Janine Anderson Robinson is a journalist and credentialed high school English teacher from Laguna Beach, California, who has spent the last nine years coaching college-bound students on their college application essays.
Today, with more than 4 million visitors to her Essay Hell blog and working with thousands of students from all over the world, Janine is considered one of the foremost experts on how to write narrative essays that consistently land students in their dream schools and programs.
She is the first professional writing coach to promote the idea of using a narrative (storytelling) style in college application essays, and teach students specifically how to use everyday topics and tap real-life stories to illustrate their unique qualities and characteristics in their essays.
Her Professional Background
For 20 years, Janine wrote and edited stories for newspapers, magazines and Internet companies.
She worked as a staff reporter for The Miami Herald and The Orange County Register newspapers; wrote freelance articles for The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Entrepreneur media and Orange Coast magazine; and, was the editor of several monthly lifestyle magazines in Orange County, most recently as managing editor for Pelican Hill Magazine in Newport Beach.
Throughout the year, Janine tutors students working on their college admissions essays (aka personal statements) and supplemental pieces both privately and in groups.
She also has worked as a writing coach for clients of top private college counselors, including Kristin Thomas of Laguna College Counseling in Laguna Beach, CA, Lynn Fair of Square One College Counseling in Laguna Beach, and Lisa McGlaughlin of Edvantage in Irvine, CA.
(Read these testimonials to see what former students and their parents have to say about Janine’s work.)
She also gives college essay writing workshops; most recently to the IB students at Palisade High School in Palisade, CO, and Bergen County Technical High School juniors and teachers in Teterboro, NJ (Ranked #6 in the state!).
Read HERE about her current workshop series with English teachers and 160 select mostly first-gen students from 30 GEARUP high schools in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
GEARUP recently purchased licenses for Janine’s online essay writing course for their 10,500 students, as well as teachers and facilitators.
Her Writing Approach
Although many students learn to write academic essays in high school, many have not been taught how to write personal, narrative-style essays about themselves.
Drawing on the “New Journalism” story-telling techniques, such as using anecdotal leads, concrete details, poignant examples, dialogue and a narrative style, Janine teaches students how to tell their own real-life stories.
Using her step-by-step approach to essay writing, students can get past the fear and pressure, and tell a personally revealing story about themselves that others (college admissions officers) want to read.
These narrative-style, slice-of-life essays are highly effective in helping students reveal what makes them tick because they are personal, engaging, meaningful and memorable.
The bottom line: Students who reveal who they are, how they think and what they value—and also connect with the reader and help colleges see why they are a good fit—get into their target schools!
Her Personal Background
Janine and her husband are the proud parents of two grown children.
Their daughter graduated from a wonderful liberal arts college outside Little Rock, Arkansas, called Hendrix College, and is currently pursuing a masters in teaching at The University of California, Irvine, and teaching dual immersion Spanish Kindergarten at a Title One school south of Seattle, Washington.
Their son completed three years at the equally wonderful University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and through their 3/2 program recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, with a chemical engineering degree; currently working in Seattle as an engineer.
(Both Hendrix College and the University of Puget Sound are both showcased in the terrific college guide, 40 College That Change Lives, in case you are on the prowl for stellar small colleges often off the radar.)
In her free time, Janine enjoys surfing, hiking, yoga, playing ukulele, cooking, gardening, ceramics, hitting the fleas, star gazing, and birding.
Check out her tutoring and consulting Services if you need help on writing your essays, or would learn how to teach others how to write them.
She also has written four guides on writing college application essays: the best-selling Escape Essay Hell!, Essay Hell’s Prompts Primer, and a collection of sample college app essays written by former students, called Heavenly Essays.
Her writing guide, Writing Survival Kit, is geared to students who not only want to nail their college application essays, but also develop stellar writing skills. Her latest writing guide, Essay Hell’s 50 Most Common Questions about College Application Essays, was published this spring. All books are available on Amazon as Kindle and/or paperback.
This year, she also launched her Essay Writing Boot Camp, that offers online writing courses and tutorials. It is available for sale at a significant discount as bulk licenses for schools and organizations.
You can reach Janine via her Contact page to send an email, or directly at EssayHell@gmail.com.