Jill Shulman


BIO

  • Over twenty years of experience in writing, teaching and college admissions.
  • Has taught personal essay writing, creative writing and expository writing at New York University, The New School for Social Research, City University of New York and Gotham Writers Workshop.
  • Evaluates thousands of college applications as an adjunct Admissions Dean and has participated on the Admissions Committee at elite liberal arts colleges.
  • Has run programs for both high achieving and at-risk high school students in New York City, the Midwest and Massachusetts.
  • Published personal essays have appeared recently in national publications, including The New York Times, Family Circle, The New York Times Blog, Full Grown People, Family Fun, Errant Parent, Parents, Parents.com, Good Housekeeping, and O the Oprah Magazine.
  • A graduate of Williams College, B.A., and New York University, M.A..

SERVICES

  • Coaching is available for all written components of the college application, including the common application personal essay, supplemental essays and resume of honors and activities. I am happy to work with applicants on any or all aspects of the application writing process.
  • I demystify the application process from the point of view of a College Admission professional to alleviate anxiety about who reads these applications and what they look for.
  • As a seasoned writing teacher, I offer personalized writing instruction throughout the process.
  • Students benefit from the guidance of a professional writer. I write and edit my own personal essays until they are ready for national publication. I'll guide you through your writing experience with the empathy and insights of a veteran writer.
  • For many students, hiring a writing coach is a luxury. Therefore, I coach two students per season free of charge based on financial need.
  • Contact Jill Shulman to discuss rates based on your needs at jill@otherwords.us.

THE PROCESS

  1. Generating ideas. The mythical "writer's block" is really nothing more than going about the writing process in the wrong order. The editor within you shouldn't emerge until after you have poured your essence onto the page. I will help elicit a flow of ideas, sift through them and guide you toward your most promising topics.
  2. The blurt draft. The personal essay is far more fun and creative than the labored high school papers conscientious students may be accustomed to writing. The best, most inspired writing emerges when your "inner editor" is fast asleep. This draft will evoke the kind of passion and spirit that will stand out among the hundreds of essays an Admissions Officer will read.
  3. Editing. It's time to awaken your "inner editor." I'll guide you through restructuring, cutting anything extraneous and adding clarification, detail and reflection. You will mold your blurt draft into a narrative that will grab your audience's attention, paint a captivating picture of you at your best and then conclude with a provocative punch.
  4. Proofreading and polishing. The final draft is dedicated to sentence level revisions, sharpening and perfecting your prose. Line by line, word by word, we will comb through, sculpt and smooth your essay until it is mistake-free, polished and reflects your unique personality and attributes.

FAQ

What qualifies you to guide me through my college application essay writing?

After reading and evaluating thousands of applications for admission to elite colleges, I can quickly spot over-used topics, what can be a turn-off to an admission reader and what shines in an essay. As a personal essay writer, who has taught writing for two and a half decades, I have elicited sharp, publishable, eye-catching prose from a wide variety of writers.

How long will this take?

If we're starting from scratch, four weeks is a reasonable amount of time to choose a fresh, powerful topic, write four or more drafts and produce a compelling essay you'll feel fantastic about submitting. We can assess this better when we talk.

When is it best to get started with my essays?
The summer before senior year is the optimum time to complete your personal essay and write a resume of honors and activities ready to upload into the common application. While brainstorming essay topics, we almost always unearth topics that can be used for supplemental essays to write any time from summer through fall of senior year. My rates do increase if you wait until the last minute.

How will we work together long distance?

Since we are dealing with the written word, all of our work can usually be achieved through email and telephone. When further communication is helpful, I am available through Skype, or in person if you live nearby in Massachusetts.

Will I get anything out of this other than a college admission essay?

The personalized work will be transferable to all modes of writing, including the college papers you will be required to write once you are accepted! Additionally, as a former college writing instructor, I seize opportunities to provide you with writing strategies and tips you can use for the rest of senior year, in college and beyond.

Is getting help with my college essay from a professional writer ethical?

I will not write your essay for you. The essay you produce will be from your own original ideas, written in your own words, in your own distinctive voice. I'll apply my expertise to make this process as inspired, clear, stress-free and enjoyable as possible. Everyone has a unique story and the intellect to tell it. You don't need me or anyone else to articulate it for you. I’ll help you recognize your personal story and give it shape.

Can you promise me I'll be accepted to the college of my choice?

Of course not. The Admissions Committee will consider all aspects of your application when making a decision. However, your essays are your big opportunity to infuse personality into your college application. I can promise to be thoughtful, thorough and candid with feedback about your work so that your essays reflect you at your finest. The resulting essays will transform you from a two-dimensional applicant into an impressive, engaging, three-dimensional person.

