Time passes very quickly. Tommy was in his last year of high school when I first met Nancy. I heard from friends that Nancy was an open-minded writer who was full of enthusiasm about children and exploring the educational environment. I had the good fortune of getting Nancy to help Tommy in his writing. It was different from the writing tutorial I expected because Nancy mostly encouraged Tommy to use his own views and thoughts to express himself. She said that she only played the role of a blender, letting her students’ thoughts erupt like soda as she shook it. Due to this, Tommy was constantly submitting his writing for publication at his school and professional literary magazines in the United States. He got published every time, and this made Tommy very excited. He began to like independent thinking and started to read a lot. 

Then, Nancy left China. Like most kids, Tommy entered the intense defiant period, and he was extremely defiant. In the end, he did not even want to write his college application letters. I felt helpless, and like all mothers who were eager for their sons’ success, I was in a flurry, running around in circles. I wrote to Nancy. The good news was that Nancy had opened up a small learning center for college applications, and Tommy was willing to fly to the United States to study with her. By this time, he had grown up, but had sprouted thorns everywhere. He was no longer the obedient high school boy. Even so, after ten days with Nancy’s “blending machine” and her patient provocation and inspiration, Nancy was pleased when Tommy finally wrote a few pages of sincere, extremely profound writing that touched her. This excessively defiant high school student who caused his mother constant tears with his extremely inconsistent academic results, finally caused USC to make an exception and accept him for late admission. This all came about because of the sincerity and profundity of his writing and the unconventional thoughts he expressed in the application forms.

I want to say that perhaps the foundation of education is to arouse the passion, and writing surges from the root of a child’s soul. Nancy has accomplished that. I don’t know the details of how she did it, but I know that my son always says that there is a magic stick in Nancy’s hand which can turn her students into kaleidoscopes. Now, Tommy is completely immersed in the kaleidoscope of his creative writing. He is no longer the defiant high school student, but a writer who has found his passion. He is an observer, recording the realities of life. He has said, “There are too many students in school who complete their studies for a certificate. It was Nancy who inspired my previous undetected passion for literary writing, and in the process enabled me to acquire the ability to engage in unconventional independent thinking. This allows me to completely immerse myself in my college classes, and now I like engaging with more professors and interacting with our unique sensitivities to our surroundings.”

As a mother who has gone through a son’s defiance to see his surprising acceptance by USC, I think I am qualified to say that it is fortunate that my son got to know Nancy. Nancy uses her unique charm to inspire her students to learn to become unconventional independent thinkers as they learn to write. This has allowed me – now the mother of a grown boy – to see what every mother wishes to see. Now, Tommy is not just another USC student who studies in a hodgepodge manner to obtain a certificate, but he really likes his disciplinary studies and finds joy in them. He often says, “There are a lot of challenges, but that is the fun of it.”

Thank you, Nancy. Because of you, Tommy has become a part of USC, and you have allowed a mother to witness her son really finding his passion.

Sherry Zhang

I was unsure of my writing and the whole college essay process. I am not very confident in writing and wasn’t sure where to start on the essays that just seemed so stressful. Nancy helped me to show my voice in my writing and ultimately that this process isn’t as stressful as it seems. Nancy helped me develop my own voice by talking with me about things I am passionate about, things that I would never imagine writing about. She asked me to form drafts of these topics and made slight modifications, mostly grammar and rearranging sentences, and combining different writings of mine. In the end I got accepted into Carleton College! My essays would have been way worse and Nancy definitely helped me get into Carleton.

Aiden, Carleton College '23

My son grew up in three different countries, Korea, China, and the U.S., and came into the college application process quite anxious about his writing. As a third culture kid, he is often reluctant to talk about his experiences because they mark him as different. But for the college admissions process, it’s important to be able to tell a good story about yourself in your own voice. Nancy guided him through brainstorming, helping him to see how unique and interesting his stories were and encouraging him to find his own voice on the page. She helped him through the entire process of writing, revising, and editing, keeping him on schedule and talking through his fears, sometimes during panicked late night calls and texts. Her calm, thoughtful presence throughout the process of writing essays helped our child immensely and took a great deal of pressure off of the parent-child relationship! We can’t thank her enough! 

Jennifer Lee

Nancy was terrific with my daughter. She was honest, supportive, and helped her develop her ideas in a clear, concise manner. Their work together enabled my daughter to develop and share her ideas with a professional with confidence. After her essay was developed she decided on her own to expand her applications to different colleges and art schools. It was as if in the process of writing her essay she found a path to follow as well as her own voice

Ultimately, Nancy helped her find a voice that resonated well with the colleges she applied to. She’s been accepted to every single one so far, including Simmons College (with an $80k merit package), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (with a $54,600k merit package), and the University of Oregon. We can’t thank her enough!

Kristin L. Mother of a freshman

I engaged Nancy to help my son’s college essay writing because of her incredible reputation as a writing coach in our local community center. Her enthusiasm, energy and humor are contagious. My son connected with her instantly. She helped my son expand his thinking and build up his confidence tremendously from early on. By involving both me and my son in the brainstorming process, she uncovered hidden value in an old story when my son gave an a-cappella performance in 7th grade. The theme was turned into a great essay that highlighted my son’s voice and dreams. Nancy’s help is instrumental to my son getting in early to his dream school. I recommend her without hesitation. 

Jasmin L., Shanghai, Mother of Brown ’14 graduate

Nancy was instrumental in helping me ultimately get accepted into my dream school. At the early stages of brainstorming, her warm friendliness made me feel very comfortable to share my thoughts and anecdotes. Her creative writing expertise and techniques also helped me overcome my own blocks of nervousness and hesitations. But most incredible was Nancy’s ability to perfect my incongruous raw ideas with the simplest of phrases, refining my drafts into a coherent story, my story, which presented the best of me. I could never have crafted my essay without her, and I am tremendously grateful for her help.

Clarence, Brown University

Our Newsletter