Be yourself—write about what’s most important to you.” I mean, hello, Captain Obvious!
Here's my favorite piece of useless advice: “Don’t write what you think colleges want to hear.”
Sorry, but the whole point of college essays is to impress the admissions officers, so you MUST write what they want to hear.
Colleges want to know:
1. How well can you write? Are you persuasive, clear, and engaging?
2. Who are you—your identity, traits, values, passions, and struggles?
- 3. What will you contribute to campus and the community?
The invisible question behind ALL essay questions is “Why should we accept you?” And, contrary to popular belief, you should answer that WITHOUT writing about your greatest achievement! (I’ll talk more about this in a bit.)
There’s no set formula like, if you mention X, Y, or Z, then they will love your essay. But there are certain essay structures and stories that are extremely effective at moving the needle towards “admit!”
Surprising Truth #3:
English teachers and college counselors do NOT make effective essay consultants.
The writing students do in English class is the polar OPPOSITE of what’s required for college personal statements. Classroom essays are analytical tomes, more boring to read than watching paint dry. Those are the assignments English instructors teach, day in and day out. Because the vast majority of English teachers are not story writers, they are woefully unqualified to assist students with the storytelling style required for admission essays.
The expertise of most college counselors lies elsewhere too. The truth is, I deeply respect counselors—their insight is invaluable, but for a DIFFERENT part of the application process. They provide strategic application advice and match you with good-fit schools. They can even tell you if your essay isn’t working with your application realities and strategies, but...
Recognizing an essay’s issues is NOT the same as fixing them!
Can Simon Cowell show you how to be the next great American Idol singer? I think not! He’s there to tell you whether you sound like nails on chalkboard. The same goes with admission essays.
Counselors may be experts in understanding the college landscape, but NOT necessarily in editing and writing.
You need an EDITOR, not just an EVALUATOR. (I recommend both.)
Your child doesn’t have to write like the next Pulitzer Prize winner or a best-selling author, but they do need to pinpoint their greatest strengths and stories.
Don't Let Essays Be a "Failure of the Last Mile"
You've Already Done So Much for Your Child
You’ve provided everything you could to raise a smart, happy, caring, and ambitious student.
You’ve taken your son or daughter to piano or violin lessons since they were 5. They’ve earned multiple recognitions and won national competitions. But you wonder, is it enough for college?
You’ve paid for all their expensive activities, like Marching Band, percussion, Speech and Debate, studio art classes, and theater costumes. But is it enough?
You’ve sent them through the best SAT or ACT classes and paid for all their tutors. You’ve enrolled them in multiple summer classes. But is it all enough?
You’ve gone to hell and back and walked through FIRE. Don't let all your sacrifices be in vain! Essays are the final push!
So your child NEEDS to write authentic, vulnerable college essays to impress those admission gatekeepers.
Appeal to their hearts, and admission chances skyrocket.
Bottom line: Essays move the needle one way or the other—from reject to accept. These essays drive what admissions officers FEEL and decide. Come decision time, you want your child’s name on the tip of the admission people’s tongues.
The question is HOW?
- How to choose a topic that is unique and worthy?
- How to impress without bragging?
- How to pull the heartstrings, without being cheesy or guilt-tripping the admission officers?
- How to write a compelling story that captures my best qualities?
- How to organize my essay to build my strongest case for admissions?
Don't Start Writing Yet! The Most Dangerous Essay Myth
First, let’s talk about how NOT to write.
Have you heard that college essays need to showcase your child’s biggest accomplishment? It’s a lie! Well-intentioned (but clueless) teachers and even counselors have espoused this “advice” for years.
But absolutely nothing could be more harmful than writing about the “big achievement.”
1. It’s not as impressive as you think. Amidst the RECORD-SHATTERING number of applicants each year, there’s bound to be someone who has done something more significant or unique. I’ve known students who’ve invented new hearing aids, who’ve published legitimate novels, and who’ve discovered a breakthrough approach to fighting cancer (yes, really) that STILL GET REJECTED.
2. It’s arrogant. No one likes a braggart. Worse is if the achievement isn’t even truly impressive, like being the star athlete or being elected Student Body President. See the dangers of #1 above. The trick is to impress without bragging.
3. It’s boring, cliche, and unexciting. Talking about an accomplishment just leads to recounting what happened, which is snooze-inducing stuff. A compelling story doesn’t aim to recount, but rather to inspire through an emotional and redemptive journey.
The solution? Write about EVERYDAY EVENTS!
Here are some example topics that worked:
Lessons learned from watching Dad make pancakes every morning
The thoughts running through her head while taking a shower
Blowing on dandelion puffs and making wishes
Meeting various people during a jog through Russia
Getting lost without a GPS
Struggling to tie the string of a cake box at the bakery
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:
Listening to Dad make music
No way...what in the world, right?! Is this real life? If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, then NONE of those topics sound particularly amazing!
But that’s precisely the point! Normal events are often the best things to write about: playing with Legos, eating a jalapeno, secretly liking Taylor Swift, whatever! Just fill these small moments with big insights.
That’s the counterintuitive secret to making an impression without bragging.
But almost everyone struggles to come up with deep insight. So they resort to cliches: how volunteering taught them to be humble and give back. How basketball taught them leadership, teamwork, and dedication. Or how grandma was an inspirational hero before she passed away.
Zzzzzz! I’d rather eat a squirming cockroach than read about those predictable ideas.
Students need a specific, proven system to dive deep, tease out their best experiences, and craft a powerful story.
That’s where I come in...
5 Reasons to Trust Me
Here comes the shameless plug
1. Extraordinary Results & Experience
14+ years of essay consulting experience, helping 100s of students. They’ve gained admission into every Ivy League school, Stanford, Caltech, MIT, all the UC schools, USC, NYU, and more.
2. A Proven Writing System, Not Fluffy Advice
No airy-fairy advice from me. I’m banishing “be authentic” or “write from the heart” to the underworld. Those are nice sentiments, but they aren’t tangible steps. Your student needs a concrete framework and step-by-step system that demystifies the essay process.
