Dear School Administrators:

“Adolescence, roughly defined as the period between the onset of puberty and maturity, may last from age 10 to age 25. During this period of rapid growth, American adolescents live in a precarious middle ground between the innocence and immaturity of childhood and the responsibility and accountability of adulthood.”  (ADOLESCENT BRAIN DEVELOPMENT & JUVENILE JUSTICE FACT SHEET)

Sound familiar? In writing this is what we call conflict and it will produce memorable and effective writing when properly structured and focused.  PITCH PERFECT: How to Write a Successful College Admission Essay directly engages teenagers and tells them, “Write an essay that represents you in all your conflict, crisis and resolution.”

 I taught high school English for twelve years in schools ranging from a CPS high school scheduled to be closed, to Advanced Placement Literature at New Trier one of the highest-ranking schools in the nation. The determining factor in whether these students’ writing was effective and authentic was if they felt engaged and understood. Adolescent identity is a significant factor in effective writing and PITCH PERFECT is written to support and encourage adolescents to discover their authentic voices and use that discovery to write excellent essays.

I love teenagers. My experience with at-risk students, privileged students and everything in between is that they are ready to leave the safety of high school but also terrified. By tapping into this natural ambiguity about their futures and encouraging them to look at who they are now and how they reached this point, PITCH PERFECT gives them a unique perspective from which to write a powerful college admission essay. It also provides a framework to help them take their ideas, turn them into strong rough drafts and then edit, proofread and revise to produce something memorable.

Buy this book for your juniors so they can start journaling and try the writing exercises over the summer. I would love to visit in the fall and lead workshops with your seniors. We will discuss who they are and what they hope to become. And then we will write.




Molly Moynahan