Karen A. Hott is an educator with 40 years of experience working with teens and young adults. She is committed to helping students make informed choices about colleges, in the process educating parents as well.

Realizing that many students overly rely upon what they’ve heard from others and seeing the outsized influence of U.S. News & World Report rankings, she began studying the college-selection process, leading her to the University of California, Irvine, program in Independent Educational Consulting, which she completed with a 4.0. Karen received her IEC certificate from UCI and subsequently joined the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) as an associate member.

The coursework for independent educational consultants at UC Irvine covers ethics, online and print resources, personality testing, learning styles and college teaching styles, concepts of “match” and “fit,” developing balanced college lists, learning disabilities, graduate school admissions, and navigating the financial aid network.

Karen has helped students craft their college application essays for many years, always careful to keep a hands-off approach and to allow the student’s own voice to shine. (See “Karen Hott on Essay Coaching” below.) In addition, her expertise in this arena was recognized by the local association of college admission counselors when she was invited to present a session on college application essays at the PCACAC conference in May 2019.

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, as well as the Independent Educational Consultant certificate from UC Irvine. Karen is a member of two local affiliates of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC), and the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC), as well as the IECA.

Before retiring from the Anne Arundel County (Maryland) public school system, Karen taught Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, journalism, and newspaper production.

As the parent of a daughter who just graduated from law school, Karen Hott has had personal experience with the angst-provoking process of applying to college and graduate school. A lover of learning and words, she is passionate about students, higher education, and writing.

Karen Hott on Essay Coaching

You will not email me your essays for me to revise in isolation. All encounters will be in person or through videoconference software.

I will sit down with you, in person or virtually, and coach you to produce the best essays you can.

I will start wherever you are. If you don’t have the prompts, we’ll find them. If you don’t know what to say, we’ll talk. If you have something already written, I will ask you to read aloud to me what you’ve written. We will talk about what’s strong and what’s not so strong, what you should lead with and what should finish it off. I will listen to you and question you so that you say what you mean to say and your voice comes alive.

I will not go through your essay with a red pen and hand it back to you for corrections, though I will point out the function of your syntax and punctuation. Your essay will be your best, but only because you will make it that way.