Sara Larner
They/She
Sara Larner

About

Hello, I'm Sara! I graduated cum laude from Columbia University's Barnard College, where I earned my Bachelors in English, then went on to University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, where I earned my Masters in Writing.

I became a college counselor after discovering the unique satisfaction of helping my students get into their dream schools. I'd been tutoring for five years already, and a few of my students asked for help with their college essays. When the acceptances began rolling in, I knew that I wanted to provide this service to others.

Two years later, with hundreds of hours of experience helping students in their college and graduate school applications, I am confident I can guide you through every step of this process, and teach you the techniques necessary to get into the school of your choice. In addition to my own Ivy League education, I've honed a results-focused method that has helped students earn acceptances everywhere from Yale to MIT. Using this ...

Sara helped students get into:
Yale UniversityMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Stanford UniversityColumbia University
Barnard CollegeUniversity of Southern California
University of California, Los AngelesUniversity of California, Berkeley
Yale University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stanford University
Columbia University
Barnard College
University of Southern California
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Berkeley
Sara helps with…
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Majors & Careers
Extracurriculars
Building a School List
Transfers
College Interviews
Waitlist & Deferral Assistance
UC Schools
Common App
Medicine
Law
Trade School & Vocational Pathways
Art & Music Portfolios
Highly Selective College Admissions
Standardized Tests (SAT/ACT)
College Applications & Essays
Admissions Timeline
School-Specific Supplemental Essays
Los Angeles
7 years of experience
Barnard College – BA | College of Columbia University - English with double concentrations in Film and Creative Writing, and a minor in Ancient Studies
University of Southern California – MFA | School of Cinematic Arts - Writing for Film and Television
Sociology
Anthropology
History
Communications
Film and Photography
Theater
Art
Design
Philosophy
Environmental Science
Linguistics
Creative Writing
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Students with ADHD
Volunteering
Community Organizing
Non-Traditional Students
English Literature
Graduate Admissions
Gifted and Talented Students
LGBTQ+ students
Fun Facts
📚
Favorite book
The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russel

📓
Favorite subject in school
Writing

🍴
Favorite food

🪄
Hobbies
Oil painting, animal & plant husbandry, and fandom

My process

Nobody wants to read an essay; everybody wants to read a story.

This is a tested and true concept, and lies at the core of my approach to college advising. I am happy to help you build your lists, look through scholarships, and every other aspect of college advising—but the core of what I do is that I make sure your essay is something the college admissions officials won't be able to put down. When that reader goes before the admissions committee and argues your case, I want them to care. I want them to be invested. Frankly, they have to be. When an application is being considered, three things can happen. First and most rarely, a student with an exceptional application may get passed directly to the admission director—in which case that essay will still need to be emotionally compelling. Second and most commonly, those who clearly don't make the cut will be rejected by the first essay reader. But most students will fall in between, and the reader who likes your application will have to argue your case in front of the admissions committee.

I want you to be the student that reader truly wants to admit. The one they fight for. The one they care about.

In our sessions, my approach depends on what you want and where you are at in your applications. In broad strokes, if you are at the start of things, then I will begin by discussing your entire application. We'll go over grades, extracurriculars, test-scores. We'll build a list of reach, target, and safety schools, and I'll build a schedule to get everything done by the desired deadlines (be that ED, EA, or regular decision). We'll begin brainstorming for the common app, and set aside stories that are likely to come up in supplementals. Together we'll map out a story, and you will then go write it out. Afterward, I will edit it, leaving comments to explain every suggested change. We'll repeat this process until we have something that you are truly proud of.

I'm also available to help with scholarship applications.

Please see my packages below for more details.

Essay review

Full Review

$25.00 + 7 cents per word
Estimated return time: 60 hours
  • Review your profile and the information provided
  • Review your essay draft
  • Offer detailed guidance for refining your essay topic and structure
  • Leave in-document feedback and changes
  • Correct grammar and punctuation (if applicable)
  • Provide a set of clear actionable next steps

Recent reviews

4.8(4 reviews)

“I thought I had written a really strong essay over the course of several drafts, but Sara made some great points that wouldn't have occurred to me. It just shows how a great editor can help you improve your work! I've already started revising it based on her suggestions. Thanks Sara!"

Nancy Forrest P.

“Extremely knowledgeable and helpful! She really knows how to take a draft and turn it into something wonderful. Highly recommend for essay help especially!"

Lily H.

“Useful and direct feedback... and she was prompt!"

Michael C.
Essay review
Take your essays to the next level
Select the review type that meets your goals and get detailed feedback on where your essay is strong and where it can improve.
Essay review
Take your essays to the next level
Select the review type that meets your goals and get detailed feedback on where your essay is strong and where it can improve.
Los Angeles
7 years of experience
Barnard College – BA | College of Columbia University - English with double concentrations in Film and Creative Writing, and a minor in Ancient Studies
University of Southern California – MFA | School of Cinematic Arts - Writing for Film and Television
Sociology
Anthropology
History
Communications
Film and Photography
Theater
Art
Design
Philosophy
Environmental Science
Linguistics
Creative Writing
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Students with ADHD
Volunteering
Community Organizing
Non-Traditional Students
English Literature
Graduate Admissions
Gifted and Talented Students
LGBTQ+ students
Fun Facts
📚
Favorite book
The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russel

📓
Favorite subject in school
Writing

🍴
Favorite food

🪄
Hobbies
Oil painting, animal & plant husbandry, and fandom
Tips for success
1. Prepare for your first session
Plan out the questions and topics you'd like to discuss. If you'd like to work together in the long term, discuss expectations for each other.