Erika Robinson
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Intro


Erika Robinson
Lifelong Educator

Teacher & Mentor

College Admissions Expert

Princeton & Columbia Admission Officer

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Intro


Erika Robinson
Lifelong Educator

Teacher & Mentor

College Admissions Expert

Princeton & Columbia Admission Officer

Erika Profile Picture.jpg

"The trick to the College Essay is to understand that it is a genre unto itself...

... This is not a creative writing exercise. One's essay must be simultaneously concise and compelling. I have written my own college essays. I have helped my daughter with hers. I have brainstormed and edited thousands more as a high school English teacher. Finally, I have read thousands of these essays as Asst. Director of Admissions at Princeton and Columbia Universities. It is an art form, one that will be assessed by Admissions Officers who will spend, on average, fifteen minutes per application. There is little margin for error, since it is, to paraphrase, the single chance to make a first impression. Admissions is a subjective business. There is no numerical formula for how to achieve entrance into the college of one's dreams. The one thing I know for sure, however, is that the application can hinge on the essay, and that is the one thing which is totally in the student's control. Rather than seeing this as an intimidating process, I choose to help students understand what a wonderful opportunity the essay is for the student to have a strong hand in charting their own course."

 

Erika is a passionate Educator & an experienced Ivy League admission officer

She has taught high school students both inside and outside of the classroom, reviewed thousands of applications for Princeton University and Columbia University, and has consulted for many education organizations.

Erika is currently an Senior College Admissions Consultant at ThinkIVY & Board Member at Educatrium.

 
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About


Talk the Talk,
Walk the Walk

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About


Talk the Talk,
Walk the Walk

Education


Harvard University

Bachelors in English

Episcopal Divinity School

Masters in Divinity

Nightingale Bamford

First Black Minority Student

Admissions Roles


Princeton University

Assisstant Director of Admissions

Columbia University

Assisstant Director of Admissions

St. Paul's School

Assisstant Director of Admissions

Teaching & More


Educatrium (ThinkIVY)

Senior College Admissions Consultant

The Armory Foundation

College Admissions Consultant

Red Bank Regional High School

AP English & Lang. Composition Teacher

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Testimonials


Testimonials

"Erika Robinson was instrumental in helping our two children articulate their ideas and write their college essays, leading to acceptance to two Ivy League schools."

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Testimonials


Testimonials

"Erika Robinson was instrumental in helping our two children articulate their ideas and write their college essays, leading to acceptance to two Ivy League schools."

I think we all approach the college admission process from a very objective viewpoint, which, to a great extent, is not true. Subjective aspects of our application matter tremendously, and Erika ma'am ensured that I was able to convey these aspects to perfection. I had always known the topic I wanted to work on, but couldn't put my thoughts on paper in a way that reflected who I actually was. Erika ma'am enabled me to let go of my worries, and proceed steadily towards achieving the essay I desired. She ensured that my personality was adequately reflected by my application, so that I could actually pop out of my essay and present my passions, idiosyncrasies, ideas myself. I was facing some problems in squeezing all my, often weakly related, ideas within the word limit; Erika ma'am ensured that I could convey all that I wanted to within that one page, without making the transitions between ideas too jarring or disruptive. In fact, I believe that my writing skills have improved a lot during the process. My sessions with ma'am has engendered within me the confidence to articulate my ideas cohesively. Working with ma'am has been a delight, and her guidance has enabled me to gain acceptance into two Ivy League colleges, and that too as an academic scholar.
– Soham Class of 2020 (Indian National)
After the stressful process of submitting application, waiting for selective interview invitations, reflecting on rejections and waitlists one after one, pondering how to move forward, my application season has finally come to an end. I understand that my limitations in scientific research experience, the intense competition among Chinese applicants, and the fact that my high school is a new, non-target school, all make it extremely difficult for me to be accepted. However, I am fortunate to be offered admission by three universities I applied to, of course aided greatly by you in my essays. I am proud to be accepted by Wesleyan University with Freeman Asian Scholarship, which is awarded to only one Chinese student among several hundred Chinese applicants, New York University Abu Dhabi with full-ride scholarship, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I received selective interview invitation (15 Chinese students invited only) from Amherst college, and even though I was eventually waitlisted, the interview invitation still makes me feel proud. I believe your help with my “Little Prince” essay added a lot. I accepted to stay on the waitlist of University of Chicago, Amherst College and Williams College and declined others, because they only waitlist a very small portion of applicants according to their common data set, which gives me some chance. Again, all of these wouldn't be possible without your helpful advices and instructions.
– Dax Class of 2020 (Chinese National)
Erika really helped me a lot in our writing sessions, which greatly improved my essays and other application materials. Before our first talk, Erika read two different versions of my personal statement drafts. Then when we skyped the first time, Erika pointed out a question I had never even thought about, that is, which prompt I was going to answer. After several email correspondence with Erika, I began to understand that choosing the right prompt is actually critical in writing a good personal statement essays. Then with the suggestions from Erika, I carefully thought about each prompt, and whether my essay can be fit into it. At first, I approached the essay in a creative writing tone, in order to convey my ideas in a form of story-telling. I was even being stubborn after Erika told me to change the story-telling tone to a reflective tone. Having a difficult time deciding which prompt to answer and which tone to write, I was struggling with great pressure and stress. During my second talk with Erika, I finally realized how a reflective writing style can help convey my ideas and beliefs effectively. In that pep talk, Erika didn't just taught me how to write the essay itself, but also how tho cope with the tremendous and stressful task of writing essay. I took Erika's advice and gave myself a night off to relax, and find the right feeling for the new essay. It turned out this relaxation was great help, I wrote the essay the next day with an unprecedentedly fresh mind. Then, Erika helped me edit the new draft into an elegant and clear essay. In my writing of Yale's supplementary essays. Erika first helped me to brainstorm some unique qualities that might be good topics of this essay, such as my last name. Then we discussed how to turn my original “identity” essay into a more specific and personal “Mao” essay. Even though I finished the new draft of this essay quite close to the deadline, Erika worked very hard to help me edit it so that I could submit on time. I really appreciate all the effort. Generally speaking, Erika was warm and kind, and has exceptional mastery in brainstorming ideas and editing essays. It is my greatest pleasure and privilege to work with Erika, who taught me not just writing, but many important lessons like keeping the word limit and learning to internalize sustainability beliefs.
– Zheng Class of 2020 (Chinese National)
I am writing to recommend, as highly as possible, that you use Erika Robinson as an SAT tutor for your child. You cannot argue with results, and the results Erika achieved with our daughter were stunning. In two sittings, she scored a 730 on the English portion of the test, and a 720 on the grammar/writing section. While we do think our daughter contributed somewhat to her own score, there is no question that she could not have achieved such a score without Erika's assistance.

