College Essay Whiz Consultants

Meet the College Essay Whiz Team of Consultants!

Devon Schwartz head shot for CEWWest Coast Connection: Devon Schwartz

Devon Schwartz is our West Coast member of the College Essay Whiz team.  Devon is a graduate of Yale University, where he majored in Theater Studies, Psychology and Philosophy.  He has been tutoring through Hayutin & Associates (based in Santa Monica, CA) since 2004, and has a great deal of experience working with students from many exclusive private and public schools.

In addition to his specific academic background, Devon is highly skilled at providing support in English, writing, math (through Calculus), history, science, Spanish, and standardized test preparation (ISEE, ACT, SAT).  He is also very adept at teaching Executive Function skill building, including study skills, time management and organization, and he excels with students who have diagnosed learning differences.  Based in Los Angeles, Devon is also a working actor and writer, one who always honors his deep commitment to his students.

Devon has built more than a decade of experience with dozens of private students as well, referred only by word of mouth.  Many of these (as well as a number of Hayutin clients) involved extensive assistance with college applications:  on the main Common App essay, supplemental essays, and special University of California essays.  The vast majority of these students were accepted to their first-choice schools (with Yale, NYU and USC among the recent success stories).

Devon is particularly proud of one student whose essay for the University of Florida yielded a special letter from the admissions office asking the student for permission to reprint the essay as a model for future applicants.


CEW Rachel Shulman headshot

New England Network: Rachel Shulman

Rachel Shulman is a passionate teacher, and her students often comment that this passion and excitement for her subjects makes them more interested, sometimes in spite of themselves. She began her teaching career as a Ph.D. candidate, teaching undergraduate history classes in American and European History. She began tutoring in 2009 while she was also working as a librarian at the University of California in Irvine. While her early specialties were AP US, European, and World History, she quickly expanded to the Reading Comprehension, Writing, and Essay portions of the SAT and ACT. Soon, she began working with private college counselors in Irvine on their students’ college application essays. After realizing that coaching her students on study skills, time management, and goal setting was a natural part of her work, Rachel now offers coaching as a stand-alone service.

Based in the Boston area, Rachel has had hundreds of private students and has assisted with hundreds of college application essays. While she helps students with a variety of tasks, she finds her work as a  writing coach writing to be the most satisfying. Rachel focuses on helping students figure out what stories best express their individuality, as well as on the craft of writing. She is proud that all of her essay students leave not only with excellent application essays but also as better writers. In recent years her students have attended Mount Holyoke, Stanford, Duke, Brandeis, Harvard, Northeastern, Skidmore, Hobart and William Smith, NYU, and others.

A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Rachel also holds an MA in History and an MS in Library and Information science from the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign. When she is not working with students, she enjoys swimming (especially in the ocean), reading, and attending concerts, from Mumford and Sons to a cappella Renaissance music.


CEW Valentine Sergon head shot

D.C. Beat: Valentine Sergon

Valentine Sergon is a Pomona College graduate who loves the written word. Originally from the Washington, DC area, she received her degree in Political Science but also prioritized language learning, taking classes in Arabic, Spanish, and Swahili; in her junior year, she spent a semester in the Middle East and the other in Latin America.

Valentine deeply believes that profound learning often happens outside of the classroom, in the spaces that make us uncomfortable and unsure. To this end, upon graduation, she moved to Abu Dhabi to teach English, an adventure that was challenging, joyous, and an opportunity for real growth. Just recently, Valentine moved back to the Washington, DC area after working on refugee resettlement in Toronto, Canada, an experience that she regards as her most difficult and rewarding thus far.

Recalling her own college application experience, full of uncertainty and missteps, always reminds her of the importance of a thorough college search to ensure that each student finds the right fit. To this end, she has worked in education with many high school students to help them explore options and enhance their applications. She brings to the College Essay Whiz Team a real love of working with students and the belief that there is a ‘perfect school’ for each student.