Carla's Writing Space | Carla Castillo

Community Subscriber
Berkeley
Phone: 
510.847.3789
Email: 
simplycarla [at] icloud.com

Essay coach and writing skills tutor

I have worked extensively with students applying to college and graduate school for almost ten years. As more universities become test optional, the personal statement and supplemental essays are more crucial than ever, which is yet another reason why I love helping applicants compose effective essay responses. As a writing tutor, I help students write clearly, concisely, and confidently. My website (www.carlaswritingspace.com) has testimonials and further information about my approach and success with students, as does my Yelp page (www.yelp.com/not_recommended_reviews/carlas-writing-space-berkeley). Please call me at 510.847.3789 to discuss how I can help.

Parent Reviews

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Carla was a true "find" for my daughter! She met with her a few times to work on writing in general so when it came time to do college essays, she went back - she asked! - and it was super successful. My daughter really liked and appreciated Carla and for sure, felt supported. My daughter doesn't ask for help easily so what was great was her pretty quick connection with Carla's warm and thoughtful style. The essays got written in a few sessions with tweaks here and there. Thank you, Carla, for being such a positive force in my daughter's life!

Carla worked with our son over the summer to develop UC and common application essays. She is an amazing writing coach and guided our son to develop his voice and produce thoughtful and well-written essays. She just finished supporting him the past month to develop additional essays for a merit scholarship opportunity and was immediately available and helpful to support our son in response to this opportunity. We are so thankful that we found Carla. We interviewed many coaches and choose her because of her experience, approach, and the connection my son felt with her. Thank you Carla!

I can not say enough good things about Carla and her incredible guidance while my daughter was writing multiple essays during her college application process. To put it simply, Carla is an incredible writing coach. She has given my daughter the confidence and skills to take in the endeavor of applying g to many colleges with lengthy writing supplements as well as prompts with a tiny amount of words that need to express a very clear message. 
with every session my daughter had with Carla she could come to me immediately to share how incredible her experience is and how much she loves Carla-  from the incredible input, to the clarity of the details- Carla has given my daughter lasting skills to carry in to her college experience. 
Carla has a caring demeanor with the right amount of warmth, enthusiasm but the right amount of challenge to get her students to push further. 
my daughter even slowed down on completion of her essays to have more time with Carla! 
Carla gave my daughter the confidence she needed to not only get in to her top schools-(which she did- thanks to her incredible tutor) But she now is more confident than ever about how to write clearly and with more impact. 

My son went to Carla for help with college transfer applications. It was difficult and stressful for him to be dealing with this while busy with his current school work, but he put together a list of schools he was interested in and got to work. Carla's input in the whole process was essential. She responded quickly to the material as he sent it to her and gave him great advice and encouragement. By the time he finished the applications, he had a real sense of accomplishment and a stronger sense of his own writer's "voice." Some decisions are still coming but he already has many good options for the fall, including some that had originally felt like a reach. I enthusiastically recommend Carla to anyone looking for assistance with their writing.

My teenage daughter (now a high school freshman) lacked confidence in her writing and had difficulty putting ideas to paper.  After working with Carla for a few weeks, she was transformed.  Now, more than a year later, she is thriving.  

Carla is not a tutor, but a coach who is deeply invested in the success of her team.  With warm guidance, she started by working with my daughter on the basics – vocabulary, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation.  They’ve now advanced to drafts of the UC application essay prompts and detailed character analysis.  Carla never steps in to rewrite a project; instead, she nudges my daughter with constructive questions that teach her to review and edit her own work product with a careful eye.  Every finished project is written entirely by my daughter in her own voice.  Where I used to hear “I can’t think of what to write!” or “I hate this!”, I now hear muttered phrases like “compound or complex?” and “that’s not parallel sentence structure.”  My daughter’s work with Carla has been challenging and immensely rewarding.   