3. Ivy League Writer Who Has Done It Himself
Can you afford NOT to work with someone who has succeeded in admissions himself? I graduated from Brown University (Ivy League) and also gained admission into every University of California school, USC with merit scholarship, and so many more.
4. College Essays Are My Full-Time Speciality
Getting students into college is my full-time job, unlike those part-time dabblers at other firms. With me, you can bet you’ll get deep insight to produce extraordinary essays.
5. Writing is My Life
Not only was I voted by my competitive high school of 3,000 students as “Most Likely to be the Next New York Times Bestseller” and published in a Stanford anthology, but I’ve also studied creative writing at Brown.
I turn ideas into words, emotions into words, and words into even better words. And I’ll show your student how to do the same.
"Will my student get into his/her dream college?"
Does it feel like your entire life lately has been leading up to that one big question?
Imagine for a moment that all your blood, sweat, and tears actually paid off. You proudly declare to your friends and family that your student is going to Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, or another perfect college. Your child’s ear-to-ear smile is contagious as he or she opens the email that reads…
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the college of your dreams! You’ve been admitted!”
Your student has to re-read those lines a couple times to believe it. Suddenly, they burst into excitement, screaming, “Oh my God!!! I got in!!” They run to hug you, maybe for the first time in a long while, and tell you how thankful they are for your love and support all these years.
You couldn’t be prouder. It’s the happiest season of your life as college acceptance letters roll in, one after the other like clockwork. Thick acceptance envelopes overcrowd the junk mail and tumble out of the mailbox.
Before you can even put down your keys when you return home, your student sprints over to surprise you with the good news.
In college, your child has surrounded themselves with intelligent friends and teachers who push them to achieve their full potential.
There’s a bright future ahead—because you’ve enabled your child with all the opportunities, resources, and network that only a top college can provide.
Imagine if your student had a reaction like this:
Yes, that was one of my students last year…among the hundreds of successful students I have helped over the past decade or more.
You are incredibly proud of your student, not only because they got into their dream school, but because of who they are and who they will become.
The options are boundless, but that all starts with captivating essays.
Because NOT every impressive student gets accepted.
Final Draft Formula is the most effective system to plan, produce, and and polish impressive, UNFORGETTABLE college essays that scream “ADMIT!”
...even if you're a "bad writer" with nothing good to say
...even if you have the worst case of writer's block in history
...even if you think nothing impressive or interesting has ever happened
I’ve cracked the code to powerful personal writing.
In the program, I reveal every essay secret and insider strategy I’ve uncovered over a decade of working with students 1-on-1.
The Final Draft Formula is a 1-on-1 essay mentorship program that takes you from conception to completion.
It covers this simple 3-operation formula:
Let me walk you through exactly what's included:
PRE-OPERATION: Mission Briefing
The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write unforgettable college essays. This isn’t mission impossible! I’ll brief your student on:
- How essays fit into grand admissions scheme—how much do essays matter and do admission officers really read them?
- The 3 criteria all essays are judged on—understand these guidelines to ensure your essays rise to the top of the pile and achieve what admission officers want
- The 1 invisible question all prompts are asking, even when they’re not—you need to write with the right angle in mind in order to ACTUALLY impress admission officers
- The proper tone, style, and structure these essays need to use—boost your likeability by learning to walk the tightrope between impressing and bragging
- The 4 different essay types you’ll encounter and where to find the prompts—you’ll be writing more than you think, so I’ll show you how to organize your plan of attack
- How to create the most efficient writing timeline—approaching the essays in the wrong sequence means you’ll end up writing FAR more than necessary and ending up with lower quality essays because you’ve expended your best ideas on the wrong prompts
Plan and prepare for your writing mission.
President Abraham Lincoln once famously said, “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend 4 hours sharpening the axe.” The vast majority of the work is done BEFORE a single word is ever written. Operation Brainstorm prepares these essay assets quickly and effectively, so the actual writing becomes a breeze.
- Organize all the prompts and requirements—find clarity about what you need to do with the stress-busting “Prompts Organizer,” which tracks all essay questions, word limits, and deadlines. Discover how to classify essays by the proper type, so you don’t end up writing more essays than you have to.
(Hint: sometimes, the normal stated deadline isn’t the real one you need to meet if you’re trying to get an interview or audition)
- Discover unique, interesting topics that make you the talk of admissions circles—my proven brainstorming exercises are designed to pull out your deepest stories (including those you’ve forgotten or thought were unimportant), so you stand out from the crowd.
Plus, I reveal how to know you’ve chosen your BEST topic that expresses your truest essence and greatest strengths.
- Uncover deep personal insights—the “Deep Dive Plan” shows you how to move beyond the superficial, obvious thoughts. Discover the deep, authentic meaning behind your experiences, so your essay doesn’t become just another tired cliche. Uncommon topics + uncommon insights = gold winner!
- The 10 essay frameworks to get your creative juices flowing and connect your ideas—too many jumbled thoughts lead to confusion and overwhelm. These 10 frameworks organize your story around a tight theme, so your message stays focused and powerful.
Outline and write your essay.
Operation Brainstorm helped your student gather all their essay assets, their story scenes and ideas. Now it’s time to put the pieces together and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
- Bring Your Story to Life—My powerful outlining strategies show you how to plan your essay path, connect the dots, and transition skillfully.
My Essay Outline Swipe Files are plug-and-play templates: just plug your Brainstorm assets into the proper sections, and you’re ready to write a cohesive, beautiful essay in record time.
- Un-Bore Your Admissions Readers—Captivating writing is all about vivid, emotional storytelling. Teachers love to spout the “show, don’t tell” advice, but they never explain HOW.
Now, you’ll finally discover the exact process to “paint a picture with your words” using my Film Director Technique. Suck your admission readers in with rich sensory images, so they can feel your emotions, understand your challenges, and connect with you deeply. Do that and you’ll have a raving admissions officer fighting in your corner.
