College Essay Boot Camp
What Parents and Students Have to Say
The following are un-edited excerpts from unsolicited e-mails sent to Dr. Wilk. All writers have given us permission to print their messages.
Wow Pat- just wow.
Just got home from work and read Dylan’s essay...twice. It brought tears to my eyes (for so many different reasons!). Oh, just the imagery that was captured in only 647 words! Life has been such an emotional rollercoaster lately, and I’m eternally grateful to you for your help in relieving a great stress for both Dylan AND me!
I’m sure you’ve worked with better writers in your time, and I completely understand there are no guarantees, but I have to tell you that just the fact that my son greeted me with a big hug and a huge smile, and seeing how proud he is of his work, was so well worth it. So, thank you again for your passion, your time and your caring...you clearly make a difference in students’ lives!
Wendy Graham, Edison NJ.
Jai loves his essay and so do we! I’m so glad I found your website.
Our daughter is a sophomore in HS. We’ll absolutely be in touch when it’s her turn to write an essay.
Nicky Battle, Belle Mead, NJ
Good afternoon Dr. Wilk:
It's been such a long time since I've worked with you. I'm not sure if you remember me, but I initially worked with you on my common app essay, and then I worked with you on some of my supplemental essays for certain colleges, especially the University of Michigan. With everything said and done, you asked me to update you on my college process, so you could document my acceptances/denials.
High Point University
Saint Joseph's University
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
University of Florida
University of Maryland
Stevens Institute of Technology
The College of New Jersey
University of Lynchburg
University of Richmond - attending
University of Rochester
University of Michigan :(
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Virginia
I also wanted to thank you for the help and time (especially the time) that you gave me while working with you. I can barely put my gratitude and appreciation into words for the extensive help and guidance you gave me from one essay to another. Your service was truly appreciated, and without a doubt I'll be recommending your services to any rising seniors that need essay help. I hope that all is well with you and your family, and once again I greatly appreciate what you've done for me.
Just wanted to let you know that Tristan will be going to Cornell in the fall. Thank you for helping him get there!
Judi Wilkes, Fair Lawn, NJ
Pat is the best kept secret to help your child craft an excellent college application essay. I do not hesitate to recommend her when I hear of a friend with a child in the college application phase. I believe my daughter's essay set her apart. When you read it, it is my daughter. The unique wonderful person she is shines through. So far, it's February, and my daughter has been accepted to 8 of the 9 schools that she has applied to, and received a leadership scholarship. I truly believe my daughter's essay has made the difference. I am definitely using her to guide my son in writing his essay too! You will be a believer too.
Pamela Sachs, Cranford, NJ
I just wanted to thank you for the College Essay Boot Camp Experience that Erin did with you this past summer. What an absolute relief when she came home with a completed essay —and happy with the experience and the final product! She found out in December that she got into her top choice college and she couldn’t be happier!
Maria Brockmeier, River Edge, NJ
Dear Dr. Wilk,
Just wanted to let you know that I was accepted to the Harvard Class of 2023!
Thank you so much for all your help in writing the essay and editing the supplement. I couldn't have done it without you.
So glad to be sharing good news.
KC, Glen Rock, New Jersey
Dylan was so happy to work with you and feels very proud of his fluently written essay from his heart.
I thank you for bringing out the best in both of my sons - and helping them both craft powerful college essays.
Truly appreciate it.
Sandra Jorgensen, Glen Rock, NJ
You worked with my son Jonathan last August on his college essay. I wanted to let you know that he was accepted to Rutgers, Case Western, University of Michigan, Penn State, McGill, and Emory University EDII, which is where he will be attending in the fall. (He withdrew applications to several schools after he received the Emory acceptance.) We are thrilled with the results and I wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for your help.