Which brings me to Carla’s true gift: her ability to connect with people.  Carla has established a personal, meaningful relationship with my daughter that has inspired her to pull the best from herself.  She looks forward to her weekly sessions and considers Carla a mentor.  Both of us enjoy Carla as a person and find her easy and flexible to work with.  Without hesitation, we highly recommend Carla as a writing coach.  

Highly recommend Carla as a writing coach/tutor. She helped my daughter through the college application process. In addition to being a very good coach Carla also has a great understanding of her students. My daughter loves her, and yes, she got into one of her top choice schools :)

The college application process is one that can’t be described, only experienced! We are blessed with a daughter who is fiercely independent and often refuses our suggestions, but never the less wanted to help her find whatever resources she felt she needed during this process.  Carla Castillo was recommended by the College Counselor at our daughter’s high school.  We met Carla at the end of Junior year and they worked over the summer to complete the main essay for each of Rachele’s applications.  Carla’s couching had a tremendous impact in helping Rachele crystallize and articulate her thoughts and truly express herself in each of these applications (and supplemental essays). She made the process of working together, both face to face and through the use of Google docs, easy and seamless. The results were significant and were further reinforced by the many comments in acceptance letters that referred specifically to the positive impact the essay had on her acceptance. From a parent perspective, hiring Carla as her writing coach was the best help we could have provided and allowed us to “stay out of the process”.

 Carla Castillo provided writing coaching for my son during his senior year. Carla read his college application/ personal statements and gave thoughtful guidance. Carla was encouraging, patient, and understanding through the revisions. I would recommend Carla's professional service for your student's writing needs. You will be reassured after contacting Carla atsimplycarlacastillo [at] gmail.com ( ).

   I write professionally, but I thought it was best to go to a third party for help with our Berkeley High son's college essay.  I've known Carla Castillo from our son's baseball days, and I was pleased to learn that she has been branching off from her work as an appellate lawyer and helping kids with their essays. 

   So, our son prepared a first draft, I gave him some ideas, and he had a meeting with Carla for some more suggestions. She OK'd what became the final product and it was sent out. Her help was not expensive.

  Great results!  He was accepted at all his A-list schools and two-of-three of his reach schools.  And, my son and I are still on speaking terms.

I highly recommend Carla as a writing coach. She has been working with both of my boys, one is sophomore in high school and one is in elementary, for over a year. My kids love her. My younger one used to hate writing, now he is always happy after the writing session with Carla. Carla is very patient and encouraging. She always tries to find creative writing options to let my kids engaged. She guides them to find mistakes and discuss options of revision. As my older one said, "Carla is passionate about writing and her students." 
We don't live in Berkeley area and only have weekends available to meet with her. Carla is so easy to work with, very understanding and flexible to accommodate our schedule. 

You can reach her at 510-8473789 or check her website: carlaswritingspace.com

Our elder son Andrew, who just finished his freshman at Tufts University, worked with Carla Castillo for several months when he was a senior at Albany High. She was extremely helpful through the college application process, in particular on the essay writing. Not only does she, of course, provide corrections for grammatical issues, but she thinks big picture and in many ways nudged the essay into providing more insight into who are son is, adding structure to his story, and punch to his strengths, all without affecting his genuine voice and tone. From our perspective, his essays were significantly improved with each round of reading and revising. She was also gracious in providing a quick turn-around even when our son put her into the corner with essays due ''tomorrow''. She was easy to work with, via email (actually through Google Docs) as well as in person. Our younger son will be working with her in the upcoming year on his applications. You can check her out at www.carlaswritingspace.com or call her at 510-847-3789. KYM STERNER    

Archived Q&A and Reviews


May 2016

RE: College Admissions Essays Help

I highly recommend our tutor Carla Castillo. She worked for 25 years as a lawyer and now specializes in college essay writing and tutoring english. She has worked with my middle schooler for the last year and I can only say the best things about her. She also worked with my daughter for her high school application essay. Carla is very down to earth and has a great way to connect to middle and high school students. Carla Castillo http://carlaswritingspace.com/ (510) 847-3789 Steffie S