- Create a Gripping Intro and Captivating Conclusion—Learn the secret to writing an attention-grabbing intro (without resorting to cheesy gimmicks) that draws admissions readers in from the very first line.
Plus, I’ll reveal the strategies and must-have elements to produce a deeply satisfying conclusion that leaves admission readers inspired and ready to advocate for your acceptance.
- How to Reflect Deeply, Not Just Recount Robotically—Avoid the big danger of simply telling us what happened in lockstep, chronological order. Nothing could be more predictable or dry. Instead, I’ll reveal the proper way to make your personal insights exciting, eloquent, and original.
OPERATION: Final Draft
A final polish to refine your perfect essay.
- Tweak your words, become more eloquent, and drive your message home—A word is not just a word. Each one carries a specific impact and invokes a certain feeling. This isn’t about vomiting your thesaurus all over the page.
It’s about selecting the precise words to perfectly express the nuance you want and pack an emotional punch. The right words are literally the difference between connecting with your readers and boring them to tears. Get the powerful techniques to elevate your writing and transform your bland descriptions into sizzling sentences.
- Cut the fat, glaze the meat—Less is more. Every essay has a word limit, and trust me, cutting is harder than writing. I show you how to make every word count by writing with intention and removing the fluff. Discover the tactics to cut down your essay, without sounding choppy, losing your emotional vibrancy, or diluting your message.
- The art of story pacing to excite your admissions audience—Skillful idea sequencing and sentence length variety are paramount to creating an exciting emotional arc. Learn to build excitement with proper pacing and buildup, so your admissions readers will be perched on the edge of their seats. Combine succinct sentences with the expressive flow of longer ones for essay magic.
- How to get proper feedback, and when enough is enough—Feedback is critical. But you need the right feedback from the right people. Discover how to know what advice to take (and from whom).
And, just as importantly, when it’s time to stop listening. No essay can satisfy everyone, so it’s imperative to understand when enough feedback is enough. Discover the right questions to ask to solicit the most productive thoughts.
You also get access to my vaunted ARMORY of tools to complement each Operation.
The Operations reveal detailed action-steps to go from "no idea" to "final draft."
But sometimes theory is not enough.
That's why I'm also granting you level 10 clearance: full authorized access to THE ARMORY, a collection of advanced tools and techniques to implement the writing plan:
THE ARMORY: Brainstorm
- Essay Process Mindmap—the big picture view that maps out every step of the writing process. This flowchart organizer connects every phase, element, exercise, and worksheet, so that you know exactly where to go next. Banish overwhelm and confusion with this foolproof, step-by-step mindmap.
- Prompts Organizer—a beautifully designed planner to track all your essay prompts, word counts, deadlines. Also helps to classify the prompts by category in order to cut down on the amount of writing
- The Film Director Technique—everyone knows they need to “show, not tell”. This powerful trick will make your scenes pop with vivid detail and descriptive phrases
- The Emotion Matrix—identify your vulnerabilities or emotional thoughts and connect them to your greatest values/qualities
- The Challenge Spotting Device—every story needs a conflict to build emotional stakes; this device uncovers your story’s greatest challenge
- The Cliches to Avoid at All Costs—a classified document that contains the common tropes you need to avoid
- Deep Dive Plan—the step-by-step process to uncover the deep impact, insights, and meaning of your story
THE ARMORY: Compose
- Essay Outline Swipe Files—Struggling to outline your essay? These plug-and-play templates for various essay structures eliminate the frustration and confusion. Know exactly where each phase of your story should be placed.
- Laserbeam Technique—A simple trick to focus your story, improve clarity, and make a lasting impression
- VxV Framework—One simple framework to ensure your essay is actually good. Make sure to demonstrate versatility by showcasing a variety of values/qualities.
- Transition Activator Phrases File—Tired of the typical weak and boring transitions like “furthermore,” “on the other hand,” or “finally”? When every student uses the same unoriginal phrases, everyone loses. This classified swipe file contains skillful word-for-word transitions to smoothly connect one idea to the next. Deploy these high-impact phrases to creatively and dramatically introduce your ideas.
- Reflection Activator Phrases File—When it’s time to reflect on the meaning of your experience, don’t settle for saying “I realized...” or “I learned...” Get eloquent word-for-word phrases that do justice to the lessons you’ve gained, the traits you’ve developed, and the impact you’ve made. These activator phrases will knock admission readers right out of their daze, so that your message can truly shine.
- Universal Truths Dossier—You need to end with a meaningful conclusion. This classified list of themes and messages is the answer.
- Soul-Searching Compass—A powerful navigation tool to find your deepest personal insights that reflect your most impressive and authentic self.
- Metaphor Matrix—use the power of symbolic analogies to make unforgettable connections and create beautiful language.
- Intrigue Factors—7 easy formulas to write compelling openers and concluding structures by tapping into the natural emotional triggers like intrigue, suspense, action, surprise, and shock.
THE ARMORY: Final Draft
- The Ultimate E3 (Essential Essay Elements) Checklist—A final runthrough to ensure your essay has all the trappings of an unforgettable story that opens the college gates. If you’re missing these elements, make sure to work them in!
- Brave Feedback Questions to Ask—Congrats! You’ve finished your draft. Now you need feedback, but you want more than those wimpy grammar/spell checks. “Give me some meaty thoughts on my CONTENT,” you think to yourself. Use this brave list of questions to guide your editors to focus on the important things: clarity, depth, tone, logical flow, emotional engagement, pacing, and more. Stand brave, intrepid one! The answers you get will be illuminating, but be prepared for brutal honesty.
- Literary Secrets Package—Master writers have used these literary structures, devices, and techniques for ages. This is how they transform ordinary ideas into articulate lines dripping with eloquence. Yes, there’s an art to it, but I’ve analyzed the structure behind it, so you can be like the writing grandmasters. Pump up your writing sophistication by infusing your essay with these literary secrets--everything from the power of contrasts, to extended metaphors, to intentional repetition and parallelism, to double entendres, to alliteration, and so much more.
