My students have been accepted to outstanding colleges and universities all over the country, and world.

Although I cannot take credit for their success, most of them got into their top choice schools—from Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, CalTech, UPenn, etc. to awesome private liberal arts and state schools around the country. 


I strongly believe that students who write narrative essays that reveal their self-defining qualities, true character and individuality are most likely to land exactly where they belong.

It’s all about finding the right fit.

Here’s what some of my former students, parents, college counselors, and others who used my tutoring, blog, webinars, books, courses and other services, have to say about me:Dear Janine,

“I want to thank you for all the help you have given me! I remember feeling lost in the beginning of the essay writing process. However, you helped me find the perfect essay topics…and your advice and comments on my essays throughout the whole process were instrumental to developing them further. Also, your book Escape Essay Hell! and your website provided a useful insight and guided me greatly. I am really happy with how all of my essays turned out and believe that they were the highlights of my application. Again, thank you so much for being the best writing coach I could have asked for. I was also accepted into UPenn, Duke, Williams, Amherst, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Rice University, and Washington University in St. Louis! Thank You!” 

Jenny P., who will be starting at Dartmouth College this fall (2019)
Durham, North Carolina
“Essay Hell (webinar and online course) is very informative and provides clear instructions on how to start writing college essays. I would recommend this course with full confidence.”   
Deborah Kwon, parent of college-bound senior (2019)
Irvine, California  
“Dear Janine,
Thank you so much for your help with perfecting my UC Essays and my Common App Essay! It took a lot of weight off my shoulders having someone to guide me into turning my ideas into unique writing topics. My essays were definitely a focal point of my application and I am very grateful that you assisted me in reaching my full potential on these essays! I am also very grateful to say I was accepted to the honors program at UCI, UCSD, UC Davis, the University of Southern California and UC Berkeley!”
Incia Haider, who will be attending UC Berkeley this fall (2018)
Laguna Hills, California
“As the deadlines were approaching, Janine met with our son despite a last minute’s notice. In two sessions, she helped 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. Thank you, Janine.”
Jack Feng, father of Jeremy, who will be attending UCLA this fall (2018)
Laguna Hills, California
Jeremy also was accepted into UCI, UCSD, UCSB, Notre Dame, U of Washington,  NYU, and Ohio State.


“Janine helped me to express the unique aspects of my story and guided me to make my essays stand out from the rest of the crowd. She helped me in writing meaningful anecdotes, and helped me to create a focused response.  Her college essay guidance is exceptional and amazing. I would highly recommend her.”

From student (who wanted to remain anonymous) admitted Early Decision
MIT (Massachusetts Institute for Technology) for Fall 2018
Seattle, WA

“Janine’s personal guidance and Essay Hell resources were instrumental in my successful application and acceptance to Columbia University. She will help you leave no stone unturned when helping you write a genuine personal statement for your college of choice. An expert in her craft, Janine’s efforts are unyielding to bring out the best an essayist has to offer the admissions board.”

Katie Crumbey
Columbia School of Social Work
Fort Hood, Texas
Class of 2020

“Hi! This is Brittany! The girl who wrote the essay above. 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
Wilmington, Delaware
Accepted to 5 Ivy Leagues schools
(Yale, UPenn, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth)
and Stanford for 
Fall 2016.
(Her essay on Costco went viral.)

“Janine and her Essay Hell are a must for any HS senior who wants to really shine in their college essays. Unlike other formulaic essay writing approaches available in books or seminars, Essay Hell follows a narrative writing style and self-discovery framework that helps you find and write about the most important aspect of your college essays: YOU!
The result is a more powerful, compelling essay that really helps you to stand out to college admissions application readers in a most authentic way. Highly recommended!”

Ben Drake
Pleasanton, California
UC Berkeley, as Regents Scholar, for Fall 2017,

“Hello! I’m Abla, an international student from Morocco. I just wanted to send you this thank you note for the essay advice you post on your website, because it considerably helped me write my essays. Thanks to you, I got into Northeastern, Fordham, Boston University, Northwestern (all of those with scholarships), but also into Johns Hopkins, Colby, UPenn, Dartmouth, Cornell and Stanford ! (and all of this as an international student)
I strongly believe that my essays were the highlights of my application, and your advice helped me craft them as beautifully as I can.”

Email received in April 2017. Abla gave me permission to share it here.

“Hi Janine, I wanted to thank you for your help w/ Elliot’s essay writing and give you an update on his college plans. He applied to seven, 5-year architecture programs: Cal Poly, Syracuse, Virg. Tech, Pratt, Oregon, Penn State and U of AZ. He got into them all.
He got a 5-year merit scholarship from them all (except Cal Poly) at different levels, most notably, a full academic scholarship from Syracuse ($45,000/year).
From Elliot’s Dad
Los Gatos, CA
Going to Cal Poly fall 2017
“While there are many resources out there for help in writing college application essays, there is only one Janine Robinson and Essay Hell.  She helped my daughter re-think the most important parts of her essay that would really stand out. She then provided brilliant guidance in helping to tell a persuasive story. Janine’s ability to help weave anecdotes into a beautiful, engaging narrative is unmatched. She is truly exceptional.”
Robert M.
New Jersey
Daughter accepted early decision to Brown
for fall 2017
“I just wanted to send a personal note of thanks. Thanks to your awesome writing guides, I was able to gain admission into Colgate University for the Class of 2021. And it’s almost a full ride. Honestly, as an international student asking for full financial aid, and the first in my family (even extended) to apply to U.S colleges, there’s nothing more I could’ve asked for. It’s a dream come true for me and my family.  Your books were an immense help during this tricky and daunting process!”
Mohammad Bin Awais
Colgate University (2017)
“Thanks to your skills and desire to truly help me improve, I was able to receive admission to all of my top schools…With your help I was able to receive a full 4-year ROTC scholarship to UCLA, USC, and UCI along with an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. My appointment to West Point is my greatest accomplishment and has truly impacted my life. Thank you!”

