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About the Program

Below is a timeline of the ZhenEd Essay Tutoring program, which features all of our writing services. The tutoring program is designed to help students achieve the following three objectives:

  • Develop critical thinking skills

  • Clearly articulate expository and persuasive arguments

  • Win creative writing awards at national competitions

Most essay tutoring classes are typically taught in groups of 2, although we do offer private sessions as well.

Regarding groups of 2, we do not pair students — they must sign up with another student or friend they already know. This is because after years of experience, we have found that students work best when they have a partner they’re familiar with!

 

Please note that the ZhenEd Essay Tutoring program is just one out of many journeys you can take with us! We support a wide range of students with varying writing goals. For example, some students take only our creative writing courses while others want to improve their overall writing skills. Please see our FAQ section for more information. 

All tutoring sessions are held over Zoom and typically meet once a week.

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Pricing

  • Pricing for hourly 1-on-1 writing sessions is $100 USD/hr.

  • If your student has a partner, they can split this rate so that each student pays $50 USD/hr.

  • For students in grades 8 and below, we also offer 3-person groups for $33 USD/hr (however, this option is not recommended for high schoolers since writing assistance at this stage often requires a more personalized approach). 

  • Typically students pay for 5 or 10 sessions at a time, but if you prefer to pay for 1-2 trial lessons before committing, we totally understand and can arrange this option for you!

Phase 1: Intro to Analytical Writing

This course is designed in a way such that, on average, students read one novel every two weeks. As they read, students are expected to write 200-250 word persuasive arguments analyzing the author’s style, language and intentions. Students will also learn about ZhenEd's important analytical writing techniques, such as Red vs. Blue and the Logical Chain.

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Because most students have not experienced this kind of training, mastering analytical paragraphs (in other words, completing both Phase 1 and 2) can take anywhere from six months to a year. By the end of this course, students will have a strong foundation of analytical writing skills. We find it most helpful for students to begin Phase 1 during the spring so they are on track with submitting to analytical essay competitions in the summer if they wish. They will also be prepared for the creative writing courses and competitions like the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in the fall and winter.

 
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Phase 2: Advanced Analytical Writing

This course introduces students to writing longer-form essays that tackle a controversial question and/or conducting original and personal analyses of an issue. Students will learn how to avoid narrating an issue and instead take an active position on it. They will also learn topics such as researching, critiquing arguments, logical fallacies, and writing critical analyses for specific subjects (e.g. humanities and social sciences).

By the end of this course, students will be thoroughly prepared for analytical writing competitions.

 

We find it most helpful for students to begin Phase 2 in the summer as this is when most analytical writing competitions are held.

 
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Phase 3: Intro to Creative Writing

In this course, students will complete a series of “Picture Paragraphs” which consist of describing a photo in as much detail as possible while avoiding “telling” language. While doing the picture assignments, students will learn about ZhenEd's many creative writing techniques such as Domino Transitions, the Lens Technique, and Pattern Stacking. By the end of this course, students should be well-equipped to begin writing personal narratives and original stories.

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We find it most helpful for students to begin Phase 3 during the summer/fall to prepare for the many creative writing competitions and summer program deadlines in the winter.

 
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Phase 4: Advanced Creative Writing

In this course, students will take their skills with intuition and descriptive language and use them to write full-fledged stories that are well-structured and beautiful in meaning. Students will study masterworks of fiction and nonfiction and learn to identify elements of structure that they can use for their own stories. They will also learn new skills including revision, framing, subject, exposition, and plotting.

By the end of this course, students will have a diverse skill set of creating writing knowledge, along with a portfolio of works they can submit to competitions. 

 

We find it most helpful for students to begin Phase 4 during the winter which is when most creative writing competitions and summer programs/schools have deadlines.

 
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Phase 5: Summer Program Applications

In addition to analytical and creative writing, we also help students apply to summer programs! By this point, students should be ready to combine personal narratives with analytical reflection to write applications that demand admission into the program of their choice. In the past, our students have been accepted to the Brown Pre-College programs, the Global Citizens Initiative, the Iowa Young Writers Studio, and more! If applicable, experienced students may opt to enroll in only the summer program service.

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The best time to begin preparing for summer program applications is in December-February, as most summer program deadlines typically fall around March. The number of sessions required for each application varies, although it is recommended students typically book a minimum of 3 hours with a ZhenEd consultant.

 
 

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