Marilyn K.

Annandale, VA


College counseling and writing tutor

600+ Hours
Background check passed as of 3/17/14
5.0 average from 263 ratings
Knowledgeable and patient tutor
— Cleo, Lorton, VA on 9/5/17


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Response time: 3 hours

Contact Marilyn

University of Colorado
History and English
Georgetown University


University of Colorado (History and English)

Georgetown University (Master's)

About Marilyn

You have stories to tell! To your teachers, to colleges you plan to attend, to work colleagues, to others who need and want to hear from you. The world is a noisy place, though, and how you tell your story to the world will determine how effective you are at getting the world to listen. 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 in school, bound for college, or employed and looking for opportunities, I'd like to work with you.

As a talented middle or high school student (or the parents of one), over the next few years, you will tackle advanced coursework, standardized tests, job applications, your college application packet, and admission essays. If you dislike writing, your tasks may feel formidable, but you can conquer them. Planning and concrete goals are a first step. Giving yourself permission to have fun and be yourself is the next step. With blogs, speed writing, online book reviews, digital storytelling, free learning games, and other real-world tasks, becoming a skilled writer is neither hard nor costly.

Later, as you prepare college 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 prompts.

The applicants I've worked with have been accepted to these colleges: Babson, Berkeley, Boston College, Boston University, Bradley University, California Institute of Technology, Cambridge (UK), Columbia University, Drexel, Durham University (UK), George Mason, George Washington, Georgia Tech, James Madison, Kings College London (UK), Marquette, Maryland Institute College of Art, Northeastern, Northwestern, Ohio State, Old Dominion, Pennsylvania State, Radford, Rice, Richmond University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, University College London, University of California Los Angeles, University of Cincinnati, University of Edinburgh (UK), University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Manchester (UK), University of Michigan, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Pittsburgh, University of Rochester, University of Sheffield (UK), University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Wellesley, Warwick (UK), Wake Forest, William & Mary. More to come!

All done with school?

If you are an adult making your way in the world of work, 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? Maybe you've gone back for another degree? We can talk about how to become a better problem solver and a more adept communicator for 21st-century needs. In addition to massaging your words, we will discuss how organization and overall design of a message 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 a public act. For this reason, I work in public places--local coffee shops and public libraries within my travel radius. Online is just fine, too.

I respond to requests early in the morning and in the evening. If you don't hear from me during the workday, please be patient, and you'll hear back soon.

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.
You have stories to tell! To your teachers, to colleges you plan to attend, to work colleagues, to others who need and want to hear from you. The world is a noisy place, though, and how you tell your story to the world will determine how effective you are at getting the world to listen. Helping people send a strong signal through their writing is Read more

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

"Knowledgeable and patient tutor"

- Cleo, Lorton, VA on 9/5/17

"A great tutor and mentor"

- LuLu, Arlington, VA on 9/27/17

"Informative and Helpful Session"

- Mini, Williamsburg, VA on 5/1/17

"Effective writing tutor"

- Emily, Fairfax, VA on 2/1/17

"Patient and great tutor"

- Jenny, Vienna, VA on 11/22/16

"Excellent help with college essays"

- Bhavani, Herndon, VA on 11/20/16


- Sandy, Brecksville, OH on 10/28/16

"Methodical and Very Insightful"

- Diane, Hartland, WI on 10/15/16

"The *BEST* MBA Essay Tutor"

- Margot, San Francisco, CA on 9/26/16

"Outstanding Tutor!"

- Monica, Falls Church, VA on 9/5/16

"Wonderful teacher"

- Victoria, Fairfax, VA on 6/5/16

"Fantastic Writing/College Essay Tutor!"

- Marian, Seattle, WA on 10/19/15

"A really good writer and teacher!"

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

"Thoughtful and methodical tutor"

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

"Knowledgeable and effective tutor"

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

"Marilyn is an exceptional tutor!"

- Tamu, Washington, DC on 6/10/15

"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 7/26/14

"Amazing with essays"

- Jayne, Fairfax, VA on 6/2/14

"Very Straightforward"

- Marivel, Burke, VA on 3/26/14
Special Needs:
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 students for college or graduate school falls into the niche of essay preparation. My underlying qualification is more than a decade of teaching writing at the university level and 25+ years working in nonprofit publishing.

As I work with seniors and graduate students on their admissions essays and application packets, our general goal is telling a coherent, compelling, and true story to incredibly busy admissions counselors so that the applicant's merits will be immediately apparent. 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.

Every student I've worked with has been accepted to schools of their choosing.


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.


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 any situation or audience: blog posts to help you find your voice, college applications for admissions officers, 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)

Knowledgeable and patient tutor

I liked how patient and creative she was with my son. Made him feel comfortable and explained things in a funny way that made perfect sense.We're looking forward to our next session.

— Cleo, Lorton, VA on 9/5/17

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $65.00

Cancellation: 3 hours notice required

Travel policy

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