Welcome to Authentic Applicant! My name is Katherine Schoppel, and I'm so happy you are here. As my company name suggests, I help students present their most authentic (and thus most attractive) selves to the colleges of their dreams.

Since 1999, I’ve taught literature and writing to juniors and seniors. The last 23 years have been spent at a Blue Ribbon school, the number one school in my state that is within the top 300 schools in the country. I teach all types of learners: some need more scaffolding in reading and writing, while others excel in my AP literature course.

For the last 15 years, I've run a center wherein I guide students through the college essay, supplements, and activities section of the Common App. Working with students in this capacity, and being privy to the success they experience and the pride they feel is deeply gratifying.  The college essay course I soon started quickly became very popular, with private sessions selling out within a couple of days. In response, I created Authentic Applicant, a more accessible digital course that helps students attain that elusive yet incredibly satisfying balance: holistic applications that impress today's admissions officers while also honoring, protecting, and revealing the student's sense of self.  Since then, I've worked with students from all around the country, and of differing backgrounds. However, one thing unites my various clients: they all feel best when they are empowered with the confidence and understanding needed to navigate (and, dare I say ENJOY) this process. 

about me...

I'm Katherine

My job as a college essay coach is not only about the personal essay  and making sure a client's application "looks good" for college; my work centers around the applicant. At the end of the day, I am a teacher. I understand teenagers, how they work, and how they...don't.  I lead with compassion and curiosity because my primary goal is to provide agency, knowledge, and ease to young people as they navigate this crucial time. In so doing, students AND their families can feel more connection and joy during their remaining months at home together.

By combining my training and expertise with young people, writing, AND college admissions, I help students create authentic and purposeful college essays, supplements, and packages that gain them admittance to some of our country's most competitive colleges and universities. To put it simply, the authentic applicant is a successful applicant.

why me?

genuine; real
having an origin supported by unquestionable evidence


Nice to meet you!

  • Sushi is always a good idea. 
  • Reading beautiful books, watching terrible tv, getting lost in movies, and carting my kids to a zillion activities all fill me up. 
  • Skiing, camping, and fun at the beach are made better when my huge family joins. 
  • Gardening is for heroes. I'm just not one of them.
  • I make a mean charcuterie board
  • I swore I'd never live and work in the same town, but here I am with my husband, two children, and our dog, Goose. I see my current and former students everywhere I go, and it always brings me joy.

Fun Facts About Me

What should I write my college essay about? 
What if nothing extraordinary has "happened" to me?
How do I even begin the college essay? 
How much do the common app fill-ins matter?
How do I set myself apart from others in the college essay?
What about those supplemental essays??

The good news? These are perfectly normal questions. The great news? You don't have to be in this alone; I can help with those questions and SO many more. 

Let me guess: You have some questions?

Now, back to you!!

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