Writing the Common Application Essay is a nerve-wracking and complex process for students. What does a college want to know about me? Do I tell them I have diabetes? Is being captain of my soccer team too cliche? Can I use a story about my Science Fair project if I didn’t win? How do I write a compelling essay that expresses my unique voice and personality?

These questions are not easy to answer for teenagers, but with the help of writing tutors, Cathy Colglazier and Kate Lewis, students can learn to navigate the college application essay process and find the right topics for their essays. They might even enjoy the experience, regardless of how reluctant they are as writers.

Cathy has worked as a writing tutor with Inspiring Test Prep for over ten years. She is a former English teacher and department chair at both TJHSST and McLean High School.
Kate has worked as a writing tutor with Inspiring Test Prep for over a year, and after her years at TJHSST, earned a MFA at George Mason University, later becoming a professor at both GMU and Northern Virginia Community College.

Former students would characterize Cathy and Kate as
“Teen Whisperers” as they easily establish a rapport with
their students. The process then becomes one where the
students’ voices emerge -and not the tutor or parents

These essays are critical parts of the admissions folder, giving colleges insight into who the applicant is and whether the school is a good fit for them.

With Cathy’s and Kate’s help, students will polish their personal writing and become strategic in their choice of topics. Using effective language, correct grammar, and diction are, of course, essential, but compelling and insightful content is crucial for a successful essay. Colleges want the essays to answer the question “Who are you?”

The tutors will work with your student on an individual basis to achieve polished essays for their application portfolio.

For questions or to schedule an appointment call Cathy at 703-628-2348 or
Kate at 571-344-2156.

Their fee is $150 per session with packets of four sessions being the suggested choice ($600). The number of sessions needed depends on the number of colleges the student is applying to, as well as the writing skill of the student. The tutors accept Venmo, but will arrange other modes of payment, if needed.

Cathy and Kate also work with students applying to private school, TJHSST, graduate school, medical and law school, summer internships, and scholarships.

If you want essay instruction
please contact Cathy Colglazier and Kate Lewis directly.

Do not contact Kate Dalby for essay instruction.
Mrs. Dalby only coaches the math portion of the TJ entrance exam.
Her email is kvs@katedalby.com.

Cathy Colglazier earned a BA in English from UCLA and a MS in education from the University of Tennessee. She has also completed post-graduate courses at Harvard Graduate School of Education, the University of Montana, and George Mason University. During her 40-year career, Cathy taught at several college preparatory high schools across the United States, including Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and McLean HS (Virginia), Oak Ridge HS (Tennessee), Brookline HS (Massachusetts) Lawrenceville HS (New Jersey), and Rosemead and Mt.Pleasant HS (CA). She was department chair at both TJHSST and McLean HS. After retiring, Cathy began work as a private tutor, specializing in the college application essay and expository writing.

Cathy Colglazier – Writing Instructor

Kate Lewis earned her Master of Education and Master of Fine Arts (Creative Writing) degrees from George Mason University. After teaching English at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, she taught literature and composition courses at George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College. Since retiring from the classroom, Kate tutors students in essay writing, specializing in college application essays.




Kate Lewis – Writing Instructor