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Do you need to rise above other college candidates? Work with a doctor of philosophy. I have a Ph.D. in English and teach writing in a major US university. I have extensive experience in creating personal statements for Ivy League universities and Oxford. If you need an objective, experienced, and reliable reader who can make outstanding suggestions for ways to stand out, you have found that person.
My Varsity clients report high satisfaction with their Common Application essays, and they have been accepted to the schools of their choice. Many initially thought they lacked the ability to make a distinctive case for themselves, but they found they had plenty to write about when they worked with me.
Some clients come to me struggling with graduate school applications and master's degree projects. We succeed in tackling those. Some people consult me for personal statements for employment, and they are now working at those jobs!
I graduated from prestigious Smith College, one of the famous 'Seven Sisters' colleges for women on the east coast. Smith College is ranked #12 out of 233 national liberal arts colleges by the US News and World Best Colleges 2018. While at Smith I competed for high grades, and wrote and cartooned for the college newspaper. I worked in banking and insurance for a taste of the business world before returning to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst for my master's and doctoral degrees. After defending my dissertation, I went to work for the highly-rated University of Washington in Seattle, which is tied with Yale for position #10 in the ranking of 1,250 global universities in 2018. I started in the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering teaching technical writing and then moved to Department of Biomedical Regulatory Affairs in the School of Pharmacy. Here, I create curricula and teach master's-level students to write government and business to business communication.
What I care about most is helping students find the confidence to build their writing skills. Writing is critical to everything, and I think everyone can improve and reach their goals. I also think that talented students are often frustrated by large classes and the unfair pace of education, and that's why I work for Varsity.
Let's look at your goals together, today. You will have something written by tomorrow, guaranteed.

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Karen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Smith College - Bachelor in Arts, English

Graduate Degree: University of Massachusetts Amherst - PHD, English


Reading about the history of London, appreciating dogs in all their forms, and hiking and camping in the mountains of Washington!

Tutoring Subjects

AP English Language and Composition

AP English Literature and Composition

College Application Essays

College English

College Essays

Comparative Literature

Creative Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

IB Extended Essay

IB Language A: Language and Literature

IB Language B




Public Speaking

Technical Writing


Q & A

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Show them what is fascinating about their subjects.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Keep the lessons personal and well-paced. I can be flexible but firm about outside interruptions. Our time together is important.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Take it down to the bare bones and rebuild a student's understanding of it bit by bit. Then, I'd give an easy quiz, and discuss the answers. Then, I'd give a medium-hard quiz, and discuss, and so on.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Read to them so that they hear the voice of the writer and gain insight into the essential meaning of the text. If there is particular difficulty with symbols, we talk about foreshadowing, cultural concerns, and the style of the writing.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Getting to know the student's fears, tastes, and sense of humor.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Show them the practical value of the lesson and the juicy stuff they can do once they get it.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Strategic quizzing. Games.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Scaffolded assignments with the lessons so that they can succeed even at a beginner's level.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I study the writing output as we go along.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I study the student's sense of humor, tastes, and pace of learning. I accommodate them.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Readings, personally-created materials.

What is your teaching philosophy?

The core of my practice is to listen very closely to the student. I think if a person senses they are heard, then it is easier for them to settle into the hard work of learning.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

Ask about school, the highs and lows, and his or her goals.

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