"Actually takes the time to get to know her students." -BA, accepted to Yale & University of Pennsylvania
"I have worked hard throughout high school to prepare myself for the application process to get into my dream schools. But when senior year came and the time to start applying to colleges arrived, I didn’t know where to begin with my personal statements. I’ve always heard that you can literally write about anything in your essays and it will be fine. But anything doesn’t always show the best qualities in me.
"That’s where Yelena came and turned things around. Torn between topics, Yelena helped me brainstorm powerful events in my life that helped illuminate my strong characteristics that reveal who I am as a person while also making my statement impactful. She is extremely gifted in noticing significant features about a person just through her writing process. The fact that she actually takes the time to get to know her students before helping us with our work shows her determination to make our essays well written while leaving a great impression on the admission officers. She believes that every person has something amazing to share and she works hard to help us show that. With her help, not only did I come out with an incredible essay but I also learned more about myself and my values. I cannot thank her enough for her tremendous help. Thanks so much for everything! I appreciate all you have done for me. You have done so much to help me through my college applications!"
"My essays went from bland to authentic." -JT, accepted to Cornell University
"I sought out Yelena's help just one week before my application was due. Although I considered myself a proficient writer, I was having difficulty tailoring my writing to express my personal identity and my interest for Cornell University. Yelena worked with me over the phone and inspired me to consider the bigger picture and to incorporate a more creative narrative for my essay. She also kept me motivated and focused, providing a timeline of due dates. In just a couple of days, my essays went from bland mediocrity to a vivacious and impactful assortment of words. Yelena helped me eliminate extraneous phrases and wording that didn’t aid the overall momentum and suggested the practice of nighttime journaling to spur creativity and insight. She also helped me incorporate shorthand (like "Cornellian" and "A&S") to give my supplement an additional level of authenticity. Although my stats were competitive for Cornell University, I’m convinced that Yelena's input and editing are the main reason I was admitted."
"Unleashed my creative side." -AK, accepted to Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
"I got into Columbia!!! Thank you so much for helping me with my essays and bringing them to perfection!! I don't think I’ve ever been proud of any piece of writing as my Common App essay... Being a STEM-related student, I've always had trouble with writing. Yelena knew exactly what to do so that I could freely and clearly speak my mind in my essays. She guided me through creative directions so we could find the write one for me. Her knowledge of how the admissions essays work allowed for us to focus on the important aspects of the essay and leave out the fluff. In addition, Yelena made my essays very interesting with bits of (effective) humor and storytelling that made my essays stand out. Overall, Yelena was able to unleash the creative side of my writing and add life to my otherwise monotonous essays. Thank you again!!!”
“Knows how to create moving narratives.” - Allyson, accepted to Georgia Tech, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB & more
“As a high school senior who has never written personal essays, I was terrified of college applications. Since day one, Yelena has been committed to helping me develop powerful essays. From responding to emails or texts promptly, to sending back edits on or before scheduled, she exudes professionalism. Her expertise in writing is also reflected in every single one of her edits, from structure, to line-by-line analysis, to overall impact. What makes Yelena exceptional, however, is her guidance throughout the essay writing process. She doesn't only care about bringing essays to perfection; she also cares about my success as an applicant overall. It gives me great confidence knowing that Yelena has my back in the college application process. Getting into top universities would be her victory as much as it would be mine. I cannot recommend Yelena enough to anyone. She is a professional and caring writer who truly knows how to create moving narratives. I am sure that anyone who chooses to work with her will be far more than satisfied."
"Excellent inutition helped illuminate my strengths." -Octavio, accepted to Williams, Middlebury, & Connecticut College
"Yelena helped illuminate my strengths on my personal statement, breaking my habit of cutting myself short. She used her excellent intuition to select compelling scenes, asking questions that allowed me to elaborate on my defining moments. She also helped cut my repetitions, maximizing the use of space on the very limiting word count. I'm extremely grateful for Yelena's help for she is one of the reasons why I'm able to have the opportunity to attend a top liberal arts school on the opposite of side of the country from where I live."
