About essay coach and College Application Camp founder
I believe that students—high school seniors in particular—and their families stress needlessly over applying to college. As the parent of two recent college graduates and a college junior, I am very familiar with that brand of anxiety. I know that—with my background in writing, writing workshops, and writing instruction—I can help families address application process with confidence.
I have coached the application essay privately since 2006, and I’m a workshop leader of writing coaches and students at IMANI, a college advocacy center in Montclair, NJ, where many of the graduates are first-generation college students. In 2018-19, I will be working with high school juniors and seniors through the Paterson, NJ, CDC. For several years, I taught the creative writing spectrum—from poetry to nonfiction prose—at Columbia University’s Summer High School Program. And I have been a consultant for LinkedUpNow, a Millburn (NJ)-based agency that matches high school underclassmen with summer internships.
I am a journalist and communications consultant, and before graduate school I was a founding editor of Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated for Kids Magazine. I was also an editor at Sesame Workshop. Lately, when not coaching, I edit private and trade memoirs, like The Confluence (2016, Peter E. Randall Publisher). I also blog, have contributed to several essay anthologies, and am currently writing a book on coaching the essay.
I’m an active volunteer for Dartmouth College, serving as Essex County District Enrollment Director from 2009 to 2015 and as an alumni interviewer for more than three decades. In 2015, I won the Dartmouth Alumni Award for “extraordinary service” to the College. I hold a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Dartmouth.
A Montclair native, I attended Montclair Kimberley Academy. I’ve raised three daughters, all of whom attended the Montclair Public Schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
About College Application Camp
I believe I can reduce application stress if I meet with students early, before applications become something they have to squeeze in between the crush of senior-year classes and their extracurricular pursuits. A four-day session at College Application Camp, in June/July or August, allows students to plan and create when time pressures simply aren’t as great. It also provides more space to inspire and encourage and motivate students toward the finish line.
College Application Camp addresses what I believe is a growing imbalance in our schools, where a heavy focus on STEM, while important, has relegated thoughtful writing to the backseat of secondary school education. In a perfect world, I’d demonstrate the importance of balancing the art of writing with the empiricism of science and math. In this program, writing is the focus.
Rising high school seniors who attend College Application Camp will leave with a solid draft of the main essay required by the Common Application. They’ll also refine their interviewing skills, create a résumé or activities list, and draw up an application action plan. And they’ll do all of this before the fall stampede of classes and activities.
Note that while I am the camp’s principle instructor, I typically bring on additional staff. These are MFAs with backgrounds in writing and the teaching of writing who bring phenomenal tool sets with which to help students present their best selves to colleges. In 2018, I'm adding to the team a mindfulness and planning coach to help students identify and meet their college application deadlines and objectives.
Thanks for visiting. Please be in touch if you have any questions or think I can help with your or your student’s college application process. — Pat