Free Resources

​This checklist includes everything you need to equip a friend or relative to review and critique your essay. (Really, we’ve given away the farm on this one.)


​Anyone can write a winning college application essay: in this brief guide, award-winning writer Margot Starbuck shows you how. From choosing a subject, to taboo topics, to editing that final draft—discover everything you need to know to write an essay that shines.​ Available at Amazon for $4.99.

One Student Raves...

“I just wanted to let you know that University of North Carolina at Wilmington accepted my application! UNCW considered essays as important as SAT scores and GPA on the application requirement therefore I think my essay helped me stand out more. This was my top choice and I appreciate all of your help!”     -W.E., Raleigh, NC 


Invite Margot to speak to your school or group! With humor and wisdom, Margot shares...
  • What admissions officers hope to learn about a student in the essay
  • How the college application essay is like dating
  • Which writing voice is too casual, too formal & just right
  • Taboo topics to avoid at all costs
  • Considering the reader (you don't know) as you write
  • Techniques to improve your writing
  • Why it's important to "show" and not "tell"
  • A step-by-step writing plan
  • Parents' role in the process
  • An essential checklist others can use to review your essay

Essay Review

Margot reviews your essay (up to 500 words) and gives you feedback. She'll let you know what's working well and what can be strengthened. To get the most bang for your buck, review the FREE essay checklist, at left.

Biggest tips:
1. Share a story that no other student could tell.
2. Use an authentic voice, like you'd speak to an aunt or uncle.
3. Reflect on what the story means.

​Margot Starbuck, the award-winning author of seven books, offers workshops, critiques and other resources that equip students to write college application essays that shine. She also serves writers at