Essay Hell

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Welcome to Essay Hell!

On this site, you will learn tips, advice and strategies to write your dreaded college application essays—and escape the misery of Essay Hell.

Read the helpful posts (click the flames and icons!) and learn to navigate the complicated admissions process, discover powerful writing tools, and craft standout essays to land in your dream school.

Find my best-selling writing guides on Amazon by clicking on the covers (to the left and right).

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Learn to Write Your Essay
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Work At Your Own Pace

Click the lightbulb to learn more about my popular on-demand, online essay writing course: How to Write a College Application Essay.

Includes 11 short instructional videos, my four writing guides and related worksheets and exercises.

NEW! Includes PPs on “How to Write Supplemental Essays” and “How to Write UC Essays”!

You can start now! Only $99.

“Funnily enough, I actually used this website to help guide a lot of my application essays, including this one. So I guess this would be the perfect opportunity to say thank you! I feel like my essays definitely strengthened my entire application.”

Brittany Stinson
Accepted to all 8 ivies and Stanford
(wrote famous “Costco essay”)

Read more testimonials!

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Discover the Famous Essay Hell Blog!

How to Find a Hot Topic
How to Write an Anecdote
How to Answer Most Popular Prompts
How to Edit an Essay
How to Understand Admissions Officers
and loads more!


“…Janine helped my son identify areas that made him unique and topics that highlighted his strengths. We watched his essays transform from mere ideas to coherent attention-grabbing stories. The process proved to be a time of enrichment and self-discovery.”
Jack Feng, father of Jeremy, who is attending UCLA 
Laguna Hills, California
Jeremy also was accepted to UCI, UCSD, UCSB, Notre Dame, U of Washington,  NYU, and Ohio State.

Everything You Need to Know About the Four Most Common Applications
(Click Icons for Tips and Strategies!)

Common Application Essays

Find help on choosing from the seven prompts for The Common Application, and crafting a “slice-of-life” essay that helps you stand out.

University of California Essays

University of California Essays

Brainstorm ideas and craft short essays for the eight new essay prompts for the University of California application.

Coalition for Access...Essays

This is a brand new application system: Find strategies for all five of the prompts to write the required personal statement essay.

ApplyTexas Essays (Most Texas Schools!)

Learn about the all-new prompts for the ApplyTexas application, and tips and advice on writing essays for Topic A, B and C.

Escape the Heat!

Click flames to read popular posts on these subjects!

My Bestselling College Application

Essay Writing Guides on Amazon!

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How Do You Learn Best?

Check out my services and resources below!


Click to learn more about my in-person and Skype tutoring services, as well as my workshops.

Writing Guides

Click to find out more about my four popular writing guides, all available on Amazon.


Click to check out my instructional videos on how to answer popular essay prompts.

Online Course

Click to learn about my fast-and easy online course on how to write a college application essay.

The Essay Hell Blog

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Race is a Terrible College App Essay Topic

Feeling Pressure to Write About Race? Don't Do It!   Colleges and universities can no longer use your race as a factor in determining whether to accept you to their schools, since the landmark Supreme Court ruling on June 29th abolished most of Affirmative Action...

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How to Write about Race in the College App Essay

How to Write about Race in your College App Essay Post Affirmative Action   The Supreme Court knocked down Affirmative Action today. This landmark ruling means colleges and universities will no longer be allowed to use race as a factor in who they admit....

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How to Use ChatGPT for a College Application Essay

ChatGPT Can't Write Your Essay for You; But Here are 5 Ways It Can Help You Write Your Own I wrote a previous post about how the new AI bot called ChatGPT would not be able to write your college application essay for you. At least not yet, and possibly never. But I...

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Can ChatGPT Write Your College Application Essay?

Sorry, Artificial Intelligence Won't Save You From the Dreaded College App Essay. Yet. When I first heard about ChatGPT, and how this new artificial intelligence bot could write college essays for students, I thought, "Ugh oh, looks like my no one is going to need my...

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My 2022 Essay Primer to Get You Started

Are you stuck in Essay Hell yet? The season is upon us.  Woot woot! Finding a great topic can be challenging. And then turning that into a written piece that sets you apart from other college applicants, and reveals your unique personality and character, even harder....

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Exciting Pre-College Conference this Summer in San Diego!

I'm excited to work with students this summer who get to attend the My Pathway to College pre-college experience in sunny San Diego. During the weeklong conference, which will be held on the gorgeous campus at the University of San Diego (the private liberal arts...

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Beware Covid and the College Application Essay

A Great Essay Topic? Anything But the Coronavirus! When counseling students on finding great topics for their college application essays, I often direct them to explore problems they have faced in their lives. Problems provide the perfect springboard for writing a...

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FREE College Application Essay Webinars!

FREE Summer Essay Writing Webinars! First one: Wednesday, July 8! I know this is a hard time for many students and families. To do my small part to try to ease the financial strain due to the current pandemic, I will be offering FREE webinars this summer to help...

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Start a Coronavirus Diary NOW!

It's Not Too Late to Capture Your Unique COVID-19 Experience in a Journal I know most of your are busy with online schooling. If you find extra time on your hands, and want a great way to practice narrative writing to prepare for your college application essays, start...

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