2013-2016 ACCEPTANCES

* American University, Washington, D.C.
* Amherst College, Massachusetts
Babson College, Massachusetts
Bard College, New York
Bates College, Maine
Beloit College, Wisconsin
* Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts
* Boston College, Massachusetts
* Bowdoin College, Maine
* Brandeis University, Massachusetts
Brown University, Rhode Island
* Carleton College, Minnesota
* Clark University, Massachusetts
* Clemson University, South Carolina
* Coastal Carolina University, South Carolina
* Colby College, Maine
* Colby-Sawyer College, New Hampshire
* Colgate University, New York
* College of Charleston, South Carolina
* College of William and Mary, Honors, Virginia
College of William and Mary, Virginia
College of Wooster, Ohio
Colorado College
* Columbia University, New York
Connecticut College
* Cornell University, New York
* Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
* Dickinson College, Pennsylvania
* Drexel University, Pennsylvania
Elon University, North Carolina
Emanuel College, Massachusetts
* Emory University, Georgia
* Florida Institute of Technology
Florida State University
* Fordham University, New York
* Franklin Pierce University, New Hampshire
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
* George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania
Goucher College, Maryland
* Grinell College, Iowa
* Hamilton College, New York
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Haverford College, New York
Ithaca College, New York
* Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
* Johnson and Wales University, Rhode Island
Kenyon College, Ohio
* Lafayette College, Pennsylvania
* Lehigh University, Pennsylvania
Loyola University, Illinois
* Loyola University, Music & Fine Arts, Louisiana
Macalester College, Minnesota
* Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
McGill University, Canada
* McMaster University, Canada
* Miami of Ohio
* Middlebury College, Vermont
* Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts
* New York University
* Northeastern University, Massachusetts
Oberlin College, Ohio
* Pennsylvania State University
Pitzer College, California
* Princeton University, New Jersey
Queens University, Canada
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, CT
Rice University, Texas
Rochester Institute of Technology, NY
* Saint Anselm College, New Hampshire
* Saint Edward’s University, Texas
* Saint Joseph’s University, Pennsylvania
* Saint Lawrence University, New York
* Saint Michael’s College, Vermont
Saint Olaf College, Minnesota
* Salve Regina University, Rhode Island
* Samford University, Alabama
Santa Clara University, California
Simmons College, Massachusetts
Skidmore College, New York
State University of New York, Albany
State University of New York, Binghamton
State University of New York, Purchase
Stonehill College, Massachusetts
* SUNY Binghamton
Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania
* Syracuse University, New York
Temple University, Pennsylvania
Trinity College, Connecticut
* Tufts University, Massachusetts
* Tulane University, Louisiana
University of British Colombia
University of California, Berkeley
* University of California, San Diego
* University of California, Santa Barbara
* University of Colorado Boulder
* University of Connecticut, Honors
University of Denver, Colorado
University of Florida
* University of Massachusetts, Engineering
* University of Massachusetts, Honors
* University of Massachusetts, Liberal Arts
* University of Michigan
* University of New Hampshire
University of New Orleans, Louisiana
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Pennsylvania
* University of Richmond, Virginia
University of Rochester, New York
* University of South Carolina
University of Texas
University of Vermont
* University of Virginia
Utica College, New York
* Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
Vassar College, New York
* Villanova University, Pennsylvania
* Wake Forest University, North Carolina
Washington College, Maryland
* Washington University, Missouri
Wesleyan University, Connecticut
* Wheaton College, Massachusetts
* William and Mary, Virginia
* Williams College, Massachusetts
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA
* Yale University, Connecticut

* Acceptances for fall of 2016

Contact

Contact Jill Shulman at 646.645.5501 or at jill@otherwords.us.

Contact Jill Shulman for a free consultation

Phone:. 646.645.5501

Send

Before working with Jill, I couldn’t imagine essay writing in any capacity being fun. However, Jill does a magical job of transforming a normally painful experience into an entertaining one. She not only made my college applications ten times better, but she made me a better writer overall. Her admissions experience provided an insider’s glimpse of an admissions officer’s thought process and mentality that put my mind at ease throughout the entire process. She has been a Godsend, and I honestly would have gotten into a lot more fights with my mom without her! (I know my mom is eternally grateful as well.)

Matthew, College of William and Mary


I love my son’s Common Application essay. It really captures him in a unique way. Thank you for making this process so much fun for him. You are a treasure!

