College Application Services

Services | College Application Services

If you would like to see what our students think about us, click here!

Samples of our Students' College Essays

The following students, whose sample essays appear here, were admitted to schools including: Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego, and Laguna Center for the Arts. WARNING: Please do not copy our students' essays for any purposes - it would be a violation of copyright and college administrations can easily find plagiarized application essays.

Click here to compare drafts throughout the editing process of this essay.
Click here to compare drafts throughout the editing process of this essay.
Click here to compare drafts throughout the editing process of this essay.
Click here to compare drafts throughout the editing process of this essay.
Click here to compare drafts throughout the editing process of this essay.
Click here to compare drafts throughout the editing process of this essay.
Click here to compare drafts throughout the editing process of this essay.

College Application Services

Many parents and students ask our opinion of the recently popular "college application service packages" or "four year high school study plans" that sound attractive, yet are very expensive. These services claim to offer guidance throughout high school, including the college application process. Here is some advice we can offer you free of charge.

We are proud to be a low cost college application service provider for the community. We provide affordable yet high quality services to college bound students. Even though the actual costs depends on each individual student, the statistics shows that in the past ten years, students who applied to five colleges averaged a cost of $980, equivalent to $196 per college, while students applied to ten colleges paid an average cost of $1480, or $148 per college, with our college application services. Our cost is a mere fraction of what some major competitors charge for the same service.

We offer two types of college application services to fit your needs. We help you polish your essays, to make them engaging, impactful and professional. In addition to essay editing, the counselor answers all questions you might have, and provides you with all the tips and strategies to strengthen your application and chances of gaining admittance into your ideal universities. In this webpage, "we" or "us" refers to MT Learning Center.


A. (Mandatory) Basic Package (June 1 to Sept 30):

The Basic Package includes TWO small group workshops, two hours each, and THREE hours of one-on-one counseling, excepting late students, as specified in Service Details clauses (the Basic Package can yield 4 or 5 readings per essay by the counselor, 10 to 11 drafts in total including the student’s, depending on if the student is well-prepared).


Fee: Less than or equal to $1290 before discount, $1290 due at enrollment


Early Bird discount: Early Bird discount: To encourage students to complete their college applications early, we offer the Early Bird discount for one-on-one service.

  1. September or before: $400 discount
  2. Before October 15: $300 discount
  3. Before October 31: $200 discount
  4. Before November 15: $100 discount
  5. November 16 to next year: No Early Bird discount

If the student uses the one-on-one service over multiple charging periods, the discount is prorated over the periods the service is used. For example, in the case Student uses two hours in September and one hour of one-on-one service on October 5th, the discount will be $400 times 2/3 and $300 times 1/3. Note the charges depend on the time students USE the service, not the time students REGISTER for the service.

Service Details:

  • Two small group workshops: Each student is required to attend two small group workshops.
    • First workshop: Introduction of college application timeline, planning tools, letters of recommendation, scholarships, and financial aid information. Review strategy and brainstorm content for selected University of California (UC), Common Application, and popular private college prompts.
    • Second workshop: Students are required to have their first essay drafts ready for the second workshop. Peer editing is conducted, and the counselor will give structural suggestions to students. At the end of the second workshop, students should be able to complete second drafts and be prepared to move on to one-on-one meetings.
  • In the case that Student or Client enrolls in the program late (later than Sept. 30 for regular decision or August 31 for early decision/action), the counselor might request that Student to move to one-on-one meetings directly. In this case, Student will be entitled to 2 additional hours of one-on-one service for the Basic Package.
  • Scheduling of the workshops and one-on-one meetings for Basic Package: The center office will book the two workshop times and first three one-on-one meetings with Student or Client.
  • First hour of one-on-one counseling: Both students and parents are required to attend the first meeting. The meetings in general are set up 7 to 10 days apart from one another in to grant students enough time to complete the work assigned to them at the last meeting. After the first meeting, students may email the next draft to the counselor, but the editing will not be delivered until next meeting.

