Susan Wolf coaches college and graduate school applicants through the process of writing unforgettable, killer essays.
Susan allows you to see her process so that you learn the right way to edit your own work. This is an invaluable skill that will help you succeed throughout your academic and professional life.
You don’t have to write a flawless Pulitzer Prize-Winning Essay but you do need to reveal something about yourself that an admissions officer won’t find in impersonal numbers and scores on your transcript.
Think of the personal essay as a chance to step back for a moment, look within yourself, and then share your take on something that has touched you emotionally, outraged you morally or struck you as unexpectedly funny.
One unforgettable essay came from a student who claimed he had nothing to write about. When asked why, he replied that he lived in Los Angeles and didn’t have a car. This non-topic became the basis of a witty tirade about the car culture in Los Angeles compared to New York, his former home, where everybody walked or could take the subway. This student never considered one of his greatest peeves a suitable essay topic until he wrote about it during a brainstorming session. Not only did this student get into his first choice college, but he was asked by the admissions committee to use his essay as an example of one that was both entertaining and socially-conscious.
Susan's ability to identify and draw out your unique voice, plus her relaxed, unconventional method, will make the application experience a validation of who you are, rather than a stressful hurdle.
In addition to coaching college and graduate school applicants, Susan offers writing and editing services to professionals, corporations, screenwriters and authors.
Susan received her B.A. in English Literature from UC Berkeley, followed by an MFA in Theater Arts: Writing/Directing from UCLA. She has worked as a writer/director in film, television and theater. Susan is also a published author.
Her ear for a good story led to Susan's recruitment in 1992 by the charitable organization, "One Voice," to coach inner-city students on their personal essays for college applications.
Word of Susan’s ability to teach the art of the personal essay has gradually spread from Los Angeles to New York City and abroad.
Susan works with students in person or via phone and internet (Skype & Google Docs). Click here to learn more...
Contact Susan Now and get started on your road to application success!
What Students Say About Susan...
"Susan went above and beyond to help me in my college application. She was supportive the entire way through and gave me writing advice that not only helped my essay, but also myself as a writer. Every word and sentence we worked on had new poignant meaning behind it in ways I had not thought of before. I highly recommend you hire Susan if you want to make a personal and meaningful college application."
"All the schools that I applied to placed great import on the essay submissions of the applicants, and because of this I believe that Susan Wolf was essential to my success in the admissions process. It was great to have her look over my essays because her insistence that I write essays constructed specifically for the admissions staff helped me stay focused, and fully transfer my experiences into an essay format that would help ensure success. She put an amazing amount of effort into helping me, whether it was calling me up constantly to keep me on track, helping me edit in real time on Google Docs, or taking time out of her vacation to meet with me. She is great! " ~ Brian Joseff, Dartmouth Class of 2014
So you want to go to college… #
Let Brave Writer help you whip your application essay into shape with a class designed to walk you painlessly, perhaps even pleasurably, through the process. Using tried and true Brave Writer techniques, such as list-making, freewriting, and the topic funnel, and leaving time for revision and editing, this class will be your structure and support—from soup to nuts.
Common Application (Common App)
Ideal for high school students working on applications, The Common App Essay will center on the Common Application essay prompts (which can be reviewed here: Common App Essay Prompts and Guidelines).
Other Application Essay Prompts
Students applying to colleges that use their own applications are welcome to bring another essay prompt into class and work with it instead. Each student will complete one essay during the class, learning from and inspiring the others. We look forward to guiding you to the moment you can tick one more item off your college to-do list!
Week 1: Topic Selection and Refinement.
In Week 1, we will discuss what makes a good topic and a compelling application essay, what admissions staff are seeking to learn about you, and what guidelines will lead you toward a topic that’s the right fit for you and your desired college(s). Then, using word lists and the topic funnel, you will generate and refine possible essay topics with the goal of finding a subject that will make the writing process a welcome opportunity to reflect on your unique experiences and gifts.
Week 2: Freewriting.
In Week 2, repeated freewriting will get material down on paper and lead you closer to the core of your statement.
Week 3: Revision.
In Week 3, we’ll re-envision and go deeper, unearthing as many memories and experiences related to the subject as we can—staying connected to sensory exploration and detail to create vivid writing. Keeping length in mind, we’ll identify the strongest threads of your piece and craft a structure that serves you and your subject. If you’ve taken classes with Brave Writer before, you have hiked this trail before. If you’re new to this, you’ll appreciate learning an approach to essay writing that you’ll return to again and again during your college years and beyond.
Week 4: Polish/Send.
In Week 4, we’ll don our editors’ hats and take a final look at structure, diction, grammar, punctuation, and last but not least—word count. You will upload your essay to your online application and celebrate reaching another milestone!
For more information about how the classes are run, please read about online classes.
Class Structure Description #
Brave Writer online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from four to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.
Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment. We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing.
Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.
Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.
Brave Writer takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialog is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer values here.
What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.
Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.
Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll agree!