- Disruption Codewords Training—Admission officers are hardwired to take notice when students use uncommon, highly creative wording in their writing. The name of the game is DISRUPTION, and it’s so important to get right if you want to set yourself apart. In this bonus training, I reveal the proper way to disrupt and get original with your language, so the admission committee takes notice!
I'm also including killer bonuses to push you past "writer's block"
- BONUS #1: Prompts Playbook
Hyper-detailed commentary on how to approach, brainstorm, and write all the major prompts you’ll encounter. Comes with multiple example ideas, detailed strategies, and a sample outline for EACH INDIVIDUAL prompt. Covers the Common App, UC app, UT app, Coalition App, Cappex App, Universal College App, and MyMIT app.
- BONUS #2: Case Studies (Analyses of 20 Successful Essays)
The ultimate cure to writer’s block is inspiration. Find real-world inspiration from real essays that worked, plus my specific commentary on the best parts you should emulate and what could have been further improved and how.
- BONUS #3: How to Recycle Your Essays Guide
A quick and easy way to adapt your polished essays for a new prompt, even if it seems completely unrelated to your topic. These tips will shave HOURS off your writing time, plus improve your essay quality, since you won’t have to resort to second-rate ideas for your additional essays.
- BONUS #4: How to Answer the Most Common Supplement
“Why do you want to attend our specific college?” is the hardest and most frequently asked supplement question. Believe it or not, they aren’t asking for the reasons you want to go there, despite the phrasing. Your real answer needs to focus NOT on what they can do for you, but on what YOU can do for them (while still connecting that to specific opportunities at the college). This guide shows you exactly how to walk that fine line without sounding like you’re kissing up or simply listing points.
You've Worked Too Hard to Stop Now
Essays are the winning touch
Imagine poking your head into your child’s room. Instead of Instagramming, playing Xbox, or watching Netflix, your child is sitting upright, typing diligently on the computer. Words spill out at blistering speed onto Google Docs, as if their fingers fly across the keyboard. Their brain is on fire.
You didn’t even have to plead with them to get cracking on their college essays. The excitement of actually having PRECISE, POWERFUL ideas they wanted to write about for once was just too much to contain. You can see the lightbulbs flashing.
There’s no sense of confusion, only an immense sense of purpose and focus. Brainstorming is a breeze. Outlining the essays is painless. And the actual writing comes effortlessly.
A few days later, your student runs to you with a warm sheet of paper fresh off the printer. The ink has barely dried. They thrust their essay in front of you, even though they may have never been the type to share their work.
You hang on every word. Wow, my child wrote this, you think to yourself, surprised but impressed. The story sucks you in, the language is expressive, and the emotions are genuine. You even learn something about your child that you never knew before. You are so proud of how much they’ve grown.
“Well, what do you think?” they ask in anticipation. You look over for a moment, in awe of how articulate and accomplished your child’s essay is. You love it, absolutely love it, you tell them as you give them a hug.
And because the Final Draft Formula is a repeatable system, your child continues to churn out unique, memorable college essays.
These are the stories that are going to grab those admission officers’ attention. It’s emotional; it’s eloquent; it’s impressive.
Imagine if your child were the most talked about candidate in the admissions boardroom, the one who’s so memorable that schools are fighting to admit your son or daughter.
That’s what the Final Draft Formula is all about.
- Prompts Playbook: Strategies, ideas, and outlines for every major INDIVIDUAL prompt
- Case Studies: Analyses of 20 Successful Student Essays for writer's block-busting inspiration
- How to Recycle Your Essays Guide to shave hours off your writing time
- “Why Our School?” Supplement Guide to answer the hardest, most frequently asked supplement question
Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort has been made to accurately represent this product and its potential; however, any results, including but not limited to acceptance into any specific college or program, are dependent on the quality of the student and subjective decisions of each admissions committee at each individual college, university, or program. Use of the Final Draft Formula does not guarantee done-for-you essays or any specific results. The success you have with the program is entirely dependent on the work you or your student puts in. Any examples, strategies, or results discussed in the program material is not an express guarantee that you will achieve similar or identical results. By purchasing the Final Draft Formula, you agree not to hold Young Prodigy Inc. (the creator of Final Draft Formula) responsible in any manner, degree, or way for any purposes. The testimonials portrayed on this page are true, but they should not be construed as a guarantee of any specific results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a great essay really get my student into their dream college?
Yes, it really can. Different colleges weight the essay differently in their decisions, but it usually accounts for anywhere from 10-30%. That’s A LOT riding on a few hundred words! For many colleges, such as those participating in the Common App, admission readers will see your student's essay early on, which sets the tone for the rest of the application.
If your student's essay can inspire or move the admission readers, then they will be positively biased towards your child as they evaluate grades, test scores, and so on. If the essay falls flat, or worse, repulses the reader, then your child is swimming against the tide. Do you really want to be working against a negative image a weak essay has created?
Of course, a great essay by itself won’t get your student in. If they have a horrible GPA, low SAT/ACT scores, and no great activities, sorry, an essay is not a magic bullet. You need the whole package. But an essay can either serve as a tiebreaker between two close candidates or help compensate for weaker parts of your student's application.
You want to make every part of the application as powerful as possible, and the essay is one element completely within your student's control. Essays are worth approximately 1-2 full years of their GPA. There’s virtually no better use of time at this point.
What if my child has bad grades, test scores, or mediocre activities?
Sorry, they aren’t likely to get into Harvard or another top school without strong grades, even if they write the most amazing essay that would make Hemington green with envy. A great essay alone cannot make up for weak grades, poor scores, and lackluster activities, but it helps.
