Essay Intensive helps students write college admissions essays that matter. We are all about you getting the most out of the process, and producing compelling stories with punch, no BS, tight grammar, and a sane--even happy--attitude.
As lead personal essay writing coach and editor at Essay Intensive, Sara Nolan holds space for the development of her students' personal excellence with her own honesty, vibrancy, receptivity and rigor.
Essay Intensive also teaches customized personal essay writing courses to students in 6th-12 grades; we partner with organizations across NYC, nationally and internationally. As practicing writers, we believe telling our stories well can change us, and often changes our lives.
Why Focus on College Essays (Is Amazing)?
I founded Essay Intensive because at this transformative moment, students can get something more.
We want to give you the chance to see your college admissions essay as truly the essay of your life! Working on the essay is a vehicle for developing greater self-awareness, articulateness and confidence — enduring qualities that don’t get ditched when the application gets submitted.
We're ready for you!
We focus exclusively on essays, and on effective, genuine self-expression
Families and students make a big investment in test preparation, with the college admissions essay often treated as second-tier concern.
But a compelling college essay yields personal insight, self-growth, and greater authenticity. (And, of course, your essay can be the tipping point to get you into your school!). That’s priceless stuff.
Love priceless stuff? Good, let’s get started together.
Distinctive to our approach is our concern for and practice of life skills that manage the inherent stress of the application process.
Our underlying goal is that you – our students – come out of the application writing process more aligned with your deepest values, with more resources for inspiration and self-care. That is, as a more vitalized, eloquent You, rather than a more depleted one.
We are proud of how eclectic our students’ essays are – as fresh and individual as each of them.
Families often find the positive impact is contagious
One-on-one or in a group?
Essay Intensive offers one-on-one and group sessions. Personalized attention can make all the difference, but working in community amplifies the benefits.
Why Incorporate Physical Practices in Group Intensives?
Writing prompts, craft tools and conversation might not be all you need to coax out your best essay. In our intensives, we have chosen to use yoga, self-defense, conditioning and play to open and stimulate new channels of tactical thinking and responsiveness.
All of our students are offered ways to go inward, and experience themselves differently and dynamically. But sometimes push-ups help you push an essay out.
Our intensive teaching teams consists of expert athletes and practitioners, and we coach our students into the total focus and presence required to meet physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges.
Many of the same qualities that make up a strong person make up strong, compelling prose.
We offer these practices one-on-one, too. Because no one ever complained that they had too much fun completing their college application, did they?
That’s what we want for you, though: to produce an amazing essay, and challenge the conventional assumptions about how that happens.
Ready to be a trailblazer?
Let us know that you're ready for an energizing, freeing experience.
Draft, Craft And ...Insight!
I believe it is your (human!) right to be in a state and a body where insight can come, because insight isn’t (just) a happy accident. I’ve spent years studying what impedes and what invites insights. Along with actually writing (drafts) and gaining writer’s strategies (craft), here are some keys to prepping for insight.
These five keys shape our sessions:
- One: you are being genuinely listened to and genuinely heard.
- Two: you are asked many questions, and you ask yourself many question, and you answer relentlessly on the page.
- Three: you believe you matter, and what you say matters.
- Four: you remain open to the possibility that you don’t already know the perfect way to tell your story.
- Five: you trust that if you BOTH relax and work it, you’ll get there.
Work With Essay Intensive to Write The Essay of Your Life!
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To write the essay of your life!
Writers, Thinkers, Aspirers:
Thank you for showing up. The essay of your life is just around the corner.
Are you tired of tired? Ready for a college essay writing process that’s energizing and freeing?
We hear you and we see you, and now you get to do that for yourself.
You’re a busy student and college applicant (and so many other things). Your plate is already full, so why come write, sweat, and connect with us? Why make an even bigger deal out of your college essay?
- Is crafting a unique personal statement really worth hours and hours of your time?
- Is communicating effectively who you are worth the schedule sacrifices?
Yes. Because you leave us with something more than what you thought you’d get:
confidence, creativity, craft and consciousness (but no corny alliteration, OK?).
