writer | college essay coach


I help people write well…

… by revealing their authentic voices and important stories. My methods are based on current pedagogy and the experience of teaching writers of all levels and ages for over thirty years.

I help teenagers write outstanding personal essays to support acceptance into their chosen colleges. My school and library workshops are interactive, lively, creative, and they get results. My experience with teaching and coaching allows me to provide critical feedback without drama.

I help parents and school counsellors who have been told to “back off” by a teenager when help is offered. The personal essay required for college applications is a formidable obstacle for many. Interaction with a knowledgeable, funny, gentle, positive, writing coach is key. The list of my clients who have been accepted at their chosen colleges is long and impressive. More importantly, the writer has found their strongest voice.

I help writers find their stories, discover their histories, shape, and perfect their prose. As a published author who has experienced great success and crushing defeat, and as a devoted teacher, I relate well to even the most blocked and struggling writers.

My book Pitch Perfect, How to Write a Successful College Admission Essay contains valuable guidance for writers of all ages.

I just finished reading Pitch Perfect: How to Write a Successful College Admission Essay. It is a terrific book to teach students how to put together an essay that will impress college admissions officials. I wish it would have been available when I was still teaching high school English. During my final several years teaching AP English, I always allowed a couple weeks in the fall to help students write a college admission essay. I liked the assignment because it helped me learn a lot about my students early in the year, it helped students who were required to submit an essay, and it was very popular with parents. Molly Moynahan's book would have been extremely helpful.

Pitch Perfect: How to Write a Successful College Admission Essay is practical, concise, and fun. It covers everything from the incubation of a topic to the final proofreading and editing. It is certainly user-friendly for students and teachers. I highly recommend this book for students, parents, and teachers! ~Jerry Mcginley


Molly Moynahan is an accomplished writer, having published novels, plays, newspaper columns and her own blog. As a teacher and writer myself, I understand how difficult it can be to help others find the voice in their writing that makes their work uniquely theirs. In Moynahan's book, she offers numerous activities in that spirit--to help young writers find their voices, their topics, their stories.

The book is a how-to guide with plenty of questions and open-ended spaces that are designed to get students looking inward at themselves before beginning the writing of their college essays. The book addresses all parts of the writing process, but for me, the emphasis on students knowing themselves was the strongest piece. Moynahan includes topics, suggestions, and a world of quotations from other writers to motivate kids to write. She offers insight about writing about memories, advice for non-standard prompts, and suggestions for remembering the audience.

What the book does not contain are actual student essays, and I think that's good. Too often, guides to essay-writing are simply collections of other people's essays. Here, Moynahan chooses to keep it simple instead, focusing on the teenaged writer.

For the student who really has trouble getting started, this activity book offers great tips. Moynahan's reputation as an effective writing coach is based on her success with these tips across the nation. ~John Carpenter

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