Grades and activities are more or less set in stone now. 40 more hours of basketball practice isn’t going to further boost your child's app—they’ve already received the “basketball” credit from the 100s of hours they’ve put in already. And their cumulative GPA probably isn’t going to change too dramatically.
(Note: Retake the SAT/ACT if their score is not in line with your desired colleges...that’s probably the ONLY thing they can improve quickly that is more important than the essays right now).
Think of it this way: you already confessed your student's stats aren’t great, so do you really want to add weak essays on top of those flaws? Smells like automatic rejection. Instead, why not improve the one element they still can directly control—their essays—for relatively little time? Great essays might just move their application forward to the next round.
Essays can take dozens of hours, but compared to how long your child has in school, studied for the SAT/ACT, or participated in activities, the time spent on essays is a drop in the bucket. Yet, they are worth 10-30% of your application weight! That’s a great return on time investment. Improve the essays, raise the admission chances.
My child needs in-person accountability and feedback. How does your program provide that?
The Final Draft Formula provides the highest level of accountability through 1-on-1 mentorship. I make sure all essays are completed on time, tracking all deadlines, and assigning appropriate assignments between sessions.
I need someone to suggest word-for-word fixes, not just broad strategies on how to approach the essays. Can the Final Draft Formula do that?
Yes, I totally get that coming up with ideas is one thing, but actually writing them in an eloquent manner is a whole other story. The ONE thing I vowed NOT to do when creating the Final Draft Formula was to create just a collection of essay tips. That’s what everyone else is doing, and it isn’t serving anyone well. A hodgepodge of strategies results in tactical hell, overwhelming students on when and how to apply each technique.
Instead, the Final Draft Formula is an ORGANIZED SYSTEM that methodologically brings each student through each step of the writing process. I connect all the dots in the right order. That includes how to phrase specific ideas and refine specific words.
That’s why I’ve included Essay Templates, so your student knows exactly how to organize each part of the essay.
That’s why I’ve included multiple Activator Phrases files, so your student gets the word-for-word scripts to transition and introduce ideas skillfully. These are stronger ways to say “I learned” or “I realized” or “furthermore.”
That’s why I’ve included the Disruption Codewords Training, a special lesson on creating effective phrases that stand out. By using uncommon language, your student can disrupt their admission reader’s expectation and force him to pay attention. These disruption codeword techniques knock tired readers right out of their complacency.
Ultimately though, the KEY to coming up with powerful lines and words is starting with the right ideas. Most essays fail because the insight is too superficial, the descriptions are too shallow, the imagery is non-existent, and the emotion is lacking. I show exactly how to fix all those problems, so the words flow naturally.
The Final Draft Formula is an end-to-end system that teaches students how to create impressive essays, piece-by-piece...INCLUDING specific word choice and tweaks.
I want my child to write in their own authentic voice. How will the Final Draft Formula keep my student’s style intact?
The Final Draft Formula does not write an essay for your student. So whatever writing your student produces will automatically be in their own voice and style. The essay templates are structures to help organize the essay’s flow, but they did not make your student’s words inauthentic.
The strategies and techniques highlight the proper scenes, insights, imagery, and details to include, which guide your student to come up with the right words to express themselves in their own way. The Final Draft Formula is a system to create impressive essays that get at the heart of who your student is.
I DON’T want my child to write in their own voice because it's not eloquent enough. But I’m worried colleges will think someone else wrote the essay if it comes out “too good.”
Usually not wanting your child to write in their own voice stems from the fear that their writing won’t be good enough. But then you also fear an excellent essay will be “too good” because colleges won’t believe the essay was written by the student. The solution IS NOT to strike some middle ground with a decent, but not spectacular essay. That doesn’t do anyone any good.
Instead, the Final Draft Formula offers the best of both worlds: an elevated writing quality, but an authentic representation of your child’s own merits and voice.
The primary objective of the Final Draft Formula is to improve your student’s eloquence and increase the depth of their essays. All the strategies reveal exactly how to create that mature, articulate, and expressive voice colleges are looking for.
“Too good” isn’t really the issue. The problem is incongruency. If an admissions reader senses that an essay isn’t believably written by the student, then it’s not “too good.” It’s actually “too bad.”
But the Final Draft Formula avoids that because the student is writing every word themselves. The personality and style will still be all your child’s own, but the essay will display a greater command of writing craft. Improvements to writing quality will come in the form of more precise ideas, more vivid descriptions, clearer organization, and deeper insights. That’s what the Final Draft Formula teaches, without sacrificing the integrity of work authentically created by the student themselves.
My child thinks that he has nothing impressive to say and feels that he’s a bad writer. How can this program help?
Well, you’re in luck! Because the Final Draft Formula was created specifically for these kinds of students. My conception to completion process takes students through literally every step of the essay writing process. It doesn’t matter if your student doesn’t have any ideas or thinks they can’t form a coherent sentence to save their life...yet. The strategies, exercises, and supporting resources all work together to systematically guide your student to brainstorm insightfully, discover deep personal reflections, write beautifully, and polish exceptionally.
For students who feel they haven’t experienced anything interesting or done anything impressive, not to fear! I teach a specific strategy that focuses on using EVERYDAY EXPERIENCES to create relatable, memorable essays. And if your child has overcome significant challenges or achieved impressive accomplishments, I go over how to use those experiences too (and how NOT to use them).
Look under the “WHAT’S INCLUDED?” section to see a detailed list of what each Operation and Armory offers: tons of specific content to supercharge your student’s writing ability. No other program offers such detailed techniques and tools, all broken down into consumable chunks so your student doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Not every student will need every resource in the program, so I’ve included the Essay Process Mindmap bonus to map out exactly which elements to use at which specific stage. No confusion, no overwhelm, just a clear step-by-step system to follow.
And if you feel like a feature is missing, shoot me an email at [email protected] and I’ll see if I can create it just for you (at no extra cost)!
Does the Final Draft Formula only work for the main personal statement? What about supplements, scholarship essays, and other essays?