B. Extra Service Hours:

Basic Package plus extra one-on-one counseling: (Extra Service Hours is not available unless the client enrolls in Basic Package on the same day. Charges are billed based on the actual number of counseling dates.) A security deposit of $1500 due at enrollment.

  1. September or before September: $80 per hour
  2. Before October 15: $95 per hour
  3. Before October 31: $110 per hour
  4. Before November 15: $130 per hour
  5. November to next year: $150 per hour

The Basic Package is not refundable once the service starts. The client can terminate the Extra Service Hours Package at any time. To terminate the service, a written notice should be given and confirmed one week before the termination takes effect, unless otherwise allowed in any part of this agreement. All charge for services rendered before the termination takes effect is indisputable. Corresponding to the client’s right, we possess the right to change the counselor with one week notice at any time.

If you would like to see examples of essay editing and the universities to which our students were accepted, please feel free to visit our office.


Links to Colleges and Applications

University of California - The homepage of the UC System with links to all the UCs. Click here for application.

California State University - CSU homepage. For application, click here.

Santa Clara University - SCU's Homepage. For application, click here.

Common Application - Register for an online account on the Common Application website and conveniently apply to several universities with this application.

List of Colleges That Use the Common Application https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/Members.aspx

Stanford University - Stanford's Homepage. Click here for application.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Click here to register for an account and begin your application!

California Institute of Technology - Caltech's Homepage. Click here for information regarding Caltech's application.

Ivy League - Ivy League's homepage. Click the top bar to see each individual Ivy League school.

Useful Links

CollegeBoard - Register for the SAT tests here or find out more information about colleges.

ACT - Register for the ACT test here.

AP Central - Find information regarding the AP tests at AP Central.


College Application Frequently Asked Questions

We are proud to be a low cost college service application service provider for the community. We provide affordable yet high quality services to college bound students. Even though the actual costs depends on each individual student, the statistics show that, in the past ten years, students who applied to five colleges averaged a cost of $980 or $196 per college, while students applied to ten colleges paid an average cost $1480 or $148 per college with our college application services. Our cost is a mere fraction of what some major competitors charge for the same service.

You may sign up for the college application service at any time, but we ask you to put down the full deposit for the service. The Early Bird discount will be given depending on the charge brackets in which they are used. For example, if you use 2 hours in September and 1 hour in early October, the discount you will be given = (2 hours x September rate) + (1 hour x early October rate). We will promptly return the unused portion of your Extra Service Hours deposit once you complete the college application process after confirming with the counselors.

You have two choices. If your child signs up for the Basic Package only, you just put down the Basic Package fee; otherwise, if your child signs up for both Basic Package and Extra Service Hours, both package fees will be due at registration. If your child completes the essays before the end of October, you might be qualified for the Early Bird Discount. In that case, we will refund the discounted portion to you once the application process is completed. If you put down the deposit for Extra Service Hours and decide not to use it, we will fully refund it to you when you complete all the applications.

We strive to provide quality, affordable service to our students. In order to reduce the operation costs, we have to standardize the process. Therefore, regarding Extra Service Hours, no matter whether a student is applying to only a few other colleges, or many more colleges, we request the same amount of deposit and return the unused portion of the deposit to you once the application process is completed.

If you use more hours than the deposit covers, you will have to contact our office and put down another deposit.

Everybody is unique. If your child needs more hours, you can purchase Extra Service Hours for them. The Extra Service Hours can be used for any college application related service.

In that case, you will need to purchase another Basic package before you can purchase the Extra Service Hours for your student.

Sometimes students feel confident about the essays they write, but in reality, because of their lack of experience, students usually are unable to correctly gauge the state of completion of their essays. Most essays, even if the students feel confident about them, still require a tremendous amount of editing. However, if your child truly does not need use up the allotted time for essays editing, they can still use the rest of the time to work on financial aid or scholarship programs.

To provide college application services to our students, there are certain costs involved. That is the reason we require the participants to sign up for the Basic package. You may sign up for the Basic Package and use the time to apply for other schools, but please be aware that other schools have different essay and application requirements. For example, Stanford University has ten short answer/essay questions, and it is unlikely that signing up for the Basic Package to apply to Stanford University will be a sufficient number of hours. If your child does not want to purchase the Basic Package (whether to apply to UCs or other schools), we will not be able to provide service to your child.

