Does a Uniquely U.’s college application essay writing help really make a difference?

The praise of these educational researchers and psychologists, students, parents, admissions officers, and Princeton all say “yes!”


The affinities between what you have been doing so well with prospective college students and my own work with midlife adults are remarkable… I found fascinating your observation that many young people embarking on college application essays retrieve a turning point moment from middle school wherein they discovered some sort of talent or ability that enabled them to overcome perceived frailty or shame. I…wish you continued success with your wonderful work.

~Dan P. McAdams, PhD Director/The Foley Center for the Study of Lives/School of Education & Social Policy/Northwestern University

In psychology we observe master therapists conduct sessions in rooms with a one-way mirror. Watching you thru this transcript has the same feel. What amazing gifts you are sharing with these students!!! Astounding. ~RW

Our STUDENTS Think So!

I did incredibly well with law schools - of the 15 I applied to, I was denied by only 1 of them! I can't thank you enough for your help! I can't imagine what the results would have been like without you. American U. Law, Wake Forest Law, UMaryland Law, St. Johns (w/ full ride), Temple U (scholarship), UConn (scholarship), New York Law School (scholarship), Northeastern (scholarship), Miami (scholarship), Penn State-Dickinson Law, and Vermont Law.~MG

Well the college process went really well and easy for me! Thanks to you! I was accepted into Southern Methodist University, University of South Carolina, and Villanova... among others but those are my top choices. ~JG

I just wanted to let you know I will be attending Chicago Medical School starting this August! Thanks for all your help-I am so unbelievably excited, and now you can add medical school to your growing resume of acceptances from your remarkable personal statement guidance!!!
Thanks ~SS

I just wanted to let you know that i was accepted into the Syracuse U. Study Abroad Florence Program today!!! I am so incredibly excited and cannot thank you enough for all of your help! I sent both of my parents the essay and they thought it was fantastic! Thanks again!! ~ML

My English teacher from last year was blown away when I showed her my personal essay. She was so impressed that she wants to keep a copy... I really couldn't have made this happen without your help. It has been absolutely amazing working with you and I couldn't be happier with the results. ~JM

I attend a private school in Manhattan where tuition is in the stratosphere. Even though I was taking a demanding senior writing course with three assigned papers a week, I was never taught how to approach my college essay. Until I worked with Uniquely U., I never dreamed writing could be so totally cool.” ~KL

I’m just writing to tell you that I have gotten into Columbia University and to thank you again for all your help. I got into all four colleges that I applied to. What a gift from God. Thanks for helping me out with my essays. The ones you helped me with I sent to Barnard, (where I’m going!!) UConn, & NYU. It is an honor being accepted to all these great schools, and being offered a full scholarship to UConn! Thanks again for all your help. ~ED (1st member of her family to attend college)

PARENTS think so...

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful essay tutoring that you did for our son. You made so much time available to him, even though you had many other students. Your ideas were superb, and your insights on how to pitch certain aspects of his background were extraordinary. Please feel free to use me as an excellent reference at any time. I can't say enough terrific things about you.~GB

Thanks you for your wonderful work with our daughter! I will never hesitate to pass your name along at any opportunity....I just love the way you organize information and make it so visually memorable, too—for those résumé-type information charts. That is SO impressive....You are such a fascinating person. I love your Facebook entries. I'm so glad we know you....And I'll look forward to to the time we meet again!~CG

You will probably recall, Maxene, the tremendous anxiety that my wife and I had about the college application process for our daughter.... Your calm reassurance and positive attitude was a real blessing during that time, and we very much appreciate it. And I further believe that her essay was the highlight of her application. You not only extracted and distilled our daughter's true voice, but helped her make connections that resulted in what to my mind was an enormously powerful piece of writing. Thank you for that. And be looking for Olivia’s younger sister, who will be working with you this spring.~JT

My husband and I both cried when we read Laura's essay. It is fabulous! Thanks for helping her with the application process. We are thrilled with her essay and thrilled that she likes working with you. ~CJ

