Christine Gacharná doesn’t believe writing is a “soft skill,” but rather “a technical skill that serves as an essential component in an interconnected and global economy. Any professional who does not master confidence in communication suffers greatly as a result.”
Through her laser-focused ESSAYCURE.com classes, she has demonstrated that exceptional writing can be learned, mastered and employed to not just gain entry into elite institutions of learning but to earn the kinds of scholarships that can make acceptance affordable. And, in her recently released workbook, Right My College Application Essay, she has broken down the often-messy process of helping aspiring college students write precisely what they need to communicate about themselves, their experience and their aspirations to attract the attention of busy college entrance professionals.
The importance of the application essay can’t be overestimated. In a world where many colleges have made SAT and ACT scores optional, and tens of thousands of students boast high academic marks, “the college essay is the only way students have to differentiate themselves.” It’s also the first time many have had to sell themselves and what makes them unique to strangers who aren’t naturally inclined to be their cheerleaders. “Each of them has to jump off that page and become real to administrators to give themselves options,” Christine says.
To prove the point, in Christine’s book essays morph from barely adequate accounts of students’ experiences into life tutorials demonstrating wisdom beyond their years. They become profiles, in effect, of exactly the kinds of students best able to enrich a campus community. In the process, students learn how to write academic essays that will ensure their success at the collegiate level and beyond.
The drive to perfect this craft in first herself and then others is deeply ingrained in this impassioned, articulate educator. “Writing involves putting symbols on a page that are then interpreted or filtered by the reader in the way you intended them to be. Just because something happened to you doesn’t make it interesting or something that someone else wants to read. Creating that interest is really difficult and is not at all a soft skill,” Christine said, “But it can be learned. To that I’d add, don’t tell me about your passion, show me what you’ve done.”
What Christine has done was join two of her siblings in becoming the first generation from her family to earn a college degree. As a member of a single-parent household, she did so with the help of a scholarship from the Dr. Bernard Daly Educational Fund, the oldest continuously operated, place-based college scholarship fund in the U.S., which sends Lake County students to any college or technical school in the state of Oregon. Christine’s mom demonstrated the life-changing nature of the grants to her family by spending every Memorial Day from 1979 until she died in 2021 tending Dr. Daly’s grave and decorating it with fresh silk flowers.
After graduation, Christine auditioned for and won a job as a newspaper journalist in Arizona, then went back to school at the University of Arizona for a Master's in Journalism. There, she became the Editor in Chief of the much honored Arizona Daily Wildcat and is recognized as the founder of the Wildcat’s online edition, one of the first college newspapers in the country to go digital.
She honed her system for teaching writing as Lead Faculty for Communications at the University of Phoenix (Baton Rouge and New Orleans campuses), where she was emboldened to make writing an integral part of every student’s instruction and not just a feature of the English Department. Adult students of the University most often go on to lead careers in technical fields, but have equal if not greater need to be able to communicate effectively as those who pursue careers in the arts, she asserted.
"I really am on a mission to change the way we teach writing, because academic writing is something that every student can do. Once I tell them, ‘it’s a formula, you can do this, you just have to follow these steps,’ they get so excited.” Even proficient writers who have been coasting on their talent can improve. Often these perfectionists become bogged down on grammar and punctuation. "I try to retrain their muscle memory to make their ideas more important than their sentences. It’s so hard; they're so resistant. But once they adapt, it really makes a difference.”
Results tell the real story. Christine’s 2023 students earned an average of $80,000 in scholarships. One soon-to-graduate college student she worked with five years ago, who was herself a first-generation college student, emailed her recently to say, “Thanks for believing in me.” That is of course true; Christine did provide the emotional support the student needed to move across the country to pursue her college dreams. But she imparted so much more: the confidence to communicate in any situation, wherever those dreams lead.
That’s more than a skill. It’s a gift.
You can purchase Christine’s book from Amazon or here, at a site that supports local bookstores, https://bit.ly/RightMyEssayBook. ESSAY CURE’s summer workshops walk students through the entire process. We’ve reserved a handful of seats for Leesburg Lifestyle readers, use the coupon code “LIFESTYLE” for $400 off summer workshops if purchased by August 30. See https://bit.ly/EssayCure. The next workshop is Sunday, August 6, 1-4 PM EST Northern Virginia | River Creek Club, 43800 Olympic Blvd., Leesburg VA 20176, or see EssayCure.com for upcoming workshops or one-to-one assistance at https://www.essaycure.com/contact.