Yes, the program covers them all...even scholarship essays. Each package is tailored to the individual student through 1-on-1 sessions, so you get exactly what you need and want to work through the entire writing process.
Who is this program for, and not for?
Final Draft Formula IS for your student if:
- They’re motivated and ready to learn and work
- They’re patient and understand implementation is key
- They understand writing is a time-consuming, occasionally frustrating process (but the Final Draft Formula cuts down on both)
- They are a strong writer, but want that extra insight to really get these essays done right
- They are a weak writer, so they need step-by-step handholding, encouragement, and guidance
- They have absolutely NOTHING done yet, or they already have completed essay drafts that just need some polishing
- They've gone through other essays programs that didn't produce wonderful essays (the Final Draft Formula will fix that, stat)
Final Draft Formula is NOT for your student if:
- They want done-for-them essays produced by a professional writer (that’s unethical, plus admissions will instantly know what you’ve done)
- They think consuming the material is enough (they need to take action and have patience)
- They expect essays to be quick and easy from this program (the Final Draft Formula is highly efficient and effective, but it still takes significant WORK)
- They believe are a strong enough writer who doesn’t need extra feedback (sorry, I can’t help people who don’t want help)
- They are a weak writer who isn’t willing to think or try
- They aren’t applying to ANY colleges that require essays (for example, CalState schools have no essays)
I have more questions. How can I contact you?
Young Prodigy Inc.
Admission Essay Consultant & SAT/ACT Advisor
Peter Peng: [email protected]
Main site: www.youngprodigy.com
How is Final Draft Formula different than other essay programs, bootcamps, or seminars?
Final Draft Formula
1. A hodgepodge collection of miscellaneous essay tips that are either overwhelming and disorganized or too incomplete and generic.
They offer DISCONNECTED TACTICS, not a cohesive STRATEGY. You’ll get advice like “find a time that demonstrates your greatest trait”—okay, but HOW?
1. An organized SYSTEM with logical phases that build upon the last. Each step comes with relevant support resources, all designed to work in synchrony to produce a winning essay.
Discover not just WHAT to do, but HOW to do it with specific techniques and exercises.
2. Vague suggestions on essay content, like “expand this idea more” or “clarify your message here.” Incredibly limited line-by-line or word-by-word feedback. Offers little more than grammar/spell checks.
2. No other system provides the level of detailed advice and step-by-step processes to successfully complete each essay task.
Comes with in-depth lessons on HOW to choose precise words and phrases that evoke deep emotions.
3. A superficial brainstorming questionnaire that only runs through the obvious ideas, like family, school, hobbies, and extracurricular activities.
3. Includes multiple innovative brainstorming exercises that probe the deepest recesses of your child’s experiences. An truly effective approach to uncover unique angles of your student’s life.
4. Large-class bootcamp/seminar format is not conducive to providing in-depth or personalized strategies. Guidance stops as soon as the program is over.
4. 1-on-1 in-depth training allows students to deeply absorb and implement the strategies at their own pace. I'm also available by email if you just want to bounce a few ideas around. Everything is personalized to your specific life experiences and situation.
5. Run by unqualified English teachers, college counselors with no writing experience, or questionable part-time instructors (often from low-tier colleges) whose real skill and dream is most definitely NOT helping students get into college.
5. Get mentored by an Ivy League alum trained in creative writing. I'm a 10-year veteran of college admissions essay consulting. My full-time career and purpose is to guide students to write essays that fling open the gates into their dream college.
You’ll find more than just general writing strategies, but specific ADMISSIONS ESSAYS insights gained from a decade of experience.
"You and your student have put in YEARS of hard work. Don't risk losing all of that by submitting 'flat' essays. Let me help you get this crucial last step right!"
Maybe I’m Just a Raving Lunatic
But Don’t Take My Word For It...
After 10 years of working closely with hundreds of students and families, here are what some of them have to say:
Alexis L., Viewpoint School
Accepted: UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Michigan, Boston University, Emory University, full scholarship to George Washington Univ., and more
"Before Peter, I was honestly lost about what to write about and how to even start my college application essays and supplements. I felt as though the college counseling team at my school wasn’t any help for me, and I wasn’t given any direction for the essays. I felt ashamed that I was behind my peers in the application process, especially because I felt as though I had no idea how to start or what to do. I became very stressed and felt overwhelmed by all of the work I would have to do on my own, especially because I had no idea how to write a college essay. I’m the oldest child in my family, so this process was new to my parents and to me.
The best things about working with Peter were his eloquence in his writing and the fact that he was able to help me get everything done in a very short amount of time. Peter is an amazing writer, so his tips and approach that he taught really did help me formulate a very well-written and organized essay.
Before I met with Peter, I didn’t realize I could write about a topic that encompassed everything I did extracurricularly in high school, and never realized that minuscule experiences would be so impactful in writing. He helped me make my story more intriguing and vivid, and was able to help formulate a well-written and flowing essay by helping me organize my own thoughts and experiences. Without Peter’s help, my success in this process wouldn’t have been possible, and I truly mean that!"
Carol DeMirjian, mother of Dominique DeMirjian from Campbell Hall
Accepted: University of Southern California (USC) - 1st choice - and more
"I was familiar with the angst that plagues parents as they enter the junior and senior years. I didn’t want that to be me. Peter came over and immediately both Dominique and I felt comfortable with him. He is bright and articulate, but also “gets” teenagers. Ok, so he went to Brown University (not too shabby), but beyond that you could tell he was dedicated to a successful outcome. Guess what? Yesterday, she was accepted to the University of Southern California. This is her dream school.
She took his advice, and I got to stay out of it and keep the relationship with my daughter intact. They worked for several weeks, adding and editing, fine tuning, but making sure the essay was HER voice. In the end, when I was allowed to read it, I found it thoughtful and eye opening, articulate, and raw. Peter and Dominique wrote about her learning differences in a positive way exposing her unique artistic process.