Thank you SO VERY, VERY, VERY much!!!!
You were terrific in the completely wonderful ways that you worked with my son! .... He is so much happier, and confident, having gone through this process with you. The self-reflection, and thought needed for the essays have helped tremendously in preparing him for the college application process. ...And his essays are wonderful!...You are exceptionally wonderful. ....We will contact you again in 3 years when my daughter is going through this process. Until then, we will not hesitate to recommend you to anyone. What a gift you have! ...What a gift YOU ARE!!!! ~CG

Dearest Maxene,
Thanks so very much for all you have done for my family. You are an amazingly warm and gifted woman and we are all the better for meeting you. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and you shed light upon situations that have had me in knots for a very long time. God bless you and yours today & always. I’ll always remember your kindness…I look forward to dealing with you when my sophomore gets to this stage. You’re tops! ~MZ

I wish you could have been in our house when the acceptance letter from Colgate arrived. It was pure joy and such a relief to be done on December 13th.... And…the school’s admission director wrote a wonderful note about how impressed they were with her application.~JWG

The envelope season has made my son a very happy person. As you may recall, I was concerned about his uneven high school grades and how his story would be greeted by admissions officers. Consequently, I required him to visit an extensive list of schools and he came up with a long list for colleges he thought he would be happy attending. He applied to 16 schools; results include 12 acceptances, 3 rejections and one waitlist. While he did not apply for financial aid, he received "enticement money" from 5 schools. Needless to say, he has once again had the opportunity to say, "Mom, you worry too much." I am convinced that the key to his success was his essays. As was the case with his older brother, your writing process helped him create an essay that was both reflective of who he is and would be like no other. Both boys' essays were on target and completely different, as are they. Once again, the fall writing season transpired without any tense parent/student incidents. He always came home enthused about how the essay seemed to "magically" evolve. I knew the writing would progress, but little did I know that you and he would have music in common and that he would come home and say, "Maxene's the coolest adult I have ever met." That was a bonus! Once again, I thank you for what you do to help kids find their voice and become proud of themselves in a way they would not have expected. I trust you are hearing from many other happy students. ~LS

I have never seen my son so focused on any writing assignment or, for that matter, school related activity since he began preschool at age three. I decided early on in this exercise that I would be a bystander and leave it to you and him to complete the necessary essays for the college applications Dropping him off for the first session at your house, it was clear he was nervous and unsure of what he was in for. Each time he returned from a session, he was more and more excited about the final product. It was amazing to see the excitement and enthusiasm he felt for the essay. He loved the content; he was proud of the message he was sending. Although I know you helped polish the final product (grammatically), he never once said it was not his thoughts and ideas. At the end of the day, he is convinced that his essay helped differentiate him from other students and gave him the edge to get into six schools, including his first choice! I would strongly recommend your services to my friends and family, and will have my daughter meet with you when she is ready to apply to college next year. Thanks for making the college application process a lot easier and less frustrating for parents.~RS

Of all the things that I’ve done as a parent to help Benjamin get into the college of his choice—calling you was the best!!! His whole attitude toward the essay has changed. He is excited about it and totally enjoying writing it. Thank you SO much! (Admitted to BRANDEIS, early decision.) ~AL

I had to let you know Patrick got into all six of the schools he applied to: UColorado @ Boulder, UVM, Lasalle, Stonehill, St. Anselm, not to mention Early Action to St. Michael’s! What a confidence builder that has been to my LD-ADD son—to go to from worrying whether he’d get into any colleges at all to deciding which one he wants to go to. You were absolutely wonderful! ~LM

Thank you. I've been dying to read this! There are no surprises in the content. What I am astounded by is Will's willingness to get this down on paper. Such maturity and introspection. This from the child who was told his writing was horrible by his 4th grade teacher who couldn't see beyond the spelling errors. Whatever you did worked beautifully. Whether or not it gets him into the college of his choice, I will cherish this piece forever.~CL

There is no doubt in my mind that the college essays that my son wrote under your supervision and incredible guidance got him an early decision acceptance into Dickinson College. From the first family meeting with you, we all knew we had a perfect match! There was never a time that he did not enthusiastically bound into the car and to your home. He was mesmerized by your writing process and in the end certainly reaped the reward. He will continue to work with you I am sure during his college years and in two years’ time, my younger son will begin the college process and once again, you will find us at your doorstep!~DM


I wanted to share with you a comment from my son's impressive acceptance letter to Lafayette College.