Unless your child is a late bird registrant who joins the service after September 30 (regular decision only) or August 31 (with early action or early decision), we require all students to join the workshops before they move to one-on-one sessions. In our experience, the workshops are very helpful in providing students with learning, planning, and organization tools; assisting in brainstorming essay approaches and topics, and laying out the fundamental essay structure.

We will try the best to schedule your child as soon as we can, but due to the large number of students in some months, there are occasions that we are not able to schedule the meetings within your time frame. However, we guarantee that the first meeting should be scheduled no later than 7 business days after receiving the request, and no more than 10 business days elapse between the meetings. Should there be a case that our counselors cannot meet with your child within the guaranteed time frame, and thus you have to pay higher rates, we will be responsible for the number of days beyond the guaranteed time frame. For example, since we guarantee 7 business days for the first meeting, if our counselors schedule the first meeting for a day 10 business days after receiving the request, when calculating the rates, we will roll back 3 business days.

Yes, you may use the allotted one-on-one meeting time to work on anything related to college applications, including discussion, essay editing, and financial aid/ scholarships.

A well-written essay can only enhance a student’s application and chance of admission. The essay is an invaluable opportunity to paint a fuller picture of the applicant and highlight strong features and characteristics. Conversely, a poor application essay can damage a student’s chances of admission by casting doubt on otherwise impressive accomplishments, conveying that the student does not actually have the commitment or ability to write a polished essay.

On average, the prepared student requires the following number of hours to complete the following applications besides the workshops (hours listed only for popular schools, please inquire for an estimate for other schools):

  • UC Application Package: 4 hours
  • + Common Application: 1-2 hours
  • + University of Southern California: 2-3 hours
  • + Santa Clara University: 2 hours
  • + Stanford University: 4-6 hours
  • + California State University (including Cal Poly schools): 0-1 hour
  • + University of Pennsylvania: 3 hours
  • + Harvard University: 0-3 hours (optional essay)
  • + Yale University: 3 hours
  • + Duke University: 2-3 hours (optional essay)
  • + Purdue University: 2-3 hours
  • + University of Washington (UW Seattle): 2-3 hours
  • + New York University: 2-3 hours
  • + University of Texas (UT Austin): 2-3 hours
  • + Boston University: 3 hours
  • + University of the Pacific: 0-1 hour
  • + University of Chicago: 4 hours

For special pre-professional 7-year programs (such as Washington University in St. Louis, Brown University’s PLME, University of Rochester, etc.), and honors programs, please be aware that these additional essays may require more hours than regular undergraduate essays.

  1. Go over and brainstorm the UCs and Common App essay prompts. Start writing UCs prompts #8 (“What do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?”) and Common App prompt #7 (“Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.”)
  2. For the majors you might be interested in, brainstorm with your family and friends about “Why you should apply for any specific college that you are dreaming about?” and “Why your dream college should take you?”

Please bring to the first ONE-ON-ONE meeting, if possible:

  1. Make sure the parents come with the child to the first meeting
  2. List of schools you plan to apply to (if possible, rank them and label them as safety, target or reach schools)
  3. Copy of transcript
  4. Copy of SAT and SAT Subject Test scores
  5. Finished activities resume/list of extracurricular activities/honors and awards

If you want to be very prepared, please also bring:

  1. Your first draft of the UC prompts (typed and double-spaced hard copy) and ideas/outlines for any other schools to which you plan to apply
  2. Any questions you have about the college application process and timeline
  3. UC/Common Application filled out
  4. Materials for letters of recommendation (such as your Senior Profile, if you are a Mission San Jose senior)
  5. Your laptop

Here are the UC essay prompts for year 2020 freshmen. Applicants are required to choose four (4) out of the eight (8) topics below, limited to 350 words each prompt.

  1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
  2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
  3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
  4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
  5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
  6. Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.
  7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
  8. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the UCs?

Finally, please find the Common App essay prompts below for year 2020 freshman application.

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.