Collection Reveals the Secrets of College App Essays

2 robinson HeavenlyEssaysKINDLECOVER05-3-2014 copy-1Nothing can sap summer fun better than a looming deadline to write a college application essay. This is the time of year rising high school seniors should be getting a jump on these dreaded personal essays, but most prefer to do just about anything else.

“I don’t blame them,” said Janine Robinson, a longtime Laguna resident, parent, writer and editor who coaches students on their essays. “With the competition so fierce these days, especially among the top-tier colleges and universities, there is incredible pressure on students to write standout essays. But most have no clue how to write about themselves, let alone make their essays both engaging and memorable.”

Last month, Robinson published her third guide to help students learn to write narrative-style, slice-of-life personal statements. Called “Heavenly Essays,” the collection features 50 essays written by real students, including many from Laguna Beach.

“There’s really no better way to get an idea about what makes an effective essay than reading what other students have written,” Robinson said. “Especially students who have landed in some of the most competitive schools in the country.”

Most of the essays were written by Robinson’s former tutoring clients, but about a dozen were from students all over the world who submitted essays to a contest she held on her writing advice blog, called Essay Hell.

“They shared their personal stories, and told them in a lively writing style. Most of these essays are poignant, insightful and even funny, and give you a glimpse into what makes each of these kids unique,” said Robinson, a former newspaper journalist, who currently edits the lifestyle magazine for the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach.

She started working with students about six years ago. She’s also a credentialed high school English teacher and student taught at Thurston Middle School. Her first essay writing client was her own daughter, then a junior at Laguna Beach High School. Since then, she has worked with hundreds of local and long-distance students, and clients of OC college admissions consultants.


Her books feature covers designed by Laguna Beach artist and graphic designer Russell Pierce. They are available as ebooks and paperback on Amazon and her blog. Robinson offers all three of her ebook guides free to anyone working with disadvantaged students.


For information about Robinson’s local Jumpstart College Application Essay Writing Workshops this summer and fall, and private tutoring services, go to her Web site, www.EssayHell.com.

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