The College Admissions Essay


Writing can be a daunting experience—going at it alone even more so. And after years of writing research papers and essays, finding your own voice can seem impossible. As the examples below illustrate, I can help students navigate this challenging task and emerge with an essay that reflects the best parts of themselves. Over the last twenty years I’ve worked with numerous students who have gone on to a wide range of schools.


Med School Admissions Essay before Editing

My “doctoring” took shape in various ways as a leader: from multiple cases of nausea and heat exhaustion to fixing malfunctioning bicycles. The southern summer heat often multiplies problems and I discovered that water, shade, and waning daylight confound the challenges of a nasty leg gash that needs bandaging or a wheel needing re-alignment. However, these complex problems induced a heightened energy and confidence that allows me to issue quick, decisions on behalf of my students’ health. Most of all, I learned to maintain a calm demeanor that reassured anxious students that they were in safe, capable hands. I believe one of my biggest assets during these trips was a quiet confidence that inspired insecure riders who were hesitant to continue to brave the emotional and physical toll of such an enormous undertaking…

Med School Admissions Essay after editing

On the road my “doctoring” took on various shapes and sizes, from monitoring multiple cases of nausea and heat exhaustion to triaging malfunctioning bicycles. The southern summer heat often amplified problems, and I discovered that unpotable water, lack of shade, or even waning daylight could make the challenge of treating a nasty leg gash or nursing a wheel back into alignment that much more difficultYet grappling with these complex problems was anything but discouraging; indeed, it fostered in me a heightened sense of confidence that allowed me to make crucial medical decisions.  I learned to maintain a calm demeanor that assured anxious high schoolers they were in safe and capable hands.  I even like to think it was my quiet leadership that inspired two different riders to overcome their insecurities and continue to brave the emotional and physical toll of a coast to coast ride



Developing a guiding metaphor

At the age of eight, I faced a monster: scaled and clawed, it would drape itself across my shoulders breathing alternately in shivers of ice and fire while wrapping its unforgiving tail around my throat. It appeared at the calmest and most innocent part of the school day: the mystical hour known as Silent Reading Time. It emerged, and I could not read.

I understand now that the cold sweats and dry throat were not actually a manifestation of some invisible beast with the magic power to turn simple letters into incomprehensible gibberish, but rather a reaction to my own acute fear that someone would discover my inability to read. Try explaining that to a hyper-imaginative eight-year-old however. Nor could my handicap have been better aimed if it had been a curse sent by some malicious witch out of the stories. I was a curious, independent and irrepressible kid who had been brought up on books; for ages I had been longing to get my hands on The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter without having to suffer through the tedious pre-bedtime hours. Instead, I wound up sitting in a corner of the classroom, agonizing over whether I was turning the pages too fast or too slow for a credible imitation of an average second-grader. Not too quick or they’ll know you’re not reading. Not too slow or they’ll find out anyway…

engaging short answer essays

I have been a clarinetist for almost as long as I can remember, and a harpist for less than a year.  I am by no means a brilliant musician, merely an adequate one.  I have no special talent or gift for music, and sometimes the rewards of practicing seem to be less than those I would obtain by doing other things.  Frequently I wonder why I play if I will never achieve greatness and nothing will come of it.  But sometimes, when I'm alone in the practice room, playing a piece for what seems to be—and quite possibly is—the hundredth time, something else happens.  My clarinet loses its raspy sound, my fingers no longer get caught on the wrong strings, and the music flows through me.  I play with feeling of crystalline purity ringing out, and that clear sound brings tears to my eyes not because I hear it, but because I experience it.  That is why I love music and continue to play it; feeling the intent of the composer reproduced with such vulgar tools and being lifted above the normal—this makes all of my fruitless hours of fumbling for that moment seem like nothing at all.

Pook’s guidance as I wrote and revised my college essay didn’t just result in my being accepted to the college of my choice—he helped me write an essay that I would be proud of no matter where I went.
— Noah S.