Why Choose Ellen?


It’s important to understand that usually the college application essay is unlike anything a student has typically written. It is not the traditional, five paragraph academic essay. It’s creative non-fiction and that scares a lot of students.

Often high school English teachers will have students write a college application essay draft their junior year. This is a good start but there is always more work to be done. Without stepping on any toes, English teachers are trained as teachers not as writers. And they generally have a lot of students they are trying to help – so even really good feedback could be limited. Ellen has been helping individual students improve their college essays for nearly a decade. She guides them in uncovering and then nailing down the story they want to share.

But there’s more to it than Ellen’s love of working with students. Ellen has dedicated her life to writing. She has an English (Writing) BA and a Creative Writing MFA from George Mason University (GMU). As a professor of Composition and Literature at GMU, Ellen helped students understand and unlock the power of their own writing. She’s been a professional writer for the U.S. Customs Service (now ICE) and the Department of Treasury, as well the editor for two different newsletters, one with international distribution. She has received several awards, fellowships, and acknowledgements for her personal writing. You can read more about that here

She teaches a Getting a Jump Start on the College Essay class at the Chantilly Library, volunteering her time to help young writers get better. When George Mason’s English Department explored offering a college application essay workshop, they asked Ellen to develop the curriculum. Ellen passed both the VCLA and the Praxis English exams – two licensing tests for Fairfax County teachers. She’s also substituted in high school English classes across Fairfax County.

But Ellen does more than just teach what she already knows. She is student herself, constantly striving to learn more. She has attended some of the nation’s top writing workshops, including Yale, One Story, Kenyon, Tin House, the Robert and Richard Bausch Workshop, the Kevin McIlvoy 3x3x3 workshop, and many more. In 2015, she was awarded the 2015 Kenyon Novel Writing Workshop Fellowship. In 2018, she received the Porches Writing Fellowship.

Through Make My Essay Better, Ellen’s main goal is always to help students finish their essays. But she also works to make sure they become better writers in general. She has never met a student who hasn’t been surprised by the power of his own words after working with her.

Even for a professional writer, that blank page can be a scary thing. Ellen will help students get that first draft down. However, great writing rarely emerges in the first draft. Great writing requires revision. Ellen will help students revise their essay so that tells a story and captures the attention of those reviewers on the college admission panels.

The Story is already in you – let Ellen help you bring it out.

Get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.  We look forward to hearing from you!

If you want more info, please just send an email to Ellen at [email protected].