"I got personal compliments from 2 admissions counselors!"—Raina, accepted to Smith College, Clark University, Mount Holyoke & more
"This year I got into all 8 of my top choice schools—and it is all thanks to Yelena. My essay was a mess when she began working with me. I had no clue what I was going to write about, or how I was going to do it alone. With Yelena, all my worries were whisked away. She was so willing to help in any way she could, and was patient every step of the way. We began with a comprehensive phone call where we talked for an hour or more about my life story and Yelena actually helped me narrow down a topic—which initially seemed like an impossible feat.
"Following this, she helped me develop an outstanding starter which I know grabbed the attention of admissions counselors and made them want to read more. After writing multiple drafts, Yelena even went above and beyond and compiled three different drafts into one impactful narrative by frankenstein-ing them together. She edited, deleted cliches and unnecessary material, and helped think up new lines for dramatic effect. All along, Yelena was sweet, compassionate, and determined to make my essay as best as it could possibly be. By the end of our journey, I truly felt my essay encompassed my personality and life experiences in less than 600 words. It is something my teachers, family members and friends were all astounded by.
"I even received two personal compliments about it from two different admissions counselors at top colleges. I know my essay played a huge role in my 8 college acceptances and I am eternally grateful for all of Yelena's help. I could not have done any of this without her and I appreciate it so much. I highly recommend her services and hope you consider working with her—she's an angel from college admissions heaven."
"Took my writing from good to near perfect." —Beto, accepted to UCLA, UC Berkeley & more
"I am a high school senior who will be attending UC Berkeley next fall. My academics and leaderships made me a competitive candidate, but my personal insight questions, edited and shaped by Yelena, is one of the top reasons I will be attending the #1 public university in the world next fall. In terms of my writing, I had strong arguments; however, they were not so coherent and well structured. Then, Yelena came along and took my writing from good to near perfect.
"Her amazing work even caught the attention of school officials as I was asked to read my personal statement during a school assembly. Thanks to Yelena, I believe that grades and academics do not reflect a person's qualities as well as a well-written essay. She has the power to turn a potential applicant into an admitted student, take my word for it. I definitely recommend Yelena to individuals who need feedback or additional support in the application process. You will not regret it. The results speak for themselves, the professionalism is on point, and the feedback is off the charts. I am really thankful for her service and I am keeping her in high consideration for future academic endeavors."
"Went line by line for a far superior personal statement!" —Jackie, accepted to UC Hastings Law School with scholarship
"I reached out to Yelena with just 2.5 weeks until my early admission deadline. I had already written a Law School Personal Statement, but my gut told me it could be better. What I didn’t expect was for Yelena to encourage me to start from scratch! Yelena explained that my essay wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t impactful. My personal statement was telling more than showing and the story itself didn’t highlight my skills effectively. Still, I didn’t think I could write a better statement in just two weeks time, but Yelena set out a path to success. We started by brainstorming new ideas and discussing strengths and weaknesses from my original statement."
"Once a main idea was in place, Yelena helped develop an outline. From there, we set deadlines and turnaround times on both ends to ensure we were on target. Yelena’s notes were thoughtful, diligent, and thorough. She went line by line and explained where and why things worked and how they were useful. Even though we were across the country from each other, she was available by phone, text, and email which made communication seamless. I ended up with a personal statement that was far superior to the original one I had written. I would absolutely recommend Yelena’s services and wish I had enlisted her sooner. I already have her in mind to help my niece with her undergrad admissions essay."
"My essay really stood out."
"I'm attending Binghamton University right now, planning on majoring in Biochemistry. I can't thank you enough for your help, I think my essay really stood out because I had plenty of great options to choose from despite my lacking high school GPA and the competitive pool I was put against. I learned a ton from working with you."