I gifted my niece the essay-writing assistance of Carla Castillo. I emailed my sister to get her view on Carla's help, and this is how she replied: ''Having Carla in the picture helped me do what was most important in this whole college application process, at least as far as the writing anyway, and that was to stay out of it unless asked for input. Carla was very helpful in keeping my daughter, a notorious procrastinator, on track by simply asking, 'when might you have a draft ready to discuss with me?' My daughter, who I think is a good writer to begin with, says, 'My final essay in its post-Carla form was about a gazillion times better than my first draft. Her suggestions were really useful, as she had a much better idea than I did of what colleges were looking for, but she always made sure to let me know that I had the final say. She was very easy to work with.' '' End of story: my niece, a small-town girl, was accepted to Harvard, much to our surprise and delight. Here's Carla's contact info: simplycarla [at] icloud.com www.carlaswritingspace.com ph 510-847-3789 

barb


I highly recommend Carla Castillo's writing tutoring services. She loves working with kids of all ages and is a fantastic writing tutor. We used her to help our son write his college essays and I can't say enough good things about her! She made it a painless process for our son and the final product was far superior as a result of their work together. The turnaround time was really fast which was an added bonus when up against deadlines. Because of her stellar work, I had her review my nephew's essays for his UC applications, and was amazed to see how she could craft his words into a much improved essay. Both kids got into their first choice schools. I don't really like ''playing the game'' of college admissions, but in this day and age, I CLEARLY see the advantages of helping kids put their best foot forward with a well-written essay. Carla can definitely help with that! She can be reached at 510 847-3789 and her webpage is www.carlaswritingspace.com. Sharon

 


March 2016

RE: Writing tutor who relates well to teens?

I highly recommend Carla Castillo as a writing tutor. She has been tutoring my son for almost a year now and I can only say the best things about her. Carla is highly focused and a very dedicated person. At the same time she brings out the best in my son and has a great way of relating to him. Carla is a very good listener and she is always very receptive to my input. She provides the ideal balance of structure, nurturing, and mentoring. My son looks forward to the time he spends working with Carla and genuinely enjoys their time together. Carla has been instrumental in building his confidence in his writing ability. I highly recommend Carla: www.carlaswritingspace.com or (510) 847-3789 Mom of struggling writer


Hi Heidi, I whole heartedly recommend my daughter's writing tutor - Carla Castillo. My daughter is a freshman at Berkeley High, and entered 9th grade unsure of her writing skills, mainly due to a series of mediocre English teachers in her k-8 private education.

I found Carla after a dissatisfactory experience with another Berkeley writing tutor (who was highly recommended on BPN and has a string of educational degrees including a reading specialization). However, the complete lack of connection with my daughter left us even more disheartened.

Carla is just the opposite. There was an instantaneous connection with Carla, which each of us (my husband came too) felt individually and collectively. And that has continued to date. Our daughter is so motivated to do better in writing. Carla's ability to pay close attention to our daughter's interests and personality, has managed to get her to write more complex sentences and better still -- reading more. Yes she has begun to read every night. Carla is very sensitive to our daughter's other school commitments, and supports the logistical juggling for me as well. Carla sees a role as a partner to her student and parents too.

I would highly recommend Carla - she is a gem. You can look at her website http://carlaswritingspace.com. Or better still call her on 510-847-3789. Very satisfied mom


Oct 2015

I highly recommend Carla Castillo's writing tutoring services. She loves working with kids of all ages and is a fantastic writing tutor. We used her to help our son write his college essays and I can't say enough good things about her! She made it a painless process for our son and the final product was far superior as a result of their work together. The turnaround time was really fast which was an added bonus when up against deadlines. Because of her stellar work, I had her review my nephew's essays for his UC applications, and was amazed to see how she could craft his words into a much improved essay. Both kids got into their first choice schools. I don't really like ''playing the game'' of college admissions, but in this day and age, I CLEARLY see the advantages of helping kids put their best foot forward with a well-written essay. Carla can definitely help with that! She can be reached at 510 847-3789 and her web page is www.carlaswritingspace.com. Sharon


