Not long ago, I was trying to put together my own college essays to send to top colleges and a strange thing happened. Out of the countless recycled drafts, all of them unsatisfactory in one way or another, it finally clicked. I had uncovered the key to the perfect college essay. Everything I wrote from then on just flowed out of my fingertips, each piece better than the last.

At the end of my first year at Columbia, an essay I wrote was one out of hundreds

of submissions to be published in the Morningside Review, an online journal published by the Columbia Undergraduate Writing Program, and two years later I had an opinion piece published in the Columbia Spectator. While volunteering with the Urban Justice Center, I helped write, design and edit a research and advocacy report that was submitted to the New York City Council in the wake of the violent arrest of Jazmine Headley in 2019. I also have a Wordpress where I occasionally publish stories about life as a teacher and seeker in Asia.

Now, five years later, I'm on the other side of the Ivy mountain helping students express themselves in just the right ways to keep their college applications on the top of the pile.

Zak Aldridge

Columbia University '19


Sam Aldridge

Columbia University '19

Few things can be as daunting as the blinking cursor on a blank page, especially when it’s an application to your dream college. How do I show my sincerity? How do I sculpt a body and voice for an application that is otherwise flat? All these questions rang in my mind not long ago, but with the help of some expert friends I transformed that blank screen into a compelling piece of writing that pushed open the door to my top choice schools.


Above all I learned that it’s a ritual of discovery, one that I’ve been on since high school when I wrote for local newspapers as a columnist, then later as a staff writer in my first summer back from Columbia University. While at college, an opinion piece of mine was published in the Columbia Spectator that grapples with the pressure to succeed even when we’re off the clock. After graduating in 2019, I worked in Morocco teaching English at a private language center where I continued to write on my blog and advise students privately in their writing.

Applying to college can be extremely stressful, but it can also be transformative. We’ll help you write your truth, find your voice, and enjoy the success you seek!