-Adam, accepted to American University, SUNY Binghamton University, Rowan University, Rochester Institute of Technology & more!
"Helped me find my voice and story."
"I have had the honor of working with you and I'm so glad Miss Rosenberg connected us. You have helped me find my voice and story. Thank you so much for everything. I'm glad you have helped me come to the best product! Thank you for all that you've done for me."
—Marie, accepted to NYU, Macaulay Honors Program at Baruch, Lehman, Hunter, Stony Brook, Binghamton, Fordham, Villanova, City College of New York!
“A great eye for detail.”
“Yelena is an incredibly talented and helpful editor and thinker. Her sharp, discerning guidance has helped turn my (sometimes scattered) thoughts into effective essays and helped make those essays sing. She has both incredible big-picture vision and a great eye for detail. Yelena's wisdom has proved invaluable for me as a writer.”
— Hannah, who was accepted to Bennington & Columbia’s MFA programs
"Much more clarity and confidence."
"My students entered Yelena's workshop completely confused and intimidated by the college essay, but by the end they had much more clarity and confidence. Yelena was able to offer them examples of what makes a good college essay and the tips they needed to begin. Many students are so obsessed with word count and hearing from Yelena to completely ignore that in the beginning of the writing process liberated them. We are looking forward to Yelena coming back to speak with more students this spring!"
-Kate McKeon, College Counselor, High School of Fashion Industries
"Mindful of looming applications deadlines."
"Yelena helped my son translate his ideas into a personalized storyline. He thought he had expressed himself well but her revision process entailed ditching the first draft, crafting a 3,000 word new draft which was then edited down. The essence of what he wanted to say in the first draft could now be seen clearly in print. She was thorough in her efforts to extract his accounts of any relevant and overlooked experiences so that the most meaningful could be presented on paper. He was asked the whys of what he wrote to determine what was best to eliminate. Being mindful of looming application deadlines, she worked fast to edit yet she was supportive when my son couldn’t meet his assignment deadlines to her." -Adam's mom, Kathleen
"Shined a light on all my blind spots."
"Yelena provided my essay with the perfect pair of fresh eyes. She shined a light on all of the blind spots, showing me which content I needed to highlight more or less. And the best part? The revision process was conveniently done online via a Google Doc. Yelena gave lengthy and straightforward comments that were 100% helpful. Without her guidance, I'm not sure if my essay would've had the same impact. And I got a Dean's List Scholarship, the most prestigious one!!"
—Dara, accepted to the USC School of Social Work
“More personal and impactful.”
“The grammatical edits really helped with getting the word count to where it needed to be without leaving anything important out. The major thing that really helped me though was flushing out my anecdotal experiences to where they not only fit into the essay more smoothly, but overall felt more personal and impactful.”
—Eric, who was accepted to U.C. Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego & more
"Extremely helpful tips."
"The personal statement is a critical part of the university application and Yelena offered extremely helpful tips about constructing a compelling essay. Yelena's advice enabled students to feel confident about expressing their voice and ideas. Students were comfortable asking questions and she graciously continued her conversations after the presentation. Thank you and I look forward to inviting Yelena to discuss personal statements in spring 2017."
—Jessica Arkin, College Counselor, High School for Environmental Studies
"Helped me without losing my voice in the process."
"Yelena Shuster has been my editor, admissions counselor, and advisor all wrapped in one. I didn’t know the proper way to present myself and to stand out in a sea of students. After copious amounts of phone calls and video chats, I knew what parts of myself I wanted to present for these complicated questions. She went through my paper with a fine tooth comb turning my paper into a better version of itself. She helped me with grammar, syntax, and punctuation mistakes without losing my voice in the process. Now, I’m about to enter my junior year of my dream school. I don’t know where I would be without Yelena’s guidance (probably not at my school). I fully intend on using her services again when it comes to my college applications."
