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The Undergrad Essay Process

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Common App Essay


At YBCE, I offer a highly personalized, one-on-one college and graduate school admissions essay experience. My goal is to assist and support applicants in creating memorable and persuasive essays which can dramatically increase their chances of being accepted to the elite schools to which they are applying. What follows is a way to keep the process fun, productive, and running smoothly.

We start on the phone with a one-hour consultation – a conversation, really, about who the applicant is, their background, academic and personal hopes and dreams, career interests, quirks, peculiarities, eccentricities, and what’s inside their heart. This is my favorite part of the process – where I crawl into their heads and help them identify what about them is unique and extraordinary, then help them convey this through their admissions essays. It is through this conversation and subsequent ones where I hear the kernel of what will make for a compelling personal statement. From there, the essay comes into focus. Next, an outline is generated to write a first draft. Before the end of the call, we schedule the next consultation to discuss the first draft. If we do not find the applicant’s story on the first call, we just keep having calls until we do. After the applicant sends me their first draft, we discuss what works, what doesn’t, and what can be done to broaden and deepen their story. I return the draft with the notes we discussed. At that time, we schedule the next call. The applicant sends to me their second draft which we discuss. There is no limit to number of drafts or consultations. But I am mindful that too many calls and too many drafts can be counterproductive. When the essay is ready, it can enter the editing process. The process is the same for each of the individual school supplement essays. What I bring to these essays is an understanding of the school, what admissions officers are looking for, and a successful history of working with applicants who were accepted there. I expect the applicant to have researched the school, their potential major, happenings in and around campus, and why specifically they are applying. The consulting and editing for these essays mirror that of the personal statement.


All subsequent consultations are scheduled at the end of every phone call. Changes or rescheduling consultations are done via email. No texting please! Phone consultations should be conducted in a quiet place. Please don’t call while in a car with friends, at a Starbucks, in the stands of the US Open Tennis Championships, or at the beach. Drafts must be received by midnight the night before a consultation. If a draft is not received by that time, the consultation will be rescheduled. Because applicants occasionally need immediate guidance outside of a scheduled appointment, I block time daily for these calls. With an email request, I can usually schedule them that day or the next. While I make every attempt to find all grammatical and typographical errors, it is the responsibility of applicant to proofread their own essays.


Google Docs or MS Word.


A supportive and involved parent is always helpful. Please limit communication with me to email only. Please do not call or text. I hope parents will allow myself and the applicant the independence this process requires to build rapport. Parents should not be on calls when I am working with an applicant. I ask parents to not edit essays or to offer advice or opinions on drafts. While a second opinion can be helpful in many fields, it is not helpful in the creation of admissions essays. I do not negotiate creative content with parents, college advisors, or outside influences. Please trust that my experience and judgement have led to years of consistent admissions success. If an applicant misses a consultation, I alert the parent. If an applicant misses three consultations, I reserve the right to terminate the agreement and all fees are forfeited. If an applicant is 15+ minutes late for a call, the consultation will be rescheduled. Activities lists are an additional fee. Honors, scholarship, and dual degree essays are counted differently.


Having worked with more than more than 800 college and graduate school applicants on 4,000+ essays, I understand the idiosyncratic nature of the college and graduate school admissions process. I never promise that an applicant will gain admittance to the schools to which they are applying. If I have an opinion about whether an applicant will be competitive for admission to a certain school, I consider it my duty to discuss this with parent and applicant. Students and parents are responsible for the admissions portal. Essay completion is based on official submission deadlines, not arbitrary dates dictated by college advisors and guidance counselors. I never write essays for applicants as that is unethical.


All ED/REA/EA essays with a November 1st submission deadline must be received by me for final review by October 26, 2023,11:59 PM EST.
The YBCE offices close on December 15, 2023

Contact Robert for more info.



of our students were accepted to their first-choice school!

Amy R.
Class of 2027

Abhi R.
Class of 2027

Lily S.
Class of 2027

Thomas F.
Class of 2027

Cynthia D.
University of Chicago
Class of 2027

Zachary M.
Class of 2027

Anne T.
Class of 2027

Ayan D.
Class of 2027

Laura B.
Class of 2027

Ray T.
University of Pennsylvania
Class of 2027

Lea D.
Class of 2027

Erika W.
Class of 2025

Claudia C.
Columbia University
Class of 2024

Sarah L.
Class of 2025

Alexa A.
Class of 2027

Gina B.
Rice University
Class of 2024

Luke A.
Class of 2025

Alan P.
UT Plan II Honors
Class of 2025

Alexa A.
Class of 2025

Ben S.
Class of 2027

Contact Robert now!
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“Your service exceeded our expectations by miles! We believe that your help with our daughter’s essays got her accepted at MIT.”

—Annette T, New York, New York