Andrew Aldaz
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Attending West Point (2016)
(See one of Andrew’s essays)

“Janine was amazing in helping my shy daughter look within herself to find a fantastic topic for her Common Application essay…I know the admissions people reading it got a great glimpse of who my daughter is outside of her grades and scores. I am certain the essay played a major role in Hannah being accepted at 13 of the 14 schools she applied to, including University of Pittsburgh, University of Scranton and Loyola University of Maryland. She’s very excited to be attending University of Scranton next year to study neuroscience. I will certainly be calling on Janine again when it’s time for my younger daughter to begin the process.”

Jennifer Metzler, mother of Hannah
Exton, Pennsylvania
(March 2016)
(See Hannah’s Common App essay)

*  *  *

“Hi Ms. Robinson, I wanted to say thank you for your help because I was just accepted to Columbia University!  The regional admissions officers sent all of the admitted students a typed letter and wrote a personal note at the bottom, and he talked about what a great essay topic I had. Thank you for all of the information on your website, it really helped me write my essay and choose a topic.  Without your help, I don’t know what I would have done. “

Andrew Losa, Columbia University (2015)

*  *  * 

“Hi Janine,

I am at UC Davis! Largely because of your resources and your amazing help on my essay I also got into UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCSD, Fordham, and was waitlisted at Cornell, and received a transfer option to attend next fall…I used your models on my other prompts and scholarships as well, which made writing them even enjoyable. I was a Gates Millennium Scholarship Finalist, and your tools on writing were my “go- to” resource for all 8 essays. “

Gabrielle Mark-Bachoua, a freshman at University of California, Davis (2014)
(See Gabrielle’s personal statement essay)

*  *  * 

By the way, I love your book Escape Essay Hell. It is one of the best books I’ve read about college essays and it helped me so much with not just my college essays, but also with writing in general. I recommend it to everyone 🙂 “
Eleasha Chew, a student from Penang, Malaysia. Harvard University  (2014)

*  *  *

“Janine Robinson helped three of my children with their college essays–from development of the topics, to fleshing out each child’s particular writing skills, to the end result being a cohesive, well-crafted and organized essay.  With her guidance and aid, my children ended up in their top-choice schools: Stanford, Georgetown and University of Washington.  Thank you, Janine!!”

Lynn Ross, whose children are attending Stanford University, Stanford, CA; Georgetown University, Washington D.C.;  and, the University of Washington, Seattle, WA (2013)
(See the essay by Clara Ross at U. of Washington)

*  *  *

 “Janine Robinson and her Essay Hell books have been an essential part of Square One College Counseling. Janine’s fun and light-hearted way of teaching students the essentials of college essay writing has made the process not only stress free but also enjoyable.

I think what has impressed me most about Janine and her books is how she encourages creative thinking using word games and storytelling, which help the students make the best choice for topics and anecdotes.
The sample essays that are included in the books are not only enjoyable to read, but a great foundation for the applicants, showing them options of different styles of storytelling.
Janine and the Essay Hell books have been an integral part of my counseling program and my students have definitely gained the confidence to go forward and conquer the college essay.”
Lynn Fair, college admissions counselor and owner of Square One College Counseling, based in Laguna Beach, California

*  *  *

“Janine had great tips on how to pick a topic. She showed my son how to focus on a specific theme, rather than making the essay too broad. Janine and my son met a few times, and at the end of the writing and editing process, he had a college-admissions-ready essay that he was able to submit to the school he had chosen. (He got in, by the way, and is very happy!)”

Susan Elliot, whose son is a freshman at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA (2013)

*  *  *

“Janine has been simply amazing. We live in Kuwait, and despite the long distance programme, Janine helped my daughter to focus her thoughts and structure her ideas which eventually helped my daughter to convey her story beautifully. My daughter has been accepted in to University of Michigan, and UCLA. Thank you, Janine.”

Raji Lamba, whose daughter has since also been accepted at USC and Berkeley for 2013-13.

*  *  *

“Janine has been tremendous in helping me discover the direction and message I was trying to convey for a couple different essays; I would have been so lost without her. Because of Janine I was accepted into a very competitive program at my university.” 

Dylan Roley, Chapman University, Orange, CA (Dodge College of Film and Media Arts)

   *  *  *

“Janine shines in her ability to guide students in making unique topic choices. I have no doubt that her expertise was instrumental in my son’s admission to all of his university applications and entrance into a distinguished freshman program at his school of choice.”

Debbie McMullen, whose son is attending the University of British Columbia. 

*  *  *

 “I already had a good topic to work with for my essay, however, I had no idea how to organize it.  Janine Robinson helped me immensely by giving me a simple outline to work with so that my essay was clear and well structured.  I was very pleased with the outcome.”

Hilary Jonus, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

*  *  *

“Although it isn’t easy to be both an expert writer and successful teacher, Janine Robinson is indeed skilled in both areas and proved to be an excellent writing coach. She has used her extensive writing experience to break down the process into manageable pieces, helping to motivate and inspire those she worked with. Janine’s service to my student clients through her workshops and as their individual essay coach was invaluable to their individual success.”

Kristin Thomas, of Laguna College Counseling in Laguna Beach, California