Oct 2015

Our current freshman at Tufts University worked with Carla Castillo for several months when he was a senior at Albany High. She was extremely helpful through the college application process, in particular on the essay writing. Not only does she, of course, provide corrections for grammatical issues, but she thinks big picture and in many ways nudged the essay into providing more insight into who are son is, adding structure to his story, and punch to his strengths, all without affecting his genuine voice and tone. From our perspective, his essays were significantly improved with each round of reading and revising. She was also gracious in providing a quick turn-around even when our son put her into the corner with essays due ''tomorrow''. She was easy to work with, via email (actually through Google Docs) as well as in person. You can check her out at www.carlaswritingspace.com or call her at 510-847-3789. KYM 


Oct 2015

I highly recommend Carla Castillo as a writing tutor. She has been tutoring my eleven-year old son for several months now and I can only say the best things about her. Carla is highly focused and a very dedicated person. Carla is a very good listener and she is always very receptive to my input. She provides the ideal balance of structure, nurturing, and mentoring. My son looks forward to the time he spends working with Carla and genuinely enjoys their time together. Carla has been instrumental in building his confidence in his writing ability. Carla can be reached at (510-847-3789) or at www.carlaswritingspace.com happy parent


Oct 2015

Carla Castillo (phone 510-847-3789; website www.carlaswritingspace.com) worked very well with our daughter helping her to write her college application essays. They met once in person to set up their working relationship and get my daughter started on her essays. They then worked together editing various versions of the essays via email. My daughter found it very helpful and was successful in her efforts to get into college! Mom of BHS grad


May 2015

I am writing a recommendation for Carla Castillo. She helped my youngest son last year with his college application essays. My son thought Carla was prompt, professional and treated him with respect. Her suggestions and edits allowed my son to communicate succinctly with an eye to the college admission personnel whom must read hundreds of writing samples. He was admitted as a sophomore transfer student to a top 25 University, plus two others. I attribute his success in part to Carla's help. My oldest son recently employed Carla to assist with writing prompts for transfer to film school. Unlike my other son who worked methodically with Carla over several weeks, my older son waited until the 10th hour! (I think it is better to have more time to write, digest and process in a greater time period than 48 hours.) Carla really flexed with this scenario and allowed my son to focus on his core message, eliminating anxiety which can be daunting in a controlled setting of 200 words or less! She got him on the right track and helped ground him. Both my sons are very good writers. They wrote better with Carla Castillo's advice, edits and recommendations. Our family highly endorses Carla for her ability to help influence a powerful result. Patti S.


Feb 2015

I write professionally, but I thought it was best to go to a third party to help our Berkeley High son with his college essay. I've known Carla Castillo from our sons' baseball days, and I was pleased to learn that she has been branching off from her work as an appellate lawyer and helping kids with their essays. So, our son prepared a first draft, I gave him some ideas, and he had a meeting with Carla for some more suggestions. She OK'd what became the final product and it was sent out. Her help was not expensive. Great results! He's been accepted at all the A-list schools and two-of-three of his reach schools so far. And, my son and I are still on speaking terms. She's at simplycarlacastillo [at] gmail.com David B


Feb 2015

RE: College Application Guidance and Tutor for student

I gifted my niece the essay-writing assistance of Carla Castillo. I emailed my sister to get her view on Carla's help, and this is how she replied: 'Having Carla in the picture helped me do what was most important in this whole college application process, at least as far as the writing anyway, and that was to stay out of it unless asked for input. Carla was very helpful in keeping my daughter, a notorious procrastinator, on track by simply asking, 'when might you have a draft ready to discuss with me?' My daughter, who I think is a good writer to begin with, says, 'My final essay in its post-Carla form was about a gazillion times better than my first draft. Her suggestions were really useful, as she had a much better idea than I did of what colleges were looking for, but she always made sure to let me know that I had the final say. She was very easy to work with.' Here's Carla's contact info: www.carlaswritingspace.com ph 510-847-3789 barbwille


