Junior year is hectic; you need to keep up your AP classes, clubs, sports, extracurriculars, just about everything. My first time meeting Dr. M, with all her flair, reminded me of the hyped-up junior year, as it seemed she did it all. She’s an artist with a Ph.D. in philosophy, knows her way around different cultures, and seems to have learned just about everything from biology to programming games to the ins-and-outs of admissions (of course).

At this point, Dr. M would declare that it was enough about her, and what about me? During each session she would be able to take the most out of our conversations, paying attention to every single detail and organizing everything into a neat, 500-word essay. This very attention to detail while still being efficient is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Dr. M; during sessions, she would take note of how long it took me to program a game while telling me to fix the comma splice in a particular sentence.

I started working with Dr. M in January of my junior year, and even as I landed myself in Carnegie Mellon’s Game Academy that summer with her help, she did not act as if her job was over. Dr. M always went above and beyond her job description, never ceasing to keep up with how I was doing throughout the summer. As a result, she was aware of the interview opportunities that were given at the school; her advice for meeting with admissions administrators was invaluable, giving me a distinct advantage and confidence throughout the interview. As if that weren’t enough, by keeping tabs on my progress, Dr. M was able to help me start my college admissions essays early, which made meeting deadlines later on that much easier.

As essays are started, the infamous writer’s block is almost guaranteed to strike at one time or another. Dr. M not only never gives up, but she also has a toolkit containing an infinite amount of tips and tricks to help applicants continue writing. From making the text color white to links to helpful research sites, she always makes sure the process continues according to schedule.

As school resumes after summer, what little time is available must be used carefully since senior year is basically junior year plus college apps. While the process may initially seem long and arduous, with Dr. M acting not only as my friendly neighborhood “Grammar Nazi,” but also my coach and mentor, the process is over soon and easily, with very noticeable results. This is how I have come to see my work with Dr. M: she helps you bake the cake that is an application essay. You provide the raw material, the flour and eggs, and Dr. M is there during every step of the process, magically whipping up a multi-layered cake, complete with the powdered sugar that you forgot you even brought.

I gained a lot more through the entire process than early admission to Carnegie Mellon; I’ve gained a greatly improved sense of grammar that I will take with me through the rest of my life. I have grown as an individual and have learned to have more confidence in my own accomplishments. Because of Dr. M, I’ve had my first true mid-year “break” in the last few years and the best present my family and I could get in time for the holiday season!

– James, Undergraduate Applicant