Carol Marcus, Fair Lawn, NJ
Hi Dr. Wilk,
Happy New Year!! We hope that you are well. We wanted to let you know that Michael has been accepted to all seven of the schools he applied to, and now we are in the process of narrowing down the right choice. He was accepted at: Bryant University, Providence College, Quinnipiac University (this is where Steven is as a Freshman this year and LOVES it!), Fairfield University, Marist College, University of Scranton, and Sacred Heart University. Although we don’t have any more children to send off to college, we will be singing your praises and referring anyone asking about writing a college essay to you! We wish you all the best and continued success!!
Maureen, Jeff Steven & Michael Pappas
..and from previous seasons:
Having a unique, well written and thoroughly reviewed essay is a crucial component of the college application process. Completing that essay in one short day seems like an impossible dream! College Essay Boot Camp with Dr. Pat Wilk successfully achieved that for my two boys. It’s the best decision we made as part of the college application process! My boys agreed that it took the pressure off of a potentially stressful situation and actually made it fun! Pat does a wonderful job teaching each student to explore his/her strengths, talents and passions to create a high caliber essay in just one day. We highly recommend this program!
Maureen Pappas – Washington Twp. NJ
Thank you so much for the essay boot camp. Ryan came home so excited, and I quote: "I learned more in one day than all three years of high school! " He truly loved the day! I was so nervous that he would return and tell me that he couldn't believe I made him spend his only free Sunday writing an essay. However when he showed up with a gigantic smile, excited and proud of his essay, I felt a sense of relief and joy knowing it was the right decision for him to spend that Sunday with you. Once again, thank you-- and I will continue to tell friends and family members about the wonderful work you do.
Kellie Weiss, Oradell, NJ
Hi, just wanted to let you know Martin will be attending UCONN this fall! He was accepted at five great schools! Thank you again!
My daughter, Katie, took your essay writing class at the Hun School on Aug 27th. I just wanted to tell you that her 'new and improved' Dr. Wilk essay from your class is awesome (even though I am sort of embarrassed that it mentions me, ugh).
Anyway, I just cannot thank you enough for convincing me to send her, to write a new essay! As an aside, her college counselor loved her 'Dr. Wilk' essay. Anyone who has read both agrees that the second one (the essay from your class) is much better.
Thank you so much for everything. You were absolutely correct about re-writing an essay and it was well worth every penny to take your class. You're the BEST!! Plus, Katie just adores YOU!!! :)
My husband and I would like to thank you for helping Jared create an awesome essay! We couldn't have been happier!
Diane and Todd Verebey
Just wanted to send you a note to say that Grace really enjoyed your essay writing class. She was thrilled with her essay. She was beaming when she got in the car. You made her feel good about her essay and herself! Thanks so much for your help.
I was a bit skeptical - an essay in a day...and this from a kid who is a master procrastinator. But I was blown away! He came home with a beautiful essay and had fun in the process! I wanted to say thank you for making something I have been dreading into a pleasurable experience! Thanks! Thanks!!
Dede Taylor (Josh's very proud mother)
I just wanted to send a sincere THANKS to you for the terrific workshop Coles Romaine experienced last Monday in Paramus.
It has been a busy time with work, summer plans and all that goes in between, and so when he returned with just such a sense of enthusiasm and thankfulness, we were really touched. He felt the experience was SO HELPFUL and it offered him a confidence that he was clearly putting forth as he feels good and positive about his work. Thank you for the guidance.
I am sure that this isn't the first time that you have been hailed as a true genius, BUT YES, you are a genius! Juliana has been glowing with confidence since she finished. She read it to me and the tears just streamed down my face for so many different reasons. Wow!
I had sent my son to you five years ago for his essay and he came home with a killer essay. It's now time for my daughter to apply to colleges and I would like for her to come you sometime in August.
Andrew's essay is excellent. It really captures the essence of him. I am so grateful that he had the opportunity to work with you. If you have any thoughts going forward on improving his writing skills, please let me know. You put him at ease and he really enjoyed working with you. Thanks again.