— Anna, accepted to The Bay School & Lowell High School
"Skillfully edited to highlight our son's strengths."
"This year, our son applied to six Bay Area private high schools most of which required separate essays, short question answers, creative writing samples and parent statements. The amount of work was daunting . We started the application process by strategizing with Yelena on the best way to approach all the applications. We then set out the timeline with deliverables from both sides to make sure we could accomplish everything on time. Yelena encouraged us to write freely and give a lot of examples to help our son come alive before the Admission Committees. She then skillfully edited our answers to highlight his strengths and show how he was working on his weaknesses. We could not have gotten this done without Yelena!"
—Regina, parent of Max, who was accepted to St. Ignatius College Preparatory
"My professional career has involved writing in a variety of settings. Yelena can dive deep into a piece, no matter the format or subject, and come up with insightful edits that have pushed me to go beyond rote turns of phrase and aim for compelling, clear writing every single time."
— Amari, who was accepted to Stanford, Yale & Harvard Law Schools
“Taught me how to approach applications.”
"Working with Yelena not only improved my final product but taught me how to approach applications more effectively. Yelena turned my resume into a polished, visually appealing, and persuasive showcase of my achievements, and her advice helped me tailor my cover letters for specific positions."
— Katie, who was accepted to the PhD Program in Comparative Lit at UT Austin
"Cohesive, thoughtful writing that fully captured me."
"Yelena crafted my ideas and interests into cohesive, thoughtful pieces of writing that fully captured 'me'—a truly tricky feat to do in under 500 words! Her positive attitude combined with deliberate, constructive adjustments made editing my college applications painless. Her personalized approach made sure that my essays didn’t turn out like everyone else’s. I was particularly impressed with Yelena’s versatility in adjusting her process to the individual universities I applied to, even across different countries.”
— Sarah, accepted to the University of Edinburgh & University of St. Andrews
"I have to thank you for all your help! Ms. Shuster's techniques for helping students with their essays are astonishingly effective. She just doesn't limit herself to fix our essays, but rather to make us part of the essay's revision by asking us questions about us that can help in the editing process. She also ensures we are comfortable with her suggestions. Without Ms. Shuster, I doubt I would have had been able to be as confident about both my personal statement and supplements."
—Robert, accepted with a full scholarship to University of Wisconsin-Madison
"An invaluable resource!"
"Yelena is not only a fantastic editor, but a great person to work with! Her edits deliver tactful, effective & pointed advice. This leads to a cleaner & more professional product. I benefited from Yelena’s resume, cover letter, and general application writing talents over the years at every stage of my academic and professional career (high school, college, law school, and post-grad job search)—she is an invaluable resource!"
—Yael, who was accepted to Barnard College & Cardozo Law School
"Meticulously editing word for word."
"Yelena lives and breathes writing & editing like no other person I know and she has certainly set high standards for me as my supervisor. Not only did Yelena welcome me to the Victoria's Secret email team with open arms and a positive attitude, her willingness and patience to pass down her knowledge of writing showed through her time sitting down with me and meticulously editing my work word for word — a testament to her attention to detail, personal care towards my writing, and solid leadership skills. Yelena has gone above and beyond — during my time working with her, she generously offered to help edit my personal projects, which significantly impacted the next big step in my career."
"Yelena's editing and one-on-one guidance has helped me get some highly sought-after opportunities. She has helped me brainstorm, edit, and complete multiple cover letters and essays, which have helped me get accepted into a well-respected educational program as well as have a more competitive footing landing multiple job opportunities."
— Simone, who was accepted to the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute
“More concise & effective.”
"Yelena edited my writing at Victoria's Secret for almost a year. Anyone who works with Yelena or has the privilege of learning from her is truly lucky. She is patient, good-natured, detail-oriented and an amazing instructor. She had an eagle eye for proofreading: everything from grammar and punctuation to removing wordy phrases and repetition. My copy became more concise, effective, and told a compelling story."