Taking care of the writing by taking care of the writer

Our Values
Blue hand reaching for a pencil, with a bird flying by.
photo: close-up of hand writing in notebook
foldable map

Instructive Companionship

The path from idea to final draft involves acts of imagination, honesty, precision, and revision. At the core of our practice are the instructive interactions we design to inspire and align these acts.

OUR PRACTICECONTACT US

photo, two Hillside coaches looking at laptop and talking.

Creative Insight

Each Hillside coach is an accomplished writer, teacher, and editor responsive to the emotional experiences of writing. We model close attention and honest self-reflection.

OUR COACHES

The Story Inside

Founder Allan Reeder demonstrates how to close the distance between you and your reader by writing from inside of your experience. This is an excerpt from our free webinar, “Launching the Uncommon College-App Essay,” which helps writers move beyond head-scratching or doubt and into the confidence of having a specific and personally meaningful story to share. 
Watch webinar

Ways to Work with Hillside

Our coaching services reflect our belief in writing as a lifelong pursuit.

Our support for application-essay writers ranges from single exploratory sessions to comprehensive one-on-one courses.

We cultivate a lively and imaginative artistic connection that is serious about pursuing the art of writing with fun and inventive approaches.

boy in room with computer and notebook, writing.

Whether providing a new writer with instruction and inspiration or an established author with feedback and direction, we uncover opportunities for progress.

African American woman leaning against tree and writing in notebook.

In live talks, webinars, and junior class workshops, founder Allan Reeder opens fresh ways of seeing and thinking for students embarking on college-app writing.

Founder Allan Reader giving a talk, standing in front of a screen with an illustration of a brain surrounded by the words: objects, images

What Clients Are Writing About Hillside Support

I was blown away by what Hillside helped my son to accomplish. I wasn't privy to anything but the final work. His essay really captures his personality. I almost had tears reading it. He is not a kid who uses superlatives, but he raved about the assistance and advice. I can't thank you enough for all your help.
Parent, Newbury, MA
Thank you so much for being an integral part of our daughter's growth and burgeoning intellect, for teaching her to weave together the different aspects of her life and articulate what they have taught her. What you do is powerful and a blessing to all of us. We are so thankful to have made this connection with Hillside.
Parent, Goa, India
Thank you so much for all of your help, support, and encouragement in this challenging time for me. It meant a lot to know that you believed in me and in what I had to say. I will always laugh at that pessimistic kid who said he did not have anything to write about.
Student, Lexington, MA
I really appreciate your focus on process. You've encouraged my daughter to slow down, and in doing so allowed space for reflection and self-discovery. I think that with teenagers, especially girls, the tendency is to deflect attention away from yourself. Looking inward is inherently more challenging.
Parent, Sudbury, MA
You’ve been an invaluable mentor, kindling in me a passion not only for words but also for the often overlooked images in daily life and complexities in characters. Thank you for your meticulous and innovative coaching!
Writer, Los Angeles, CA
My daughter had never had such one-on-one instruction, and I think your very thoughtful, gentle, and inquisitive approach to helping her express herself was a tremendous gift to give her. You always made her feel that her thoughts and impressions were important. I'm so thankful for the attention you paid.
Parent, Wellesley, MA
Our son feels that his writing has improved enormously from working with you. His confidence has certainly been boosted. What a great experience for him!
Parent, Belmont, MA
We are always spreading the word about the transformative experience you provide at Hillside!
Parent, Cambridge, MA

The Latest from Hillside

Engineering the Sentence

In eighth grade, I took an elective to prep for a yearly STEM competition. I was eager to build rubber-band-powered airplanes and roller coasters, but as we filed in on Day One, there were no materials or tools to be found. Instead, the teacher divided us into pairs. One of us had to describe an object, the other had to draw it.

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Each Sentence a Brushstroke

After I bought my son his first set of good paintbrushes, the All-Knowing Algorithm spammed my social media with time-lapse videos of artists painting. As a writer, I can’t help it — I see metaphors for writing everywhere. I thought ... that's just like writing!

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Diving Deep

I once helped a college applicant who wrote beautifully about a terrible place to swim. It was a stretch of bay marked by strong currents, stinging sea lice, and a pungent smell when the tide stole the water altogether. 

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