And that stays YOURS forever, long after you submit (and even forget about) your college application.
Get started working with us on the spot!
For the rest of your life, like it or not, you’re going to have to represent yourself through words.
At Essay Intensive, you will get great at this. You’ll write high-caliber personal admissions essays that not only describe who you are to colleges but reveal your greater mind and heart to yourself.
As you write your college essay, we’ll ask you step up – to the page, the plate, and your audience – as a truth-speaker.
You’ll make powerful statements about what it is like to be you. In this world. With your particular body, experience and dreams.
Wouldn’t it be cool to connect with more depth and meaning, in a more real way, to your own specific story and full self?
Wouldn’t it be cool in this application process, which can be so isolating, to feel more connected to others–readers you may never meet, and peers you already have?
Yes, that is how we see the purpose of the college essay.
I want that sense of purpose!
Your writing content and character will communicate your essence to your college of choice.
At this transformative time, we work with your natural abilities, acuity of feeling, and finely-tuned BS detectors to make any writing assignment or interaction something you will value.
We live the methods of inquiry and development we teach.
We share ways to quiet your stress so you can hear what else is going on, inside and out.
We share ways to play and exercise that are guaranteed to clarify and energize your thinking.
Writing with courageous physicality is our chance to be up in life’s face and ask the real questions. And write the real answers.
We invite you to bring it fully, because that’s what we’re going to do –
Is your BS detector on?
With heart and muscle,
Sara & The Essay Intensive Team
Thank you for busting your tail so your students can achieve their intellectual and personal dreams.
I created Essay Intensive as a vitalizing program to help juniors and seniors in high school write their college admissions essays.
With the essay as a looming, often stressful and perplexing necessity in their college applications, we hoped it could mean something different and better to students.
Didn’t students deserve to get even more and lasting benefit out of the reflection and writing process? Could their educators facilitate that?
Yes, and yes, and here’s what they say about it.
My team has been in education for many moons, and amassed major nerd and wellness creds along the way. Additionally, from personal and professional experience, we know the independent, private and public school cultures intimately.
I hope our approach can help your community serve each student to achieve college admissions…
…AND ALSO: to achieve greater creativity, confidence, consciousness and craft.
(We could not be convinced to drop the corny alliteration despite counsel from our teens writers).
While there is ample support available to students for test preparation, there are very few services available that focus exclusively on the essay—an essential and potentially revelatory aspect of the application.
Too often, the test prep process is removed from the student as a person, focusing solely on a score rather than on the student’s learning or development. This causes great anxiety. We are grateful for the emergence of test prep companies that choose a genuinely student-centered approach.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
Essay Intensive helps students write not only stellar personal essays, but essays they’re proud of. They talk about their application essays years later. They return to us for other kinds of writing help. This is the best evidence we need of success.
We bring students back to the true purpose of education—to discover and grow as self-aware people engaged in the learning process.
To facilitate this and reinforce this, we teach our students resilience of body and mind through specific practices drawn from yoga, self-defense and sports training. Our track record of acceptances and student and parent satisfaction shows that this stuff really works…and sticks.
We work one on one with students, but we also encourage them to experience a college essay intensive.
Our group intensive programs will take some of the pressure off school administrators, teachers and families who help students through this process. Multiple members from a single community can enroll together in a session, or book a customized intensive on available days.
We encourage any interested educators to attend as well: you’ll experience a different approach to guiding the college admissions essay. Students complete the bulk of their essay-writing in one exciting week, opening their minds, exploring their stories, and tightening their syntax. Workshops are capped at 10 students to ensure close attention.
Our students emerge with tools to help them navigate the stress of the application process and of the ensuing transition from the home to college, from adolescence to adulthood.
I hope your student will find Essay Intensive a valuable, enriching and fun addition to his or her current resources for this key component of the college applications.
PS. We post prompts on Facebook frequently to help writers produce strong meaningful content. Check us out.
Ready to Write?
Come write with us!
If you are being genuine you will automatically stand out because there is only one of you in the pool. We are looking for what makes you special and if you write an authentic and thoughtful essay about yourself, we will uncover just that.
-- Brown University, Prospects & Providence