Resident Feature

Guiding High Schoolers to College Success

Each fall, for over 15 years, Berkeley and MIT graduate Diana Daymond has guided high school seniors to craft effective personal college essays on these topics and more. 

“Tell me about yourself!” 

“How have your leadership skills contributed to your community? 

“What have you learned from a challenge or setback?” 

“How have you independently explored your academic interests? 

“All of our strong local high school students qualify and apply for the UC’s,” says Diana. “But the top campuses only accept 14- 36% of applicants. Now that they do not consider test scores, effectively sharing your story makes a huge difference in admissions.” 

Writing an effective personal narrative can be a game changer when applying to college and looking for a job. High school English classes focus on expository writing and school college counselors may have hundreds of students to guide. Parents and students come to Diana for her specialized college essay expertise. 

Diana, who lives in the Northgate neighborhood and is a Northgate graduate herself, shares that the most successful essays are written by students she starts working with comprehensively in 10th and 11th grade. “An early start allows us to ensure that students explore interests, engage and create content for these essays. This summer a 10th grader was nudged to become a certified lifeguard and get a job; artists took advanced classes and prepared portfolios; a basketball player took a UCLA class exploring the profession of Sports Management. I work with a lot of swimmers who took classes on nutrition, taught swimming, studied early for the SAT and researched colleges so that they would be prepared for our fall recruiting program.” 

In addition to essay expertise, Diana provides personalized, holistic guidance that inspires students. Best of all, families find college application tension is greatly reduced when their student follows Diana’s proven process and timeline. 

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By Kara Navolio, Resident since 1991