Task Focus vs. Skill Focus: The Vohra Method Advantage
At Vohra Method, we know that writing a college essay isn’t completing a task; it’s developing a skill. It’s like learning algebra. When you learn algebra, you don’t just learn how to answer to one specific problem. You learn skills that allow you to solve a limitless number of problems.
With the college essay writing skills you learn at Vohra Method, you will be able to write a brilliant college essay on any topic. Whether you’re “writing a letter” to your future Stanford roommate, explaining to Harvard why you want to attend the most prestigious college in the world, writing a random page of your autobiography for the University of Pennsylvania, or telling Brown why you are interested in the Open Curriculum, you’ll be able to produce one clever essay after another. Each of your essays will have your own personal style, and will sound completely different from any other student (including other Vohra Method students!)
Most of our competitors don’t think the way we do. Instead, they just encourage you to become dependent on them while they mass produce nearly identical essays. While we “teach you to fish”, they “give you a fish”. Unfortunately, the fish they give you is stale and insipid.
Get in Touch
You don't need a first draft before contacting us! We can help you every step of the way, and we often find that meeting before the first draft can shorten the total time needed for the essay by a few sessions.
For college strategy, the earlier you start, the more likely it is you'll get into your first choice college, even if it's a "reach" school. So get in touch today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.
$300/hr with Founder Arvin Vohra
What is the Skill Like?
You’ve probably read brilliant college essays about something as minor as tying your shoes, and really boring and tedious essays about winning a national debate competition or science fair. Those brilliant essays about minor topics aren’t just lucky. They are demonstrations of a well developed set of thinking and writing skills.
With our training program, you’ll learn how to write those casually ingenious essays on any topic - major or minor. If you develop the college essay skill, you can write a great essay about wrapping gifts, seeing a zebra, taking a nap, sitting on a couch, fighting with a sibling, building a robot, pens, dogs, tires, Socrates, colors, dreams, the ocean - literally any topic will work. Just as you can probably solve any two step linear equation on earth pretty easily, you will be able to write a college essay on any topic just as easily.
On the other hand, if you haven’t developed that skill, you probably can’t write a great essay on any topic! You could write an essay about the time you won the Nobel Prize, and it won’t be powerful enough.
As you master these skills, you’ll realize what all admissions officers and college strategists know: the topic doesn’t really matter. A great essay does not come from some particular topic. It comes from clever execution of any topic. To quote Ella Fitzgerald: It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.
The Vohra Pledge
We will do everything we can to help you develop the skills you need to write your college essays. We’re quite good at it - most of our students get into their first choice colleges (which are generally top tier Ivies or combined medical programs).
However, we will never write your essays for you.
If you’ve worked with a writing tutor before, there’s a good chance that you’ve figured out a trick: if you stall until the last minute and act helpless, the tutor will basically write the paper for you. Many math and science tutors do the same.
If your essay isn’t ready by the deadline, you’ll just miss the deadline. If you miss the early deadline, you can apply during the regular deadline. If you miss the regular deadline, you can apply during the midyear deadline. If you miss that deadline, you can apply next fall. However, even if 10 years go by, we won’t write your essay for you. If you want to learn the skill that will help you produce world class essays and dominate your interviews, we’re the best place anywhere for that.
Fair warning: the essays you write with the skills you develop at Vohra will be much, much better than any essay written by a college essay writing service.
What Makes a College Essay Good?
Here’s a Checklist!
It must contain a few non-obvious ideas, musings, observations, descriptions, or thoughts.
It must be personal, and include incisive and insightful self analysis.
It must be vivid, engaging, and easily readable.
Q: Do I need to have a draft or essay idea before I come in?
A: Definitely not! Most of the draft essays that students come in with are nowhere near the required standards, and are generally immediately scrapped. Also, because people tend to get emotionally attached to things they’ve worked on, the original essay becomes and anchor that slows progress.
You don’t need to have already solved a bunch of equations before your first algebra class. You don’t need to have any completed or started essays before your first college essay class.
You’re here to learn a powerful skill that you will use to write the several essays required as part of the process. You don’t need any completed work done beforehand.
