Dr. Leni M. Silverstein


Dr. Leni M. Silverstein

Essay Coach

Leni is an international consultant with more than 20 years experience as an anthropologist, educator, professor, grantmaker, program evaluator, writer and editor in the US and overseas, particularly Brazil. She has read and evaluated grant applications and programs for major international foundations and multilateral organizations.


About Leni

Xunzi said: “The only thing you really need to be good at is the ability to train yourself to get better.”

Good writing is a skill that can be taught. Based on her previous successes in helping her first generation daughters and their friends gain acceptance to and excel at elite colleges and graduate schools (Barnard, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, MI, NYU, Oxford, UC-Berkeley, University of Chicago), prestigious fellowships (Fulbright, Sloan), and other application-based awards, Leni brings her proven analytical and evaluation skills plus her trained cultural sensitivity to helping you write clearly and with conviction. She views writing as a growth experience, a skill a student can learn with practice, one that is particularly invaluable for success in college and beyond. As an international consultant and educator, Leni has over 20 years experience as an anthropologist, professor, grantmaker, program evaluator, writer and editor in the US and overseas, particularly Brazil. She has read and evaluated grant applications and programs for major international foundations and multi-lateral organizations.


  • AB, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Anthropology/Indian Civilization
  • PhD, THE NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH: Anthropology/Latin America (Brazil)


  • English (native), Portuguese (fluent), Spanish (good), French (good)

Professional Affiliation(s)

  • African Studies Association
  • American Anthropological Association
  • American Evaluation Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Latin American Studies Association
  • Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Society for International Development
  • Coaching Style

    I am a perceptive, approachable and dedicated college essay and creative writing specialist, someone who possesses a wry sense of humor combined with good judgment and acute psychological and cross-cultural sensitivity. I can help you navigate all aspects of the cultural specificities inherent in the US college admission processes, particularly the essays and written responses to questions. I also appreciate different learning styles and strive to help you write something authentic about your self that cannot be learned from the other elements of your college application.


“Working with Dr. Leni Silverstein has been one of the genuine pleasures of my creative and professional life. Dr. Silverstein has the most generous and critical eye of any editor and writing coach I have ever worked with—and I write a lot and teach writing composition myself. Dr. Silverstein spends a lot of time taking into account my unique language, structure and content; she has helped me develop my own voice. Furthermore, she has taught me to identify my objectives and to understand my audience, thus maximizing my prospects to achieve my goals, whether admission into a particular program or a grant. Dr. Silverstein is thorough and encouraging—two priceless attributes when one is trying to evolve one’s own writing style and practice.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention her creativity. I enlisted Dr. Silverstein’s support for my most challenging goals: college application to Brown University, Masters degree essays for entrance to the University of Oxford (UK), and my PhD admissions package to UC Berkeley as well as the Fulbright Fellowship amongst other grant proposals. I was successful in all of the above, and owe these accomplishments specifically to the ways in which she helped me express myself and stand out. I would encourage anyone wanting to learn and grow as a writer to work with her, especially those who hope to achieve admission to an institution through the essay format.”

– Grace

“Dr. Silverstein was instrumental in helping me gain acceptances to Harvard (BA), Oxford (MSc), and MIT (MBA), in addition to winning a Fellowship at the latter institution. While her area of specialization is Essay/Creative Writing, she takes into account the whole person – one’s experiences, personality, upbringing, schoolwork, motivations, accomplishments, and especially, ambitions. She demonstrated a 360-degree understanding when she helped me develop essays that enabled me to stand out. With her eye for detail, her experience selecting grantees for philanthropic awards, and an anthropological appreciation of how to translate ideas between different groups of people, I’m confident all applicants who work with Dr. Silverstein will similarly achieve success in their college applications. Her clients will find their own perception of themselves vastly enhanced, inspiring them to continue to achieve throughout their lives.”

– Katie

We would be honored to support you during this journey.

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