Erika made her feel comfortable, which was critical to our somewhat shy daughter. Listening to what Erika told her to do, following her plan, and completing plenty of practice tests, helped give our daughter the confidence that she would maximize her score.

Because of her high scores, our daughter received several offers for merit scholarships from several colleges, as high as $25,000 per year. Needless to say, the money spent on Erika was one of the best investments we could have made.
– Dave & Lynn Roberts (USA Student's Parents)
Erika Robinson was instrumental in helping our two children articulate their ideas and write their college essays, leading to acceptance to two Ivy League schools. The support and guidance provided to them by Ms. Robinson led to unique, insightful and poignant college essays that we understand to be a crucial component for the college application and acceptance process. Ms. Robinson's keen ability was also helpful to build confidence for our daughter who needed to prepare for a college entrance exam. Her creative direction regarding homework assignments and working through sample examination questions led to excellent preparation and thus passing of this test. We appreciate the effort and specialized attention that Erika Robinson gave to both of our children and know that their ultimate success was helped greatly due to her mentorship.
– Michael & Shoshanna Katzman (USA Student's Parents)
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Process


Mentoring Process

"I am good at putting students at ease, helping them generate ideas, and to communicate on paper in ways they did not realize themselves capable of prior to working with me."

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Process


Mentoring Process

"I am good at putting students at ease, helping them generate ideas, and to communicate on paper in ways they did not realize themselves capable of prior to working with me."

 

My goal in helping students to craft their college essays is several fold:

  1. To help students think reflectively about themselves.
  2. To teach students the differences between bragging and sharing with Admissions Committees who they are, what they have accomplished to date, and who they hope to become.
  3. To help students produce essays which are elegant, honest, and compelling.
  4. To have students come away from the experience feeling whole, empowered, and that they are better writers than they were before this collaborative effort.

I want to be clear from the start...

I would never ghostwrite a student's essay. That is both inauthentic and unethical. It also does not teach a student to write - one of my primary goals.

Towards this end, I ask the student to consider which prompts they would like to address in their essays. If this is difficult to narrow down, I usually suggest a Skype conference, where together we can narrow down which prompts to choose and what direction to take. Once this is decided, the student will write a first draft, and then send it to me as a Word Document. Upon receipt, I will write both marginal comments on the draft as well as a commentary which will address issues of tone and substance. The student will then rewrite, as per my suggestions. Upon receipt of this second draft, I will do whatever polishing is still necessary, attaching a commentary, if necessary, to explain my revisions. In my experience, only two drafts are necessary to produce a polished essay.

 

Contact


Initial 1-on-1 Session

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