About Me

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Showing the next generation the path ahead

College Advising Background

I am passionate about working with young people and helping them with the intellectual and emotional challenges of the college application process.

In addition to working as an editor and college advisor, I have taught at the high school and college levels, including twenty years of experience in Advanced Placement English Literature, which was where I first began helping students with admissions to elite universities.  After then working with applications officials at multiple universities, I launched my first website on college essays and applications, the CollegeAppJungle.

I have helped hundreds of students with the application process and with developing a winning package of supplemental materials.  I see myself as an advocate for my clients, helping them to find the best information to inform their choices, offering the best advice to help them navigate the often opaque process of finding and applying to the right colleges, and I am a superb editor, helping my clients create winning essays that clearly convey their voices.

Through WordGuild Writing services, I can help you with anything from editing single essays to creating complete application portfolios.  My services facilitated  successful applications to a range of selective universities last year, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, Berkeley, U.C.L.A., U.C.S.D, the University of Chicago, Northwestern and other elite schools. See the bottom of this page for  testimonials from recent years. My applicants were admitted to top programs at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, from the ORFE program at Princeton and the World Bachelor’s in Business at U.S.C., and for my graduate and professional applicants, to Boalt Law School at Berkeley and Stanford Law, and to U.C. San Francisco.

I also assisted international applications to universities from Europe to Asia, from The University of Leeds, in England, to  National University, Singapore.   I  work locally in the Bay Area and Northern California and remotely across North America and internationally.

You may contact me and send me a draft of your essay for a free editing sample and quote to:

wordguild@gmail.com

I do ask for some basic information along with the draft.  I can generally turn around an edit within 48 hours, but during peak season please allow a minimum of a week to ten days develop an essay before a deadline–this runs from mid August until January 1.

Recent Testimonials 

Dear Sean,

After a long and tedious journey of college applications, I want to thank you for your patient support.

With your help I was admitted to the following Universities:
University of Pennsylvania
Duke University
Georgetown University
Johns Hopkins University
University of Notre Dame
Vanderbilt University
New York University
University of Southern California
UC Berkeley
UC San Diego
UC Los Angeles
Santa Clara University
Pepperdine University

I was also accepted to, and will be attending, Columbia University in the fall!

Thank you for sharing in the process.

S.S.

Hi Sean,

 
It went well luckily. I got into Stanford! I was also wait-listed at Harvard and UPenn. Thanks again, for all the solid editing.
 
Best,
N.K.

Hi Sean,

I actually got in early decision to the Wharton school at Penn so I didn’t have the challenge of choosing a college 🙂
Naturally I am pretty pleased with the overall result and am thankful for all your help along the way.
Ajay

Hi Sean!

 
Thanks for checking in! I was going to inform you about this earlier but I was bogged down by my senior workload (I took 6 AP classes, not the smartest choice haha). I ended up making a few more small changes to the essay after the final edit and can send that if you want, but anyways, I used that for my college application. I did early decision to Duke and ended up getting accepted and I’m actually registering for classes right now! Thank you so much for your help on my essay, it changed so much from start to finish and I was finally able to be satisfied with it.
 
Best,
 
E.H.

 

Hello Sean,

Applications went quite well! After much consideration, and going on a couple college visits, I applied ED to Washington University in St. Louis and got accepted, so that’s where I’m going in the fall. When I applied I felt really good about it, mostly because you helped me make my essay much better! I’m definitely looking forward to going to college in the fall. Hope you have a wonderful summer!
Thanks,
G.

Hello–

We felt overwhelmed by the process until we started working with you.  Thanks so much for everything you did.  Joseph  did receive early acceptance to  Columbia and will be going there, but it was worth it to go through the application process for all of the schools on the list and the three tiers you used with us was very helpful in focusing the effort.

Sincerely,

Joanne

Hey Sean–

Without a doubt, the questions you asked and your editing totally changed Hema’s essays and she did get accepted to all of the schools on the final list.  We are glad it’s over but really thank you for what you did.

Thanks,

Alpa

Sean–

Thanks for checking back in with us.  Your expert guidance with essay ideas and editing played a big role in my daughter’s acceptance to many top colleges including  UCLA, MIT, Cornell, Princeton, etc. I especially appreciate your fast response, reliable service, reasonable pricing, your easy and secure payment method, not to mention your the free editing sample!  

 It was a lot of work to write college essays, but in the end, I think the effort was worth it  My daughter has not only improved her writing skills, but had to reflect deep into all aspects of her life –her  dreams and aspirations, strength, interests, beliefs….   Thanks a lot for providing many suggestions and probing questions to help her convey clear message and addressing the prompt.  I’ll definitely recommend your service to my friends.

 Thanks

Nguyen

–Hello Sean

Just wanted to thank you again for working with Jim.  He did get in to Princeton and all the UCs he applied for, and Harvey Mudd.  Your help on the essays was invaluable.  I just wish we had found you before he applied to M.I.T., which was the only place he was not accepted.

Thanks again for all your work.

Christy


Sean,

The results were great.  We were surprised when Claire chose Stanford over Harvard,  but as you said, the kid has to take the wheel at some point, and we think that  for the kind of work she wants to do  she is right to be near Silicon Valley.  Your help on the essays was transformative, and that article you talked over with Claire for her essay really seemed to help her decide which school to choose as well as with the essay. I will be recommending your services to our friends whose kids are applying this year.

