Our college admissions and writing consultants are experienced and know how to guide you towards your goals. Browse through their bios below.
Leah Kaminsky, Founder, Head Writing Specialist
When I tell people about my job, the first response I get is misery.
“I hated writing those applications,” people say, occasionally banging their heads against a wall for dramatic effect. “And I hate writing, too. How can you stand it?”
How can I stand it? Why, I wouldn’t do anything else.
I am a professional writer and editor with an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Washington and hundreds of articles and blogposts under my belt written for highly-trafficked, top name publications. With two schoolteachers for parents, I’ve been teaching for almost as long I’ve been writing. I quickly moved from helping peers to working in university tutoring programs to starting my own tutoring business in Seattle, WA. In all of these roles I helped raise student grades to the highest they could be and get my students into their top choice colleges. After moving to Austin, TX for a very cheesy reason (okay, if you must know, it was for love) I decided to take my business online with Just Start.
My philosophy is simple: my students know themselves better than anyone else. My job is not to tell them what to do but to help students sort through layers of conflicting thoughts, emotions and obligations to find what really makes them tick and write about it in the most engaging way.
As an expert in this field, I know the many narrative paths my students can take to get where they need to go. Together, we find which ones set their hearts aflutter (and that may mean not using words like “aflutter”).
I know, too, how stressful the writing and application process can be not just for students but for their parents as well. I tailor my approach for both, communicating as often and as in depth as needed. Each individual and family are unique, and so is the way I work.
My hope with this new online model is to help more people both nationally and internationally with their:
• APPLICATIONS to private high schools, college, graduate school (including law and medical), scholarship programs, medical residencies
• CREATIVE WRITING including short stories, novels, memoirs, personal essays and whatever we can dream up
• ACADEMIC WRITING including analytical essays, thesis statements, brainstorming, PhD, Master’s and Honors dissertations
• TEST PREP: SAT/ACT/ISEE verbal and writing sections. We also employ math and science tutors who can help with the other sections.
I already believe in you, so contact me today for your free consultation!
Jamie Oldham, Head College and Graduate School Admissions Coach
There aren’t many English Literature PhD candidates who will admit to loving young adult novels, but Jamie Oldham isn’t every PhD candidate.
What exactly should that mean to you? Jamie has a sharp creative and analytical mind - the kind that gets things done and gets ‘em done right - but she ain’t no fuddy duddy professor sitting up in her ivory tower ensconced in tweed. (And no offense to professors, here, though if you’re still wearing tweed, we’ve got a few things to talk about).
Jamie just “gets” her students. Her manner is firm yet compassionate, and she won’t shy away from a Twilight reference if it’ll help get her students on track.
That’s probably why her CV is bursting with counseling experience. As a Writing Consultant at the University of Washington’s Center for Learning and Undergraduate Education, Jamie helped students from all walks of life, including gifted, international and returning students, as well as those with a broad spectrum of learning disabilities. She has also worked in college transition programs, helping students learn the skills needed to help them survive in a college environment, both academically and socially.
As a college counselor with a history of success, Jamie considers herself an ally for students and families. She knows just how stressful this process can be, and seeks to make it fun for all involved.
What exactly does that mean? Jamie will:
Need more convincing about just how cool Jamie is? Well, when she is not working with students, she can be found devouring Young Adult novels that she thinks her students might like, cooking, scouring the city for Seattle’s best cappuccino and spending time with Bella, her best canine friend. She loves working at Just Start and thinks she might have the best job in the world.
Contact us to get started with Jamie today!