We were thrilled when Megan came home and shared with us the essay she had written during her 'college essay bootcamp' experience! Megan's essay was extraordinarily well written and contained very personal, compelling and heartfelt experiences which highlighted her strengths and challenges -- and did so in a very entertaining way. We were especially delighted to learn months later that her heartfelt essay is what ultimately swayed the committee to provide her with an additional, very generous scholarship!! Much thanks and appreciation is extended to Pat and her team for helping our daughter create a college essay that was truly original and powerful!
Margie & Rob Costello
Megan's school: FDU Madison
My son, Andrew Palmieri, attended your boot camp last summer and I am so pleased to report to you that he was accepted into EVERY college to which he applied. We are both so happy and relieved that the process is over and I wanted to update you to let you know how valuable your boot camp was for him. He is going to the College of New Jersey in the fall with a fabulous scholarship. I can't thank you enough; please keep up the excellent work.
Jeanette Santos, Teaneck, NJ
In the early part of October you worked with my daughter Lauren Alencewicz on her college essay. She had worked with another coach prior and she wasn't overly happy with the first essay. When Lauren came home with the essay she had done with "Boot Camp" the difference was remarkable. She knew that was it. That was the one to send off the her "reach" school. She quickly and proudly hit the send key and completed her application. The news arrived a month later...she was in!
Of course,we all know there are many factors that contribute to a "yes" from a school, but there is no doubt in our minds that the essay was an important part of the mix. We want to thank you for all your help! I have recommended SAT tutors, colleges to visit and when to visit, but when talking to friends I always mention "Boot Camp" as a stop they must make!
Lauren's reach school was Elon---I must say she was one of two accepted out of many that applied from her HS--needless to say she is relieved and thrilled, as the acceptances this year have been harsh for many. We will see you again in the fall with my other daughter Erin!
Carolyn Alencewicz, Mendham, NJ
I am very happy that I signed Kate up for the Camp and was more than happy with the finished product. Thank you so much for making this available. It really relieves some of the stress which is definitely ahead of us. I am also sure that it will only help her with future papers. Kate also said that she felt that it was very helpful. So glad I heard about you.
Linda Luvera, Paramus
Thank you, thank you. Greg's essay is wonderful! He has the thoughts but it is hard for him to get it down on paper. He is so relieved that it's done (my husband and I are too). Now he can concentrate on his applications and getting them in on time!
I hope you don't mind if I pass your name along-I can't say enough good things about your boot camp.
Cindy Cenicola, Paramus
There is a woman in Morristown who has a service that a lot of people may be interested in and I was wondering if you could add her to the plumber list. [She is writing to a friend who has a list of “essential services” providers they can trust; they share this list in a network of neighbors and friends.]
Her name is Dr. Pat Wilk and she runs a one day college essay writing class from her home. Patrick went to her on Monday, spent the day with her, and came home with an awesome essay ready to go. My son is not easily impressed by people and he thought she was great. Best of all, he feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off his shoulders because he has an essay that he is very proud of. This session was probably the best money I've ever spent!
Claire Dean, Morristown
This brings our deepest thanks for all your help to our niece, Ewoma, at yesterday's College Essay Boot Camp. You really are a wonderful teacher! Ewoma returned from the class ecstatic, so proud of her work. We, too, are thrilled with the essay and marvel at how you provided much needed guidance while still managing to help bring out Ewoma's unique voice. We hope that she is lucky enough to find such caring professors at university--and thanks to you, she will hold them (and herself) to an extremely high standard. We will keep you posted on what happens next. In the meantime, best wishes to you and yours and warm regards.
Alissa and Ogaga Ifowodo, Jersey City
It is a very busy time; however, I must take a moment to thank you for your assistance and expertise. With your help our son was able to write an essay that earned him entrance into all of his college choices. As you may remember I was somewhat concerned and nervous as his learning disability impedes his processing. You assured me that you would be able to work with him and you were all that you promised. He will be attending the University of Hartford in the fall and is elated.
Parent name withheld by request