1) My experience with Cynthia West was exceptional. For the first time in my life, someone understood how I read and write. I am passionate about both. That said, I knew, and Cynthia knew, that my writing could use some work for short and simple essays like the SAT Writing Section, and, importantly, for my college entrance essay. Cynthia was never harsh or judgmental, but patient and kind in helping me revise my writing, while allowing and encouraging me to discover where I wanted my essays to go. My SAT Writing score definitely did go up, and Cynthia's help in editing my college essay made the difference in its quality and reception in the Claremont McKenna admissions department, where I was admitted Early Decision. I am completing my first semester as a freshman there, and refer to her advice and guidance with every written assignment. I know Cynthia certainly helped me become a better writer and self-editor, but she, also, gave me self confidence through her encouragement, praise and mentoring. Thank you so much Cynthia, I wish you the best, and thank you for all you did for me. Calla C., California
2) I would like to offer my highest recommendation and great appreciation for the services provided by Cynthia West in helping our son identify appropriate university options, prepare his college application materials, especially essays, and prepare him for interviews. We first saw Cynthia at a free presentation she provided at the Chapel Hill Public Library. We were impressed enough that we contacted her as our son, a junior, was beginning this process. Throughout this time, Cynthia has always been accessible, responsive, engaged and supportive.
Cynthia exudes calm in a very stressful situation. To each family, she brings an extensive knowledge and personal experience with the college admissions process, along with professional writing and speaking skills. In our situation, our son was a high achiever who at first was unsure of the type of school or program he wanted. He was shy and under tremendous pressure with a very rigorous school schedule with the added stress of being a key player in a varsity sport. He was overwhelmed.
Cynthia cut through the pressure. Her focus was on a personal, non-threatening connection with him, at his pace and with taking his direction. At the same time, she provided calm support and advice – the type of guidance he needed to produce a solid, well-written, personal essay and to develop his own criteria on what type of school he wanted. She also worked closely with us, communicating often and providing the same type of support, encouragement, substantive and candid advice, and overall balanced guidance. Her school recommendations were very valuable in identifying schools that were a good fit our son in terms of both academics and personality. She became a touch-stone. Maureen Berner, UNC Professor, Chapel Hill, NC
3) My son has had difficulty expressing himself in writing from the beginning. Cynthia connected with him by discovering his personal interests. This connection made their tutoring sessions for college essays enjoyable and allowed him to improve his written and oral communication skills. Cynthia also has an in depth knowledge of ACT and SAT test taking strategies and preparation. This knowledge readied him for these tests and made them much less overwhelming. We are thankful for what she helped our son accomplish. A Chapel Hill, NC Family
4) Ms. West's knowledge of what is expected of students in this competitive educational environment, and the pressures under which they must excel, is unparalleled. She has an astonishing ability to help them face the realities of the system, but still maintain their own voice and identity. Her efforts with my daughter ranged from tackling life long hand writing "scribble", to giving her permission to bring her own unique thoughts and experiences to the page. She came to the table, every single time, full of energy and compassion, ready to look you in the eye and bring out the best. Without a doubt, the best tutor I've ever met. Melanie Cameron, Branford, CT
5) I never really enjoyed writing and found it difficult to express my ideas clearly, until I worked with Cynthia. It was a long process, though worth every penny as I not only gained admission to University of Pennsylvania but also became a self-confident writer who actually takes pride in my own writing now. Cynthia asked lots of questions and really listened to my responses as a way to understand my intentions. From there, she would illustrate how to include them in my Personal Statement to grad schools. Her exercises and explanations helped me in editing my own writing. She is patient, persistent, and has a great sense of humor. A University of Pennsylvania student
6) We sought Cynthia’s tutoring services for our daughter to supplement the language arts program at her middle school. We wanted our daughter to possess the skills necessary to write effectively for a variety of purposes. From our very first meeting with Cynthia, we knew she was the right resource. She was warm, friendly, and had a genuine desire to help our daughter. Cynthia set a most positive tone and developed a wonderful rapport with our daughter. She is incredibly knowledgeable and clearly loves to work with students. In addition to helping our daughter create marked improvements in her writing skills, Cynthia also aided her to develop and strengthen her study habits. Our daughter never left a tutoring session without feeling energized, inspired, and reassured. In sum, our daughter is a better writer and a better student because of Cynthia. She nurtured her love for learning, and we will forever be appreciative of the life changing experience she has given our daughter. Cynthia is a truly gifted teacher. A Chapel Hill Parent
7) When I first met Cynthia, I was a high school student taking AP English language and literature courses. I was never a poor student. Yet, with a boatload of course work, exams, and college applications, focusing in on all the material could get overwhelming. So I was referred to Cynthia for assistance. Tutoring sessions with Cynthia were never overwhelming. She always greeted me with a cheerful smile and created a comfortable learning environment. Whatever concepts we tackled that day, she made the information easy to digest. This also helped in my preparations for the SATs and college in general. Cynthia was patient yet challenged me to be a more observant reader and a more confident writer. She helped me to not only dissect the literary material I was working on but also gain a far greater understanding and appreciation for the English language than I would have in the classroom alone. It is in large part due to Cynthia’s guidance that I even considered, and went on to pursue, a career in journalism. Jennifer, New York City
8) It is with Ms. West’s guidance that our son’s writing is at a new level. Whether it is with his English essays, history papers, science reports, the writing portion of the SAT’s or the many college essays required these days, she did not disappoint. From start to finish she would ask the appropriate questions to help him think through what his intent was and how he might best organize and clearly state his thoughts on paper. Using one’s own words and style to communicate clearly and effectively is a process. It is with her patience, understanding and expertise our son has become a more confident and cogent writer. In a very short period of time his B/B+’s became A’s. We wish we had known someone like Cynthia West was out there earlier! A family in Southport, CT
9) Our son found his experience with Cynthia very satisfying, which produced positive results with his writing skills, SAT scores, and overall self-confidence. She balances compassion with rigor and comes well-prepared for each tutoring session. She has a knack for analyzing what's not working and then figuring out what's needed to improve. We are grateful for her patience and expertise. A Duke parent
10) I have had sessions with Cynthia in two different subject areas. 1) Personal Statement for the graduate school application and 2) GMAT Verbal sections. Working in both subjects, I appreciated that Cynthia made an effort to get to know me, understand my goals, and incorporate them into articulate writing. Also, speaking out loud helped me to organize my thoughts. By being genuinely interested in me as a person, Cynthia helped to bring out those thoughts that solidified and supported my ideas. Through the process, I learned how to be a more careful editor of my own writing. The result: I was offered an admission to Columbia University’s SIPA program. Though getting in was certainly great news, the process of working with Cynthia was a great experience in itself! Thank you Cynthia. Soo Yeon, Hong Kong