How I went from grad school wannabe to helping thousands of students write applications that earn elite admissions.
Before the free essay guides went viral. Before online courses. Before professors pointed to WriteIvy and said “This is the kind of SOP I like to read”…there was a clueless Creative Writing student.
Rejected MFA applications.
Desperate for approval.
Unable to figure out why elite grad programs didn’t see the potential in my work.
Asia, Advertising & a Hundred Thousand Essay Drafts
I didn’t always understand how admissions committees think.
While my undergrad days saw me winning creative writing awards and presenting at national conferences…
The shift into grad school was anything but a “win.”
After 9/10 rejections and one measly wait list, I traveled to China for an independent study of language and literature I hoped would qualify me for a PhD.
I knew I would eventually become a professor. This was my only goal.
But when I taught a writing workshop for brilliant international students, and they all asked for help crafting application essays to US schools…
I quickly wondered:
“Hmmm, is there an art form to these essays that I don’t know?”
The next few years were fascinating.
I studied the history of essay writing, from Aristotle’s Poetics to “Harvard Application Essays That Worked.”
I took a job in advertising, learning how to craft a “Unique Selling Point.”
All the while, I employed my creative writing skills, editing hundreds of essays in my free time for students who…excitingly…kept getting admitted.
Honestly though, it was a struggle. I wanted to go back to school myself, but more and more students came begging for help with their applications. I felt their anxiety. I saw how important this was for them. I remembered how clueless I’d been a few years before, and I knew that, above all else…
I couldn’t let them down.
Still I worked my day job. Still I studied narrative structure and even taught adjunct college classes. But the more personal statements I edited, and the more my students earned brilliant admissions, the more the “art form” of application essays came into focus.
Then, one spring, the offers flooded in.
Stanford. MIT. Caltech.
Scholarships. Funding from a dozen schools.
Chicago. NYU. Carnegie Mellon.
The joy was overwhelming. I laughed and yelled and high-fived my students. Their parents expressed sincere gratitude.
And that’s when I realized:
Somehow, over thousands of hours, I’d fallen in love with the personal statement.
It became my life’s work.
My students became my life’s work.
I discovered that as an online teacher, I could help far more students than I ever could as a college professor.
Fast forward a few years, and I did eventually earn my MFA, studying with some of the most famous writers in the world.
But even then, I ran my coaching business full-time, working with students just like you. I’d read and edited thousands of essays. I knew what worked. I’d partnered with professors and former admissions pros, honing our system into something students celebrated.
At the same time, I grew frustrated with all the BAD ADVICE out there about application essays. It drove me crazy! The conventional wisdom was vague, unhelpful, and sometimes flat-out wrong.
Even my professor and admissions friends couldn’t explain the statement of purpose in a useful way.
They “knew” what they liked…
But were hopeless at explaining “how” to actually write it on paper.
They could teach Computer Science or Ottoman History, but when it came to teaching writing, they were utterly and stinkingly ineffective.
I’d learned that application success required:
Essays brimming with lucid intelligence
Laser focus on the psychology of the reader (thanks advertising!)
Timeless principles of narrative structure
I’d also learned that ANY average college graduate could write the kind of essay that makes professors sit up straight at their desk and say, “Wow!”
But why weren’t universities teaching students to write like this?
I admit, I spend way too much time helping applicants on social media.
I feel their pain. I know how confusing, stressful, and vague grad applications are.
But one day, after reading what seemed like the hundredth straight awful first draft, from an endless stream of nervous STEM students, I finally said:
I wrote a free essay guide: Structure is Magic.
It explained, step-by-step, exactly how my most successful students wrote the essays that earned them inexplicably amazing admissions.
It went viral.
Grateful emails came in from across the world.
Students I’d never met were reporting admissions to their top-choice schools, in the USA, in Europe and Canada, and they all said: Thank you for explaining this in such a clear way. I couldn’t have done this without you.
Now, after millions of page views…
And many more essay guides…
And endless lists of grad school admissions in virtually every academic field…
(8 to Stanford, 4 to Harvard, and 3 to MIT in just the last few weeks!)
…I found my life’s work again:
Are you ready to take action, build confidence, and learn the formula for brilliant essays that flood your inbox with admission offers and launch your career as a high-achieving grad student?
Not every student has a network of mentors in academia who can guide them through the application process. They sometimes feel hopeless and lost. They turn to Professor Google, who gives them the same old, tired, conventional advice that makes little sense, and that’s been getting students rejected for years.
But you’re not lost nor hopeless.
Because you’re here.
You’re intelligent enough to know that if you’re going to earn 3, 4, or more PhD or Master’s offers, you have to be certain you’re doing the RIGHT work in the RIGHT way.
That’s why you’ve worked in your internships and research labs.
That’s why you’ve sought the most powerful LORs.
That’s why you’ll pay those application fees, and why you’ve already invested real hours trying to make this whole stressful grad app process pay off.
So you can feel confident.
So you can be certain that grad schools will see the blazing potential we both know you’re ready to achieve.
Ready to convince your dream school that you’re the student they’ve always wanted?
Start by diving into our guides below.
Discover how to write an intelligent, persuasive SOP that earns multiple admissions. (And maybe funding!)
Online courses that teach you exactly what, when, and how to write for maximum SOP success.
Work with me to polish your essays until they’re so bright and brilliant, you’ll shine with confidence.