Q: How long does it take?
A: If you’re intense about learning this new skill and ready to give it 110%, then a few months. If you’re planning to laze around in the pointless hope that we’ll write the essay for you, then it will take several years and you will definitely, guaranteed miss your first deadline (and possibly future deadlines).
Q: My essay absolutely has to be in by next week can you write it for me please?
A: No. Also you can apply during a later deadline, including the midyear deadline, next fall, next spring, etc.
The proximity of a deadline to which a student is emotionally attached won’t affect our policy at all. We help students develop college essay writing skills. We don’t write essays for them. There are no exceptions.
Things to Know
Your application needs an insightful, memorable essay and a surprising extracurricular resume. It could also benefit from a few tricks and tips we've learned in a decade of helping students get into the Ivy League.
Unlike your school counselors, we don't play nice, or play by traditional rules. We use outside-the-box strategies to give you an unfair advantage over your competitors. And we get results.
Why do emeralds cost more than water, even though water is essential to life? Because emeralds are rare.
Many students' applications are not rare. They are full of the same AP scores and research internships as everyone else's. Their essay sounds just like every other essay ever written. At Vohra, we make your application unforgettable, a rare emerald in a sea of monotony.
Your School is Not Your Friend
School Counselors have you target lower level schools. This increases your chance of getting in to your "first choice", and improves your school's statistics. Of course, it's not your real first choice.
At Vohra, we set our targets high, and use the strategies that get you in to your true, first choice school.
The Overall Process
The first time you solved an equation was probably harder than the 500th time you solved a similar equation. Similarly, your first few essays and exercises will be the hardest. But, it gets easier and easier. Some of our students get so good, they end up experimenting with several main essays in order to find the best one. They’re so good at writing essays, they can just write another one or two and compare!
Phase 0: Identifying the student’s starting point.
During this phase, we will ask a lot of simple questions designed to see what the student can already do, and where the student’s thinking is. Most students start out thinking mostly obvious platitudes, but sometimes students start with great ideas already!
Phase 1: Learning to think cleverly.
This is the hardest part, where students learn to move away from the boring, hokey, obvious essays most high achievers write, and on to the exciting, mind-blowing essays that will wow application committees.
Phase 2: Developing the overall applicant profile.
Do you have several high AP scores, high SAT scores, and play the violin/piano? So does every single one of your competitors. That profile will get you absolutely nothing. Your profile needs to make you astronomically stand out and come across as someone completely unlike the boring sea of your cookie-cutter competitors. In this phase, we’ll develop that profile.
This phase also includes the creation of your online presence. Once you get through Phase 1, this task should be pretty simple.
Phase 3: Common Application Essay development.
During this phase, we (i.e. you) are going to write the actual common application essay, using the strategies and skills developed in Phase 1.
Phase 4: External Review
When the essays have reached a point where they are solidly presentable, we subject them to ruthless external review. You share the essays with your parents, teachers, friends, whoever. You get feedback from the people who know you the best. And then, you make edits and rewrite the essay based on that feedback.
Sometimes, you’re so attached to the essay that you just can’t quite see that it talks about your passion too little, or it is unclear to the average reader. That’s what external review is for. This usually takes a few rounds of edits, but it’s what takes your great essay into the spectacular realm.
Phase 5: College-specific Supplemental Essays.
While your competitors will be writing about how they like the fact that Harvard is in a city and has good academics, you'll be writing strategically unstoppable essays based on the Phase 2 Profile.
Phase 6: Supplemental paragraphs, short answers, etc.
With the skills developed so far, this will be the easiest and fastest phase. Since you'll actually have learned the skills, instead of having someone else do it for you, you'll fly through these.
Phase 7: Interview preparation.
Our interview training goes far beyond what you'll see anywhere else. We'll work on everything from vocal control and posture to how to control the direction of the conversation and create rapport.
Our interview training program has been used for McKinsey candidates, political candidates, and medical school candidates, in addition to college applicants. Your training will build on the profile development and clever thinking skills you worked on in the early phases.