I am so forever grateful to Peter, not only for his guidance and expertise all along the way, but for making what could have otherwise been an unpleasant experience pretty relaxed. No stress...you won’t find it from him. I would recommend Peter with the utmost confidence. I plan on enlisting him again as my sophomore daughter prepares for her college process. He will get you through this potentially stressful time. He will make it so that you and your student survive!!!"
Sylvia Hatfield, parent of Matthew Hatfield from Arcadia High School
Accepted: Harvard University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and more
“There aren’t enough words to explain how grateful I am for Peter. In just a few short essay sessions, Peter expertly identified key points in my son’s life and got him to reflect deeply about the meaning of his experiences. Before finding Peter, we struggled to find topics and essays that would capture my son's sensitivities and best qualities. We needed to stand out, but we needed help.
Peter had no problem quickly discarding topics he knew would not be effective, and he drilled deep to find the impressive and unique details that truly painted Matthew as the intelligent, compassionate young man I know him to be. Just meeting for Peter for the first time, my son got so excited at what Peter was explaining. His eyes lit up, and under Peter’s mentorship and personal commitment, my son produced beautiful and poignant essays that truly moved everyone who read them. When he got the acceptance from Harvard, we were just floored! Peter is one-of-a-kind, truly an incredible writer and mentor!”
Cecila Avila, mother of John Desan from the Stony Brook School
Accepted: Duke, Columbia, Cornell, Rice, Vanderbilt, Washington Univ. in St. Louis, and more
"This was not an easy journey, since my child is a typical, quite social teenager, and I had to become the bad cop in my family to maintain my child focused during this process and to complete this exhausting journey. But Peter helped alleviate this tension—he was not only a great friend to John, but an excellent mediator for my son and I. Peter helped my child and I keep a healthy relationship throughout the process.
After seeing Peter's comments/recommendations on College Confidential [the largest college forum around]...I felt that these were the issues my child had been struggling with and I contacted Peter. He worked with my child via Skype for several months, and my child not only improved his ACT score to a 34, but also his overall performance at school due to improvement in overall reading and writing skills.
During the college application process, Peter and my child brainstormed together, then my child wrote the essays, then Peter reviewed the essays in a critical but constructive way. Peter helped my child communicate authentically in powerful paragraphs. He really knows the ins and outs and what colleges are looking for. Thanks so much!!!!"
John K., The Buckley School
Accepted: Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, Washington Univ. in St. Louis, UCLA, University of California (USC), New York University (Stern Business), and more
"I'm honestly speechless at what Peter has helped me accomplish. I'm naturally a picky person—almost a perfectionist. I almost never work with the same individual for an extended time, but Peter's skills and personal commitment are unparalleled. Peter not only went above and beyond my extreme expectations, but was a true friend who put personal care into making my dreams a reality.
I knew I needed to stand out, but I didn’t know how. I had great overall grades and scores, but essays were the one thing that would breathe life into my app. As more of a math/science guy, I have to confess that I’m a terrible writer and always feared English, my worst subject. But Peter’s patience and vast experience allowed him to quickly help me organize my thoughts and reflect on my life. He suggested so many creative and deep ideas. It was as if he knew my inner thoughts better than I did—because he knew just the perfect questions to ask to get me thinking in the right direction. He gave me more than direction and mentorship. In my moments of doubt, he gave me hope, backed up with complete competence.
His incredible writing skills and creativity truly shone through in the application process. He helped me map out my life and put the details together persuasively. Honestly, I didn’t know where to start or how to write a cohesive story. Before Peter, I was never the most eloquent and loathed to write, but his feedback completely upped the sophistication level of my writing, both in content and style. He even helped me earn multiple As for papers in English class, a subject I've always struggled with.
Peter's tremendous attention to detail helped us fine tune our strategies and make sure my application fit together as a whole. We came up with many unique, impressive essays that showed all the best parts of myself. Even though I had a thousand questions, he would not let any detail get past him, so I felt truly secure under his guidance.
Upon his recommendation, I even created a website that demonstrated why I thought I was a great fit for a particular college. It showed colleges why THEY should accept me. This is one of many examples of where his creative thinking paid off. The results were more than I dared dreamed. I got into a top Ivy League school, Columbia University, and can’t wait to go! My god, it would be impossible to overstate exactly how I felt when I saw my acceptance letter. My father, who runs an extremely successful business, told me that this was by far the happiest moment of his life.
In the end, Peter and I became true friends. He is constantly encouraging and advising me in life outside of just school and essays. He has been and will always be there for me, and I just can’t say enough how committed and great of a person he is. Working with Peter has by far been one of the greatest decisions I’ve made in my life. If you are a student looking to create incredible college essays, and be admitted to your dream college, I implore you to work with him. He IS the best out there, and I’d consider anyone lucky just to have the opportunity."
Ishaan Dev, Arcadia High School
Accepted: UC Berkeley (Chemical Engineering), UCLA, UC San Diego, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Illinois, UT Austin, and more
"Peter is a lot more to me than just a tutor. He is my mentor. He has stuck with me through thick and thin. While I was balancing Boy Scouts, Percussion, and other activities, Peter was always very supportive and took the time out of his schedule to answer my annoying questions and even shoot me reassuring texts…When I finally became an Eagle Scout, I was allowed to hand out little medals of gratitude to a select few who had made a lasting impact in my life. I spent hours forming and refining a list, taking names on and off. One was never erased though. And that was Peter Peng.
[He] helped me brainstorm ideas for my essay that not only had a lot of depth and meaning, but also conveyed who I was as a person. Peter worked alongside me through nights of typing and rewriting. He is a very calm and open individual, so it was easy for me to share my personal thoughts with him. He then took these thoughts and the bits and pieces of myself that I had shared with him and created a rough road map as a base for my essay. Peter’s tutoring gave me direction and confidence as I wrote applications for 15 universities. In January, I came out of my application-writing hibernation satisfied with the product I was sending to schools.