“Our selection committee was particularly impressed, A., with your excellent performance in a most rigorous curriculum at Stamford High School. We read with interest your essay describing how Tolkien and the Torah helped you see that all things are easier and even captivating once you discover their cadences. We are hoping you will wish to complement your studies in biology with a full range of extracurricular pursuits, including religious activities, student newspaper and tutoring, during your four years as a member of the Lafayette student body.”~MJ

Dear UU:
I am entering my junior year at U Penn and majoring in psychology. I definitely think the time we spent on my essay was helpful. It really helped me organize my thoughts and find its direction. I would also like to let you know that it is currently hanging on the wall of the admissions office as an example of an original and excellent essay. I found this out when a friend of mine, a year younger, came to visit Penn and saw it hanging on the wall. So obviously our work (and your help) paid off. Thanks!~RA

We on the Boston College admissions committee would like you to know that your application, especially your essay on your involvement with Special Olympics, set you apart from our 24,000 other applicants and showed you have a lot of ‘heart.’ ~Reported by AMG

Dear Uniquely U.:
I got into NYU, where I’m going, Connecticut College, Wheaton, & Hobart and William Smith! They were my favorites so I am so happy! On the Wheaton acceptance letter, they said, "PS: we loved your ‘Aussie soulfood’ essay about Vegemite!’” ~JC

Sometimes, even if you don’t hear directly from college admissions, you just KNOW your Uniquely U. college essay made all the difference in the world:

To the UCBerkeley Admissions Board:
You see my former self every day on your way to Sproul Hall. I used to be the young girl with dirty sneakers and unkempt hair who often naps on the benches on or around your campus. I look angry, confused, and without a future. To have seen me three years ago, you would have thought I was hopeless, with no respect for authority nor any respect for myself. Well, ladies and gentlemen of the admissions board, I am here to tell you otherwise. Today, I am not sleeping on your campus; I am applying to it. I was given a gift, and the necessary skills and guidance to have a second chance at life. With the help of other people who have been in my shoes I have been able to recover completely from my disease. I have come to feel that it is my responsibility to pass on the gift I was given to anyone who is willing to have it. I want to help the people around Berkeley who seemingly have no future, just like somebody helped me. But I need the communication skills I will acquire as an English major at UC Berkeley to fulfill my goal.~Opening paragraph of SB’s college essay; Accepted to UCBERKELEY after being rejected two years earlier.


Uniquely U. came into being fifteen years ago because one high school senior, Anand Ahuja, (Princeton, Class of ’02, Engineering) recognized the effectiveness of the dynamic 3-step rewriting techniques he was learning from writer, editor, teacher, and former next door neighbor, Maxene Fabe Mulford (MA, U.Penn).

So did the seven colleges which accepted him that April, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn and Princeton.


I am going to make a brash assumption that your eyes are glazed over from reading high school seniors predicting their future. “This is a very tough task to achieve and probably impossible. College is a place to have assumptions shattered and to discover things not even imagined. If I were to hazard a prediction, it would be all of the obvious stuff: become responsible and independent and to learn about myself. Most of all, I want to come out of college knowing more, but as Socrates said: “The more I know, the more I(’ll) know that I do not know.” So I would like to pose a different question: In what ways can I imagine Princeton growing and changing as a result of my spending the next four years with you? Princeton has a unique emphasis on family--as in the “Princeton family.” Once you enter Princeton, you have extended your family, not only to those in your class, but also to the generations of Princeton graduates prior to you as well as the generations to come after you.

I, too, am part of a people that goes back thousands of years. My family’s value system, music, art, culture, architecture and religion have been around long before recorded history. My people invented language in the form of Sanskrit, the Mother of Western Language. Even the preppy clothes worn on the campus of Princeton have an Indian origin: consider khaki, madras plaid and the polo pony on all those Ralph Lauren jerseys. Most famous of all is the food that we create. It was the matchless aromas of our spices in the time of Columbus that drove men to risk their lives to reach my family’s land, the Indies and the spices we alone produced: cardamom, cumin, and coriander. This venerable and classic family of mine can add to the prestigious family at Princeton and therefore make the next four years and many more years to come ones of progressive change and growth for both our Families.~Anand Ahuja

College Essay Gallery >>