Teri, Matthew's mom

 

My son is an excellent student with plenty to say, yet he’s a procrastinator who thinks he can't write. Jill helped him define topics that made him stand out, and somehow got him to put his thoughts to paper. After the first draft, she offered such useful writing tips that he continued to implement her advice for other projects. I’m a professional writer myself – we hired Jill for her college-content expertise, yet even I was wowed by the final result.

Rona, sons at Cornell University

 

You helped me do the soul-searching I needed to not only write a killer essay, but also to figure out my own values and what I want to get out of college. The process was so much more enjoyable because I got to share it with you. It will be so exciting for me to read a piece of writing that reflects so much about my 18-year-old self a few years down the line. You have been such an influential and sympathetic motivator throughout the whole college process. With your help, I was able to get into nearly all of the schools I applied to. I cannot thank you enough for being so warm and patient with me.

Emma, Colorado College

 

My daughter is going to Yale! We cannot thank you enough. The Asst. Director of Admission hand wrote this on her letter, “I thoroughly enjoyed your essay about learning to gracefully accept help from others and offer a hand when needed. You will be an amazing teammate and community contributor.” One thing I learned was that the essay truly must come from the heart of the student!

Michelle, daughter Yale University

 

Working with you really helped me on my journey to accepting and believing in myself. Although a constant journey, you taught me to go for things that I could not see as realistic as a possible first generation college student. The college process was a very unique and complicated time for my development as a person and I am glad I had you there to help me find my way past all of the superficiality and negativity that all applicants encounter every year. Thank you.

Josiah, Tufts University

 

Jill made the essay writing process meaningful, less stressful, and fun. She asked me all the right questions, and I came out of our conversations with original and authentic ideas for my essay. Her great attitude kept me from getting overwhelmed, and her thoughtful input was invaluable for me. I'm so grateful I was able to work with her.

Bethany, Washington University


Jill has made the application process an easy and inspiring experience for both my children and for us, the parents. She has a real talent for teasing out subjects for the college essay and prompting kids to really put themselves into their essays. Our two children have gotten into their top choices in no small part due to Jill's expertise in the writing process. I can't recommend her enough!

Meg, Bethany's mom, son University of Massachusetts

 

My twins’ experience with you was so much more than writing a college essay. I truly believe they grew and evolved through the process and subsequently through the entire college application process. Self-awareness (and acceptance) in my view is one of the most important traits one needs for both personal and professional success.  You took them to that place and encouraged them with great patience and skill.

Michelle, daughter Tufts University, son Loyola University New Orleans, College of Music and Fine Arts

 

I don't think my daughter would be going to her dream school without your help. You are a wonderful, patient teacher and were invaluable to her. Your knowledge of the admission process, as well as your skill as a writer and mentor, made the essay process understandable in a way that I hadn't thought was possible.

Catie, daughter at Mount Holyoke College

 

In brainstorming ideas for my Common App Essay, I was stuck.  I had no idea what I wanted to write about and felt as if I had nothing to write about.  But even after one session with Jill, I felt confident in my options and incredibly relieved--she helped me write a compelling, thoughtful, and well-planned essay. Thank you so much, Jill, for all that you did for me! I am so grateful.

Emma, Bowdoin College

 

It's an invaluable experience to have Jill's help. She offers the best perspective possible as an admission officer and writer, the best professional I have ever encountered: very competent, efficient, firm but kind, honest and sincere. What my daughter learned from Jill will be beneficial throughout her life.

George, daughter at Rice University

 

It was amazing to have the perspective of someone who is both a great writer and who has read a bunch of these essays. Her insightful, clear, incredibly helpful suggestions were a lot easier for my son to hear than anything coming from Mom.

Kelly, sons at Williams College and Babson College

 

I'm in the car on my way to Vanderbilt!!! I just wanted to thank you again for all your help with my application. You really helped me pull together my essays. I don't know how I would have found those mistakes or gotten such amazing advice without you. Thanks for everything,

Simon, Vanderbilt University

 

I’m really a math/science guy, but somehow, Jill actually made writing my college essays fun. My college applications included the best essays I’ve ever written.

Matt, Rochester Institute of Technology

 

THANK YOU! Your help brought me from a place of confusion and frustration to one of gratification and confidence. You are great at what you do!

Myles, Vassar College

 

I've decided to attend Swarthmore next year! It was a hard decision, but I think Swarthmore was the best fit. Thanks so much again for all your help, and you made the whole process much less stressful.

Dan, Swarthmore College


Thanks so much for helping my son get through the process of applying to college. Your assistance with the essays was exactly the right mix of critical distance and support.

Sean, Dan's mom