***Looking for help starting your essays? Check out my affordable Jumpstart Webinars! Adding more for July. Only $30. FREE if you can’t afford them.
My Sample Essay Collection
Have a College Admissions Essay You Love? Send It In!
It been a little over five years since I published my best-selling collection of sample college application essays, called Heavenly Essays.
Most of the essays were written by former students, although I also included a handful by other students who submitted their pieces to me.
Now, I would love to add about a dozen new essays to this collection to keep it fresh and timely. (Mainly personal statement essays used for the Common App, Coalition App, Questbridge App and others core essays.)
Anyone is welcome to send in essays. Of course, I especially love hearing from former clients, but I know many other students have written excellent essays as well.
In Heavenly Essays, I included the essay, along with the student’s name, city/state/country, and school attended. At the end of each essay, I have written a short analysis where I shared my thoughts on what worked well and why, and what writing devices, ideas or techniques the writer used effectively. My goal is for students who read these essays, and my analyses, to learn how to craft their own narrative essays.
I believe one of the best ways students can learn how to write engaging and meaningful personal statement essays for their college applications is to read what others have written.
Not only can they get a sense of how these story-telling style essays are structured, and notice the more casual style and authentic voices, but students can also find inspiration for their own topic ideas.
Who knew you could write a killer essay about collecting trash, or messing up a food order while waiting tables, or coming from a family with big hips?
Those of you who have worked with students on their essays–college admissions counselors, English teachers and even parents–are all welcome to submit essays for my collection. Of course, you need to get the student’s permission.
You can either copy and paste them in an email, or attach them as Word or Google docs, and send them to my email: EssayHell@gmail.com
Please feel free to ask me any questions, too.
In my opinion, I think this is a great opportunity not only to share students’ work and inspire others, but publishing a personal piece of writing is a nice accomplishment.
I’m also happy to send a free copy of my collection of Heavenly Essays to anyone who wants to submit essays for these additions. Again, just send me an email.
My Step-by-Step Guide
(I also have a long-standing offer to anyone who buys any of my writing guides on Amazon, either digital or paperback version—Escape Essay Hell, Heavenly Essays or The Writing Survival Kit–and leaves a short star-rating and comments on its Amazon sales page, is welcome to a free digital copy of any of my guides. Just let me know if you left a review and what book you would like.)
Best Essay Writing Tips and Advice!
Thanks for your support!
Learn How to Avoid Black-and-White Thinking
to Add Depth to Your Essays
It’s exciting to see that word is getting out to collegebound students, and those who support their admissions quests, that real-life stories power the most effective college application essays.
If you are new to this concept, read up on the narrative (storytelling) writing method that I promote all over this blog.
(If you are just starting learning about college application essays, I recommend first reading How to Write a College Application Essay in 3 Steps. This post you are reading here is intended for students who have a topic and have started writing their first draft.)
Here’s the essence of my writing approach: You use your real-life stories to illustrate or demonstrate one of your defining qualities, characteristics or core values in your college application essay or personal statement. (more…)
College Admissions Consultants Learn Essay Coaching
A group of nine college admissions consultants from the San Diego area helped me kick off my College Application Essay Writing Bootcamp this week.
After participating in my two-hour workshop at the beautiful home of one of the counselors in Rancho Santa Fe, the nine women are now official “Essay Jumpstart Experts,” and can sport this digital “badge” (above) on their own professional web sites. (more…)
College Application Essays:
Of the Admissions Puzzle
This is the time of year many high school juniors start to get serious about their college admissions strategy–including their college application essays.
Some have been all over the admissions game for years. Most are just now shifting into high gear. And a few need to start tuning in.
My focus is on helping students learn to write effective college application essays. But these dreaded essays are only a part of the process. (more…)
to Write Your
College Application Essay!
Are you the type of student who would like to learn how to write your college application essay by listening to your headphones rather than reading a book?
If so, you might want to check out the first of a two-part podcast, “How to Stand Out in Your College Essays with Janine Robinson,” where I share all my best advice and tips on how to craft a powerful college application essay during an interview with Steve Schwartz, a professional college admissions counselor.
Here’s the link to the podcast with me: How to Stand Out in Your College Essays
How to Find the
in College Application Essays
I received an email from a student named Hannah who told me she was homeschooled, and that she had been advised to write about that for her college application essay.
Hannah said she was having “trouble thinking of anything unique or super meaningful” from her homeschooling experience.
I gave this some thought, and here’s what I would advise:
Homeschooling is something unique and special in itself.
And that’s a good thing.
But as an essay topic, it’s way too broad and most likely written about by a lot by other homeschooled students, so it risks being overdone already. (More than 3 percent of school age kids are home-schools; more than 1.5 million.) (more…)
Photo Via Goop
This might seem random, but I found some powerful writing advice on the blog of Gwyneth Paltrow that I believe is relevant to students writing their college application essays, and others, especially women.
The woman Paltrow recently featured in her blog, Goop, had
some opinions about how women have unconscious habits in their speech and writing that cause them to come across as less confident and competent.
And they hit me hard.
When I thought about it, I was surprised how my lingering insecurities and self-esteem issues still creep into my writing, and even how I talk.
So I thought you might would find them interesting, too. (more…)
If you landed on my Essay Hell blog, there’s a strong chance you are in search of help on writing your college application essay.
Yes, that’s what I do, and I’m happy to help you.
But I was thinking of how I would advise a student or parent who is looking for someone to assist in the essay writing process (other than me).
There are many options—from private college counselors to teachers and smart friends.
Many “experts” claim to know their stuff, but it’s important to make them prove it.
I think the trick is to A. determine if your essay helper really understands what makes a good college admissions essay (a very specific type of writing), and B. has the experience and skills to help a student write or improve her or his own. (more…)
Not many images are more daunting than a blank page. The horror! But starting next month (March), I’m launching a weekly Webinar series to assist more students and families with starting their college application essays.
I write this blog, peddle my three guide books and tutor privately to get out my advice, tips and inspiration to make this process less miserable. I actually believe writing these essays can be an enlightening and productive experience, and dare I say, fun, if you have some direction and support. It can also be a total drag.
But I think you have a choice on how it goes. A lot of the stress of the college admissions process is caused by the unknown. Once you know what to do, you will see that it’s not that impossible.
I’m hoping that my Webinars can help students, and parents and others who work with students, get a jump on what they need to do. (more…)