Over 200 tutoring hours

Marilyn K.

Annandale, VA


Writing coach

Replies in 4 hours
Background check passed as of 3/17/14
5.0 Avg. Rating
87 Ratings
4hrs Response Time
Thoughtful and methodical tutor
— Alexis, Vienna, VA on 7/13/15

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University of Colorado
History and English
Georgetown University


University of Colorado (History and English)

Georgetown University (Master's)

About Marilyn

The world is a noisy place. Helping people send a strong signal through their writing is my calling and my job, and I love every aspect of it. Whether you are a college-bound student or a dedicated professional, I'd like to work with you.

Let's talk about getting into college first.

You are a talented high school student (or the parents of one). You are getting ready to tackle the two big challenges: the SAT and your college application packet and admission essays. You've heard one thing from your school, another from your friends, and still more from your family. The tasks are looking formidable. On top of this, every tutoring service looks really expensive (and probably is). Relax! So long as you don't try to do everything at the last minute, taking care of business is neither hard nor costly.

Studying for the SAT can, actually, be fun. A little bit of improvisational acting and some online tools relieve the grammar grind, for example. As for vocabulary--tools and techniques for enriching your own personal lexicon are legion. As we learn words, we'll learn the prepositions and other metadata that accompany them, building confidence in reading, writing, and grammar at the same time.

When you are ready to start on your application essays, you will learn not only how to write for success at this stage of your life, but how to wordsmith with courage as you make your way later. As your partner, I will help you understand how admission counselors read your essays and how to present your best self to them when you respond to the application prompts.

Every college applicant I've ever worked with has been accepted to the colleges he or she chose: Boston College, Columbia University, Durham University (UK), George Mason, George Washington University, James Madison, Maryland Institute College of Art, Northeastern, Old Dominion University, Pennsylvania State University, Radford, Richmond University, University College London, University of Edinburgh (UK), University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, University of Washington, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Wake Forest, William & Mary. More to come!

All done with school? Well, let's talk about your job, then.

You are an adult making your way in the world of work. If you like your job, I can help you write about your achievements and present them so well at conferences that you'll have a line of people waiting to talk to you afterwards. Maybe you just want to write more effective letters, email messages, persuasive reports, or other documentation? We can talk about how to become a better problem solver and a more adept communicator. In addition to massaging your words, we will discuss how organization and overall design of a document contribute to your effectiveness in print and on the podium. If you want to change jobs, I can help you customize your resume so that it's less of an attendance list and more of a story of the impact you've had on the world.

Now let's talk about me.

I come to tutoring with a master's degree in applied linguistics (focus on teaching), and I've taught English and composition with the Agency for International Development, American University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, and the State University of New York. After spending 15 years in nonprofit publishing serving teachers, I now write and edit for scientists. Everything I teach you is something that I've tested in the marketplace, so everything works!

Each person learns differently. When we work together, I will customize my approach to your learning style. If you need access to resources, I know where to send you, and I have my own techniques and materials to share with you. Although writing feels very personal, it is, inherently, a public act. For this reason, I prefer to work in public places--local coffee shops and public libraries. But don't worry. If the nature of your work or your learning style requires seclusion, I will accommodate your preferences.

Kind words from one of the wonderful people I worked with before WyzAnt:

"I just heard that I was accepted early decision, and I'm really, really happy! I think that my essays really made a difference. I don't think I would have gotten in without your help. Thank you so much, and my parents and I are so grateful." 2014 high school graduate matriculating to Virginia Tech, where she was accepted early decision (also accepted to Drexel [with scholarship], George Mason, James Madison, Old Dominion [with scholarship], Virginia Commonwealth University [with scholarship])

What is the outcome that YOU want? Let's work together to achieve success.
The world is a noisy place. Helping people send a strong signal through their writing is my calling and my job, and I love every aspect of it. Whether you are a college-bound student or a dedicated professional, I'd like to work with you.

Let's talk about getting into college
Read more

3 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 10 miles of Annandale, VA 22003
Background Check: Passed

"Thoughtful and methodical tutor"

- Alexis, Vienna, VA on 7/13/15

"A really good writer and teacher!"

- Kelly, Washington, DC on 9/12/15

"Knowledgeable and effective tutor"

- Jackie, Alexandria, VA on 7/5/15

"Marilyn is an exceptional tutor!"

- Tamu, Washington, DC on 6/9/15

"Great Tutor"

- Melissa , Alexandria, VA on 3/24/15

"Candid, thoughtful, and effective"

- Nathan, Mc Lean, VA on 12/19/14

"Excellent writing tutor and very flexible."

- Raymond, Mc Lean, VA on 11/17/14

"Thoroughly Professional!"

- Mark, Leesburg, VA on 7/25/14

"Amazing with essays"

- Jayne, Fairfax, VA on 6/1/14

"Very Straightforward"

- Marivel, Burke, VA on 3/26/14
Elementary Education:

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.

Career Development

My specialty is re-engineering resumes so that they demonstrate the impact you have had on the world. Good resumes are not lists--they are stories about choices that you've made and problems that you've solved.