Dave

Results

My clients outperform the statistical averages for admissions to elite schools by a factor of magnitude—in 2013-2014, of the twelve clients who listed Stanford as their top choice for the most recent application season, six were admitted. For a comparison, that year, 5.7% of overall applicants to Stanford were admitted.  So far this year, of the 8 clients for whom Stanford was the top priority, 3  reported acceptances.  While all of my clients admitted thus far brought excellent stats and solid extracurriculars to the table, I think the math speaks for itself, though I add that more students are turning away from Stanford as a first choice, even with its generous early admission policy, because of the low probability of admissions. Let me add some free advice as a public service:  for every super-selective elite school on your list, include one school for which you are at the average in GPA and ACT/SAT, and one additional school for which you are above the average (75th percentile or above).

My role

While you can actually do most of the college advising process by yourself, through hands-on research via college sites and data sites like College Navigator, supported by reading books on the process and plenty of phone hours, I can save you significant time, headaches and anxiety by assisting you at any stage in the process, from selecting schools to putting the final polish on your essays. And my essay editing, while assertive, retains the student’s voice but enhances the essay greatly–and those who work with me on a longer sequence of essays show clear improvement as writers over the process–one of the “growth” bonuses of the arduous and often seemingly thankless task of completing college applications.

If you are a junior or the parent of a junior, in addition to some final activities over the coming months,  the essays are a great, and last, chance to make an impact in the twelve to fifteen pages of material that a college applications officer will see.  The coming months are vital as you finish out the picture of yourself that you will start putting into a computer by the end of August.  Because your application result will, in the end, be determined by the self that shines through in those few pages or windows on a computer screen.  Getting the right picture in that space is vital.  And I can help you get it right.  For sophmore and freshman students, this is the time to get an overview of the whole process, which I can accomplish in a single meeting of 1.5-2 hours.

Satisfied Clients Testify:

Dear Sean,

After a long and tedious journey of college applications, I want to thank you for your patient support.

With your help I was admitted to the following Universities:
University of Pennsylvania
Duke University
Georgetown University
Johns Hopkins University
University of Notre Dame
Vanderbilt University
New York University
University of Southern California
UC Berkeley
UC San Diego
UC Los Angeles
Santa Clara University
Pepperdine University

I was also accepted to, and will be attending, Columbia University in the fall!

Thank you for sharing in the process.

S.S.

Hi Sean,

 
It went well luckily. I got into Stanford! I was also wait-listed at Harvard and UPenn. Thanks again, for all the solid editing.
 
Best,
N.K.

 

Hi Sean,

I actually got in early decision to the Wharton school at Penn so I didn’t have the challenge of choosing a college 🙂
Naturally I am pretty pleased with the overall result and am thankful for all your help along the way.
Ajay

 

Hi Sean!

 
Thanks for checking in! I was going to inform you about this earlier but I was bogged down by my senior workload (I took 6 AP classes, not the smartest choice haha). I ended up making a few more small changes to the essay after the final edit and can send that if you want, but anyways, I used that for my college application. I did early decision to Duke and ended up getting accepted and I’m actually registering for classes right now! Thank you so much for your help on my essay, it changed so much from start to finish and I was finally able to be satisfied with it.
 
Best,
 
E.H.

 

Hello Sean,

Applications went quite well! After much consideration, and going on a couple college visits, I applied ED to Washington University in St. Louis and got accepted, so that’s where I’m going in the fall. When I applied I felt really good about it, mostly because you helped me make my essay much better! I’m definitely looking forward to going to college in the fall. Hope you have a wonderful summer!

Thanks,

G.

Hello–

We felt overwhelmed by the process until we started working with you.  Thanks so much for everything you did.  Joseph  did receive early acceptance to  Columbia and will be going there, but it was worth it to go through the application process for all of the schools on the list and the three tiers you used with us was very helpful in focusing the effort.

Sincerely,

Joanne

Hey Sean–

Without a doubt, the questions you asked and your editing totally changed Hema’s essays and she did get accepted to all of the schools on the final list.  We are glad it’s over but really thank you for what you did.

Thanks,

Alpa

Sean–

Thanks for checking back in with us.  Your expert guidance with essay ideas and editing played a big role in my daughter’s acceptance to many top colleges including  UCLA, MIT, Cornell, Princeton, etc. I especially appreciate your fast response, reliable service, reasonable pricing, your easy and secure payment method, not to mention your the free editing sample!  

 It was a lot of work to write college essays, but in the end, I think the effort was worth it  My daughter has not only improved her writing skills, but had to reflect deep into all aspects of her life –her  dreams and aspirations, strength, interests, beliefs….   Thanks a lot for providing many suggestions and probing questions to help her convey clear message and addressing the prompt.  I’ll definitely recommend your service to my friends.

 Thanks

Nguyen

–Hello Sean

Just wanted to thank you again for working with Jim.  He did get in to Princeton and all the UCs he applied for, and Harvey Mudd.  Your help on the essays was invaluable.  I just wish we had found you before he applied to M.I.T., which was the only place he was not accepted.

Thanks again for all your work.

Christy


Sean,

The results were great.  We were surprised when Claire chose Stanford over Harvard,  but as you said, the kid has to take the wheel at some point, and we think that  for the kind of work she wants to do  she is right to be near Silicon Valley.  Your help on the essays was transformative, and that article you talked over with Claire for her essay really seemed to help her decide which school to choose as well as with the essay. I will be recommending your services to our friends whose kids are applying this year.

Dave

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