Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Personal Statement: Working with an Experienced Writing Coach

I work with applicants who are writing their personal statements for undergraduate or graduate applications. While I tailor each session to a particular student’s needs, we will typically meet twice.
Here’s how our sessions will usually go: 

Writing Your Personal Statement: Two Drafts & Three Writing Coach Hours

You send me a draft of the personal statement (usually about 650 words, but I understand that an earlier draft might be longer or shorter) and some background information in response to any questions I might have. It will take me about half an hour to read through and prepare the essay for our session. I prefer to receive the draft at least two days before the session so that I can spend some time thinking about it in addition to the active time I spend reading and responding to it.

During our session, I’ll ask you many questions in response to what you’ve written and other questions to uncover other experiences or ideas you might explore in the essay (background, goals, interests, etc.) We’ll look closely at the writing and discuss the ideas, overall organization, sentence-level grammatical issues and how the essay fits into the rest of the application. The first session will typically last an hour. I expect that you'll bring a copy of the essay and take notes during our discussion. Some students choose to audiotape our session. A parent or guardian is welcome to attend this and future sessions, if that's ok with the student.

I will ask to see a revised copy of the essay before our second session. It will take me about half an hour to prepare that version for our session. When we discuss the work, we’ll look closely at the overall essay, as well as each individual sentence. With that feedback, you should end up with a very strong draft.

All meetings can take place in person, on the phone or via video conferencing.

The cost is $150.00 an hour, including the time it takes me to read the work. If you book three or more hours, you’re welcome to a 10% discount. With that in mind, two sessions, including my preparation time, will be a three hour commitment. We can always add on additional time as necessary.

Read more about my writing coach services here. (Of course, I won’t be writing your essay for you.)

(This page was updated August 2017.)

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