Getting started with college essays

with Kathryn Gillis

Please do the activities on this page before our first meeting about college essays. Start at the top of the list and work your way down. Go in order.

If you have any questions, please let me know. You can text/call me at (206) 817-2513, or email me.

– Kathryn


Get your EssayQuest account.

(2 minutes)

This is a link to the EssayQuest, the program we’ll use as you work on your essays.

Go to EssayQuest and use the free coupon I gave you to register for your account. Do not pay for the program!! 


Build a strong foundation.

(45 — 60 minutes)

  • On the Thank You page, follow the link for a new student — it will take you to the Welcome page.
  • On the Welcome page, watch the short video (if it’s up yet…we’re finishing it. It’s not too important since you’ll be working with me.)
  • Then, click the Foundation button below the video to get started.

You can also get to the Foundation: Get Started page from the menu.

Please do all the activities in the Foundation phase:

  • take the VIA Strengths Assessment
  • read the complete College Essays 101 section
  • read the complete College Essays 102 section 
  • Read the essays on the Read some more sample essays page


be a Thinker.

(45 — 60 minutes)

In the Thinker phase, read and do the activities on these pages:

  • The main Thinker page
  • Find a bunch of Story Starters
    • Overview
    • Play with the Story Starter prompts
  • Write a TON of raw content
    • Overview
    • Write a bunch of crap 

You can get to each of these pages from the menu or by clicking the next step button at the bottom of each page.

Before we meet, have at least 10 Story Starters and write at least 3 blocks of raw content. We’ll talk about these in our first meeting.