Application Essays

Working on a medical school personal statement or secondaries? An admissions essay for law or business school? A statement of purpose for graduate work in anything from solar chemistry to solar imagery in Finnegan’s Wake? A cover letter for an internship or post-graduation position?

Admissions essays, like most career-related communication, can be overwhelming for many of us.

We are asked to craft a thoughtful portrait of our character and abilities in a mere page or two. (Not an easy thing to do!)

You might be wondering how to even begin it. Which of your skills and character traits to talk about. Which achievements and challenges would best illustrate these qualities. What tone of voice would be best to speak in. How to create an ending that feels compelling and authentic.

In my years of working with pre-medical students and other graduate school applicants, I’ve found that drafting is the key to developing an essay that outshines the others.

I’ve also seen how the best written work happens by beginning the drafting process long in advance. That way you have time to put the pages aside and come back to them with fresh eyes. This is where I can help!

As an editor, I offer fresh eyes, and not just any fresh eyes, but ones trained to see loose logic and weak language. I’m skilled in finding ways of developing your key points and then vividly articulating them to make a memorable essay.

I’m not just any editor, either: I offer the expertise of working as a career consultant and writing tutor at a top school. I’m skilled in helping people arrive at strong final admissions essays (and cover letters!) that demonstrate an applicant’s unique mix of skills and experience.

I read for missed opportunities and wrong directions. I ask questions (with your audience in mind) that will develop your narrative and argument. I suggest revisions that will transform a weak or average essay into a distinctive and powerful one able to win that crucial, warm interest of your admissions committees.

I will gladly work via Skype as well as email to help you draft your way to an essay that will set you apart!

What clients have said about my work:

“Gillian’s help on my medical school personal statement and secondaries was tremendous. Not only did she give a detailed look on the language level, but also offered many great ideas on the content level: how to connect different stories, how to make effective transitions, etc. Thanks to her help, I was able to secure interviews from top medical schools.”— Cedric Xia, Washington University, St. Louis, pre-med

“I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for helping me with my personal statement back in January. Your insight was incredible; it allowed me to showcase the best of what I had to offer—and it worked! I got into my first-choice program: the MA in Social-Organizational Psychology at Columbia University. I couldn’t have done it without your invaluable help!” —Jovana Husic, Washington University, St. Louis, Residential Life intern

Pennies for my thoughts

If you are wondering about rates, I work within the mid-range of the Editorial Freelancers Association’s recommendations, listed here.

Each project is unique, and I adjust my rates accordingly, so instead of a fee chart, I offer price quotes tailored to your projects.

I don’t separate out copyediting, substantive, and developmental editing as many editors do. This frees me to be unstintingly engaged with improving your work.

How to contact me

Feel free to send me a note below. I look forward to hearing about what you are working on!