Peter is an absolutely exceptional counselor for essay writing. He not only helps with the editing, but also teaches his students to be better writers. I definitely produced some great college essays and improved dramatically in AP English after working with Peter.
The results were fantastic. With so many choices, I didn’t know where to go! Which, honestly, is not the worst problem to have. After talking to Peter, my parents, and friends, I happily decided to study chemical engineering at UC Berkeley."
Sam Lin, father of student from Harvard Westlake
Accepted: Cornell University (Early Action)
"Once, we had to revise an essay one day before the deadline due to an unforeseeable request from the university’s admission office. Peter, my daughter, my wife, a second college counselor, and I had all carefully checked the requirements, so we were shocked when the college suddenly required a brand new essay 24 hours before the application was due. I have never seen a college do such a thing before.
Not only this, but the new essay’s requirement was several pages long, so Peter worked diligently with our daughter to produce a wonderful, thoughtful essay. Just hours before the deadline, the college changed the requirements again! Suddenly, they said the essay had to be under 300 words—after Peter had helped us edit a two-page essay! All our hard work was lost because of the college’s last minute requests, but Peter gracefully navigated this nightmare situation. He quickly and effectively re-edited the essay to capture the core message, but still stay within the new word limit requirement. He demonstrated absolute confidence even under such pressure and relieved the worries of everyone involved.
Despite his busy schedule, Peter came to our house twice that day and worked with my daughter until midnight to meet the college’s last minute request. This kind of professional dedication and personal affection to his clients is truly inspirational. We were fortunate in having found Peter and being able to put trust for our daughter’s academic future in his hands."
Ethan Chen, Arcadia High School
Accepted: University of Texas at Austin (Business), New York University (NYU), Boston University (BU), and more
"My parents understood the stress of college essays and seeing as though Peter helped me raise my ACT scores very well, they welcomed Peter for another few sessions for college essays. I sought Peter’s help because I had heard from my friends that he was extremely helpful. My friends spoke the truth.
When we worked on essays, I honestly had no idea how to start out my essays. In school, we learned to write essays in the analytical formats, like evidence, analysis, thesis, etc. Peter first had me read multiple essays, allowing me to gain a different perspective on writing. The theme was to tell a story that represents your character for colleges to see. We brainstormed for many hours, and he helped me pull out specific experiences of my life to help express my emotions and character.
After brainstorming, we tackled essay after essay, as he constantly fed me advice and alternatives to phrasing each sentence. Each essay was finished feeling eloquent and neat. I’m proud of my work with Peter, as I’ve gotten accepted into schools such as the University of Texas at Austin, New York University, Occidental College, Boston University, Pepperdine University, and many others.
Now that the exams and college essays processes are over, I am moving on to the next chapter of my life: college. I feel accomplished of what I did in high school, but I couldn’t have felt this way without Peter helping me accomplish the scores I wanted, and reflecting on my experiences through my essays. The skills I’ve learned in essay writing will be carried throughout my college career."
John Desan, The Stony Brook School
Accepted: Duke, Columbia, Cornell, Rice, Vanderbilt, Washington Univ. in St. Louis, and more
"Writing essays with Peter was always a little bit magical. I remember feeling like I had nothing to say in the beginning, but Peter helped me find essays in events of my life. He was able to get on paper feelings that I was unable to explain.
My mom found several tutors for me, but the only one I clicked with was Peter. Peter was able to find my weakness and knew what exercises to do to make me better. He is no doubt knowledgeable as he was my tutor for the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, ACT, and college admission essays. I think the main reason why we got along so well is because of how friendly he is. Let’s face it, the college process is not a lot of fun. Luckily, Peter's friendliness and positivity help out.
Having the college process behind me, I am very glad that I had the help I did. Peter was an amazing tutor. While Peter is friendly, he knows what he is doing and is tough. The best student for Peter is one who is ready to work hard. I can promise you that if you do work hard, great results will come about. I would recommend Peter to anyone who needs help in the college world."
Tamao Cmiral, Campbell Hall
Accepted: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), University of Southern California (USC), and more
"Another fantastic way Peter helped me out was the he way he worked on the essays with me. The amount of time, support, and work he put into them to help was amazing. There were several brainstorming sessions that got the best ideas out of me onto paper. My main essay topic was unusual and difficult to write about, but Peter found ways to work with them and we concluded with one of my most interesting and absorbing essays.
I went through the college audition process for piano and at one of my auditions, a professor congratulated me by telling she really enjoyed reading my essays and that she liked my style of writing. What I found to be Peter’s best approach to help with the essays was when he and I would sit together and talk everything out. Anything I mentioned or any idea in his head was immediately written down. The more we wrote down, the more we had to work with and later we could take everything by putting them together to formulate the essay we strove to write. I think the essays he helped on by pouring nothing but hard work into really pushed me forward in the application."
Joshua Nikfarjam, The Milken School
Accepted: UC Berkeley, University of Southern California (USC), University of Michigan (Ross Business), and more
"Before I met Peter...I was completely lost in the college process. I knew I had to write my Common Application essay, but I had no idea what to write. When I first met Peter, he emailed me several helpful videos and essay tips to jump start the process. After writing down my ideas, Peter helped me discern specific traits I had that would be indispensable for the admissions committee to hear. Peter allowed me to be independent and write on my own, but he would then spend a lot of time refining what I wrote. I love how Peter would be brutally honest with me about my ideas; if something shouldn't have been included in essay, he had no problem telling me.
One struggle I had that Peter helped me a lot with was “showing instead of telling.” My writing was initially very dry and boring; however, Peter helped me write with captivating imagery. In the end, I’m sure that the admissions committees were blown away by my personal statement.
Peter also did a phenomenal job helping me with my supplemental essays. He taught me how to research specific colleges and what to look for on their websites. His advice was to impress the admissions counselors by doing specific research rather than writing generic essays that can be copy and pasted for each college. He spent countless hours outside of our sessions revising my essays, and I will forever be grateful for that."