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Welcome to the Capstone site for my pursuit of the College Access Counseling certificate from Rice University. This portfolio highlights key learnings and accomplishments from my time in this program. Thanks for taking the time to review! 

Coaching Philosophy

At MN College Essay Coach, we apply the same communication principles used by top global companies and their executives to students’ college admissions essays, because every student deserves to know they put their very best foot forward in their college application.

We believe a student’s essays are one of the most critical aspects of their application, because it’s the chance for the admissions committee to hear from the student – in their own words – about what they’d bring to the university. Given the importance, it’s critical for students to receive strategic communications guidance to make the most of each essay opportunity.


To help students stand out from the crowd through their essays, we guide them through a proprietary, 7-step process that centers around elevating their essay content through key messages. Why do we take this approach? Because, as corporate communicators for the past 17 years, our team understands the importance of deciding in advance what you want to talk about, and making that message really clear.

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Stef Tschida


There’s a reason that celebrities, politicians, and corporate executives all use key messages during media interviews. Key messages help the speaker respond to the question they’re asked but then bridge to what they want to convey, which they’ve carefully thought through in advance. We help the students we work with do the same – regardless of the essay prompt they’re responding to, they learn how to answer the question while reinforcing what they want to proactively communicate about their accomplishments and what makes them unique.


Elevating a student’s message also helps them resist the temptation to pepper the admissions committee with all the things they’ve done – which many of the high-achieving students we work with desperately want to do. By tying accomplishments together into bigger themes, we help students do the hard mental work for the admissions committee and stand out from the crowd through effective communication. While creating key messages requires more work upfront, they serve as the blueprint for most any essay question the student will encounter throughout the admissions process – making the application process less labor intensive when the time comes.


Finally, MN College Essay Coach exists to help every high school student have a chance to go to college – not just the affluent families who can afford our services. That’s why we provide free 1:1 coaching services to five low income, first-generation college applicants each year, and we look forward to expanding this to serve even more deserving students in the future.

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