For the past 8 years, I've worked successfully with high school students applying to college, colleagues changing jobs, clients changing careers, and, most recently, military veterans returning from theater who want to enter the civilian marketplace.

We always start from this premise: a resume is not a job application. It is a request for an interview. Let's write the story of your life together!

College Counseling

My interest in preparing high school seniors for college falls into the niche of essay preparation. My underlying qualification is more than a decade of teaching writing at the university level and nearly 25 years working in nonprofit publishing.

For the past 4 years, I have also been working with a growing number of matriculating seniors and graduate students on their admissions essays and application packets. The general goal is telling a coherent, compelling, and true story to incredibly busy admissions counselors so that the applicant's merits will jump out of the stack. My particular goal has been to help already strong contenders understand the power of a well-written request for anything--even beyond college. A resume is a story, and so is a job application. Working together closely has resulted in a 100% admissions rate for these applicants.


I taught English at the university level for more than a decade. I read widely, and write for a living. We will have a good time mastering the beauty and power of this language in practical ways.

When we meet, I'll want to know what you are struggling with specifically. Mechanical tools can help a lot with spelling and grammar (the Hemingway app, for example).

There's a lot more to language than mechanics, however, and here's where it becomes fun! Blogging--private or public--is a super way to break through writer's block and express yourself about safe subjects. Writing short reviews of books on Amazon is another fantastic way to become comfortable putting words out there for others to see, either in true name or with a handle.

Do you like puzzles? The hardest (and most fun) part isn't necessarily solving them. It's writing the clues for other people to solve. Fantastic writing practice!

What is it that you're looking for? Let's talk!


I have a master's degree in applied linguistics, and I've taught English and composition in schools around the world. In addition to teaching, I edit the work of my peers and write customized learning materials so that you study the specific points of grammar that interest you.


I have worked as an editor and publishing manager for more than 20 years. The requirements for pristine writing have changed, but clean work is still important when you create resumes and college essays. I can teach you the difference between substantive editing, copyediting, and proofreading and how to approach each level of review.

Public Speaking

At one time or another, we have all been subjected to tedious death-by-powerpoint presentations that do neither the speaker nor the audience any service. It doesn't have to be this way.

My specialty is helping you tell your story with beautiful slides and a well-paced narrative. I have worked extensively on high-impact professional briefs for the past 8 years as a presenter, editor, and conference organizer.

Keys to success include understanding your professional culture, your audience, and the craft of storyboarding. Excellent published and online resources complement the process of building a compelling story that resonates with the audience long after you've stepped away from the podium.


Good readers become good writers, and the two skills enrich one another constantly in practice. In addition to being a voracious reader personally and professionally, I taught reading to second-language learners at the university level for more than a decade. My experience working with children is limited to friends and family, but I enjoy working with children, and they usually enjoy working with me.

SAT Writing

The SAT writing section tests a defined set of grammar rules and a specific type of essay writing. The rules and the writing are absolutely learnable with the right materials and a sense of adventure. We can practice conditionals and hypotheticals with pictures of emerging technology, for example. By combining some Saturday Night at the Improv and an SAT vocabulary deck, we can practice writing grammatical sentences, telling a story, and learning words in context. Best, we will have a great time in the process.


Learning words isn't just for children or students prepping for the SAT. Mastery of the right words is what allows you to accomplish tasks with precision and grace. For example, if you want to do in-depth research on the Web, you need a list of useful search terms--vocabulary words. If you choose to focus on a particular field of study, you need to learn its terms of art--vocabulary words. What makes studying words fun and profitable is context.


In addition to my education and teaching background, I write and edit for a living, every day. Sometimes I publish under my own name, sometimes I ghost write, and sometimes I just fix the writing of my colleagues. When I have the opportunity to tutor, I do that, too!

I can help you write effectively for a variety of situations and audiences: college applications for admissions officers, college essays for your teachers, resumes for the job you want (and that will make it through a computer filter), letters and messages that appeal to their targets, and reports that make the right case. Most important, I can help you develop a process so that you can manage your own writing without having to depend on a tutor.

University of Colorado
History and English
Georgetown University


University of Colorado (History and English)

Georgetown University (Master's)

Thoughtful and methodical tutor — During our initial meeting we discussed my goals and expectations, which I found helpful and view as a critical first step when working with any tutor. Marilyn also briefly reviewed a sample of my writing, and we finished by agreeing on a plan to move forward. We are currently making steps forward drawing from that plan. I greatly appreciate her thoughtful and methodical approach because it allow ...

— Alexis, Vienna, VA on 7/13/15

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $60.00

Cancellation: 3 hours notice required

Travel policy

Marilyn will travel within 10 miles of Annandale, VA 22003.

Background Check Status for Marilyn K.

Marilyn K. passed a background check on 3/17/14. The check was ordered by Marilyn through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

After sending a message to Marilyn, you will be able to order a new background check for $7.99. As part of your tutor selection process, we encourage you to run updated background checks. Please also review the safety tips for hiring tutors.