OppNet College Essay Coach

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The Opportunity Network

  • 21 people are interested

Beginning in the spring of their junior year, students receive intensive one-on-one assistance with researching colleges, coming up with a well-balanced college list, completing their applications, and navigating the complex world of financial aid and scholarships. They visit a wide variety of college campuses and network with college admissions officers. Students take OppNet-subsidized test prep classes (SAT/ACT) and participate in essay-writing workshops. In the spring semester of their senior year, students complete OppNet’s College Transition curriculum and attend our week-long College Transition Boot Camp, in addition to receiving individualized support throughout their four years in college.

The Opportunity Network seeks talented, dedicated volunteers to work with their Class of 2019 on college personal statements and supplemental essays. Volunteers will be matched with one or two students to help them brainstorm, draft and edit their personal statements for college applications, as well as the supplemental college essays.

Volunteers will be trained by OppNet on:

  • The importance of the personal statement within the wider college application
  • What colleges want to learn about a student from the personal statement
  • The different aims of personal statement and supplemental essays
  • The best tone to use when editing and communicating with high school students

Volunteer responsibilities include:

  • Registering for an NYC GoPass, which serves as a background check to work with OppNet Fellows
  • Attend a 2-hour training session, run by OppNet, before meeting with matched students
  • Attend a 1-hour meet-and-greet with students, hosted by OppNet
  • Edit student essays electronically, using Microsoft Word’s track changes function or Google Drive, from September through December (an average of 15-20 hours per student)
  • Attend at least three essay workshops, hosted by OppNet, from October through December on selected Saturday mornings from 10am-1pm.

Volunteers should be able to commit 10-12 hours per month per student between August and December


To qualify, potential volunteers must have:

  • Clearance to work with minors via NYC GoPass (background check and fingerprints)
  • A passion for working with high-achieving, underserved students through the college essay process
  • A commitment to working with one to two students throughout the fall
  • Strong writing skills
  • A good grasp of a writer’s voice and how to channel it for effective writing, particularly how to help young writers narrow down the focus of their essays
  • Strong knowledge of English grammar, usage and punctuation rules (AP Style preferred)
  • A meticulous eye for spotting writing errors
  • The understanding that this volunteer process is only to help with essay writing and editing. The decision of where to apply is solely the function of the OppNet Fellow and OppNet staff


July 31, 2014 - The first round of volunteer applications are due. Selected applicants will be invited to proceed to the second round of evaluation.

During the month of August - Selected applicants will be interviewed by OppNet staff (primarily by phone). If invited to volunteer, applicants will provide OppNet with their GoPass, or will have to register for one through the city

End of August - College Essay Coaches finalized and matched with students

Late August, early September - Volunteers must attend an essay editing training workshop, which will be 2 hours long and hosted by OppNet and the Meet and Greet session, where they will meet the OppNet Fellows they will work with throughout the fall. After the Meet and Greet, volunteers and students will begin working on essay drafts through email correspondence.

October to December - Attend at least three essay editing workshops to work with matched students, held on selected Saturday mornings and hosted by OppNet. Volunteers will work directly with their matched students on personal statements and supplemental essays, as well as provide support and insight to other students, if and when available.


Interested applicants should email info@opportunitynetwork.org for details on how to become an Essay Coach.

If you have any questions, please contact Emmanuel Moses, Senior Manager of College Guidance at emmanuel@opportunitynetwork.org.

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