Our current senior at Albany High School has been working with Carla Castillo for the past several months. She was extremely helpful through the college application process, in particular on the essay writing. Not only does she, of course, provide corrections for grammatical issues, but she thinks big picture and in many ways nudged the essay into providing more insight into who are son is, adding structure to his story, and punch to his strengths, all without affecting his genuine voice and tone. From our perspective, his essays were significantly improved with each round of reading and revising. She was also gracious in providing a quick turn-around even when our son put her into the corner with essays due 'tomorrow'. She was easy to work with, via email (actually through Google Docs) as well as in person. You can check her out at www.carlaswritingspace.com or call her at 510-847-3789. Kym S 


Oct 2014

RE: Writing tutor for high school sophomore

I would like to recommend Carla Castillo as a college essay writing tutor. She worked with my son last year during his application process and her services proved invaluable. He really appreciated her help in organizing his ideas and the guidance she gave to help him say what he wanted to say. Carla didn't try to take over the process or the topics and allowed him to find his own voice. I appreciated that she made herself available with little notice and she was also very flexible about where they would meet whether it was our house, over the phone/Skype, or at a local coffee shop. She can be reached at simplycarla [at] icloud.com or through her website at www.carlaswritingspace.com. -mjp


A top notch writing tutor is Carla Castillo, who also is an expert on working with teens and their college essays. Please see the book, The Berkeley High Book of College Essays, for two of her students' essays. My son is having a positive experience working with her and appreciates her thoughtful feedback. I'm feeling grateful to step back and leave it to the experts. Many teens are developmentally more comfortable with feedback on personal statements from non-parents, as they are becoming independent. Happy teen...priceless. simplycarla [at] icloud.com www.carlaswritingspace.com Happy Mom, thanks to Carla


I wanted to chime in regarding, ''tutor review''. Both of my children have/are working with Carla Castillo, College Essay Tutor. Carla worked with my son, now a sophomore in college. He said, ''Carla really helped me articulate exactly what I wanted express in my essays.'' Carla is now working with my daughter, a senior in high school. Each child is different and Carla is able to accommodate both their writing styles. Carla is patient, an easy listener, fun and very capable of helping your child find their own writing voice. Her website is:http://carlaswritingspace.com Diana


Sept 2013

RE: College Essay tutor for high school senior

Carla Castillo provided writing coaching for my son during his senior year. Carla read his college application essays and gave thoughtful guidance. Carla was encouraging, patient, and understanding through the revisions. I would recommend Carla's professional service for your student's writing needs. You will be reassured after contacting Carla at simplycarlacastillo [at] gmail.com. Mary


I'm a little late in responding to the person who has a high school senior and is looking for someone to help with College Essays. I can strongly recommend Carla Castillo at: simplycarla [at] icloud.com or by phone at 510-847-3789. She worked with my son, a BHS 2013 graduate , on both of his essays. He felt like she totally understood what he was trying to say and was able to guide him in finding his own voice and to put that down on paper. Those essays can now be found in the latest edition of, The Berkeley High Book of College Essays on Amazon. I'm not trying to sell the book bus am using it as an example of where Carla can take a child with their writing. Wishing you the best in this next process Diana C


Sept 2013

RE: How to choose a private college counselor?

Yes, ''just starting the college process,'' an essay coach is different from a ''full service'' college counselor. A writing coach focuses on helping students build and strengthen their college application essays. If you want to go that route, I would recommend Carla Castillo. She has been coaching Berkeley High students as they work on their college application essays. She offers one-on-one, thoughtful and responsive coaching at very reasonable rates. She also is flexible in her approach to the writing process and connects with students in person, over the phone or Skype, or through email. You can contact her at simplycarla [at] icloud.com. I have so many positive comments about Carla's work with her students that I intend to have my son work with her next year when he embarks on the college application process. Good luck! Happy Mom of St.Paul's and BHS Student