Raising Hands

Results from our

Beyond the Box Courses

You taught me so much that helped prepare me for my English classes, skills that I use often, so thank you again— some teachers really do leave a lasting impact on their students!

~ Sierra

A long overdue email but just wanted to let you know that T has enjoyed the Writers camp tremendously! He’s learned a lot on how to write more engaging stories, and has found the instruction from both Royd and Shu-Hsien extremely effective. He’s especially found their use of metaphors in explaining writing concepts useful. He still remembers and has recently shared with me storytelling techniques that he’s learned from both instructors — “Do you know why the parents typically pass away in Disney movies?” All in all, an enjoyable and memorable camp for T!  

Thank you again - as a parent, I’ve also been impressed by how both of you were able to engage the kids despite delivering the instruction via Zoom!

~ M.T., Parent of 11-year-old

“Your work with my son was top-notch!”

~ T.C., Parent of 4th Grader, San Jose, CA.

 “I learned new words and ideas to improve my writing. It made me think of writing in a new way: “Imagination on Paper.”

~ A. Pham, 6th Grader, San Jose, CA

“That was really fun!”

~ 4th Grader’s comment after first class, Redwood City, CA

"It felt good and fun to write the story [in your workshop]. I learned how to put everything into paragraphs, how to add details and content, how to use periods and commas. I never wrote so much before! Students should go to your class."

~ 4th Grader, San Jose, CA 

 “This is my favorite class out of everything that I’ve done so far in my life, besides eating dark chocolate.”

~ Daniela, 4th Grader, Burlingame, CA

 “The support that Shu-Hsien was able to provide to our son as he wrote his private high school essays was invaluable. She was able to help him understand the importance of balancing creativity with organization, and also was able to teach him how to test for himself not only the grammatical correctness of his writing, but also the stylistic flow of his essays.”

~ Parent of 8th Grader, Los Altos, CA

"You helped me write...with more power. You have increased my grades and also made editing papers much easier. [Our lessons] allowed me to talk about what I love, which really helped me understand why I like doing what I do. Thanks a bunch! Hope to work with you again!"

~ K.W., 8th Grader, Los Altos, CA. Accepted into two out of three Private High Schools.

I can't say enough good things about Shu-Hsien Ho and Royd Hatta, a couple who teach writing to children and teens. Tomorrow is Josh's last-of-8 classes for the Winter session. His writing has improved substantially, and his willingness to write fiction and edit his work has grown enormously.

~ BAGHS Homeschooling Parent

Shu-Hsien (sue-shen) and Royd are so positive and encouraging, and their classes are highly engaging. At the same time, the kids learn real lessons about choosing descriptive words, creating suspense, developing characters, etc.

~ Parent of two Lyceum kids

Just wanted to say thanks SO much, again! This week was super fun and I'm really glad you decided to make it happen. I didn't think it was even possible, but somehow by coming to your workshops and classes, I've come to love writing even MORE! Probably it's because I've gotten better at it, thanks to you. I can't wait for more upcoming events!!

~ Jamie, 9th grader, Pleasanton CA

“Shu-Hsien helped me take a passion of mine and refine it into a self-published novel that is now sold online. Her editing skills, organization, and patience improved my writing for both novels and academic papers in high school and college. Her coaching has made the process of writing easier and more enjoyable, a rarity that I am grateful to have found. Her support and advice have been vital to my writing, and I would recommend her to any writer looking to improve.”

~ Erica Klein, Author of ta Naia, UC San Diego Student

“Shu-Hsien has moved us forward in our writing with clarity and focus. She asked the right questions for us to search deeply for the words to express our book's message.  I am amazed at how one session has been so valuable in our experience.  We are like a boat with a rudder moving in the right direction. Our vision is clear and our course is set. I am so grateful for her guidance, insights and validation.  Thank you, Shu-Hsien, for being such an important part of our project.  If you are a writer, support and guidance from someone like her is essential.”

~ L. Radford, Salt Lake City, Utah

I can't begin to thank you for the amazing year of writing instruction that you have given Zachary. I've watched him go from a basic writer (armed with the foundations but not skilled in paragraph and paper development) to a mature writer who can publish his own blog and sound like an adult! Most importantly, you made the process of learning writing skills fun. He really enjoyed your classes because they allowed him to deep dive into engaging topics while also working one-on-one with you and Royd. I couldn't have asked for more! Thank you so much! ~ Anna Durante, parent of 8th grader.

Classes included: Persuasive Essay Writing, 1-Page Business Plan/Teen Entrepreneurship, Literary Analysis Essays and Independent Research Papers . 

“Secrets to Writing Successful College Admissions Essays” Workshop


“Thank you so much! This workshop helped stimulate new ideas and clarify some broad questions I had. You definitely helped point out some important topics and possible essay ideas.”

~ Eve Survilo, 11th Grader, Freestyle Academy, Mountain View, Accepted Early Decision into NYU. 

“This class was awesome! It really got the juices flowing about what to consider when I’m writing my college essays. All your handouts were very useful. I look forward to other writing workshops that you do. I’ll be sure to check out your website.”

~ Heidy Boch, 12th Grader, Freestyle Academy, Mountain View.

 “Informative… Very knowledgeable in the subject.”

~ Derek, 12th Grader, Gunn High School, Palo Alto.

 “I thought this workshop was very useful. It really helped me get a clear view of what I need to focus on in my submissions to Universities. Great one-on-one attention with a teacher who knows the subject extremely well. A very good deal for the price. I strongly recommend this workshop.”

~ Julia Pressman, 12th Grader, Freestyle Academy, Mountain View.

“Shu-Hsien Ho gave a useful and outstanding College Admissions talk for our group! I would recommend her to work with your children considering how well she handled a group of preteen and teenagers for an evening. I was impressed with her level of respect with the children and with her ability to solicit participation and bring out their creative side. For those with experience, that age group is hard to do this with. I highly recommend Shu-Hsien Ho.”

~ Teresa Callen, Parent and Owner of Image Arts Salon, Menlo Park.

 “Shu-Hsien did a great job of encouraging teens to ask questions. The whole event was very interactive. The parents and teenagers got a lot of valuable information.”

~Sam Leung, Parent & Organizer of Parents Meetup Group, San Jose, CA.

One-on-One Coaching

for College Admissions Essays 


Thanks to you, my son got accepted into 9 out of 11 colleges, including UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Davis, Vanderbilt, Davidson, Grinnell, Washington and Lee, Miami, and University of Alabama. He has full tuition from Miami and Alabama and scholarships from UC Davis and Grinnell. So many possibilities. It's hard to choose. Any words of wisdom?

~ Natalie, parent of high school senior, San Jose.

Thanks so much for all the work you did with Sarah on her college essays.  You really helped her explore her options as far as what to write about and how to present it.  She thoroughly enjoyed working with you - and is very happy to have been accepted to one of her top choices, UCSB! Thanks again for sharing your expertise with Sarah!~Marlene, parent of St. Francis HS senior, Los Altos.

“What was most valuable was getting a second opinion from someone who is serious about the subject and knows what’s going on. Shu-Hsien really knows her stuff, has experience, and works with dozens of other students. I would definitely recommend getting this coaching. Shu-Hsien should open a franchise of tutoring offices!”~ Stanley, 12th Grader, Gunn High School, Palo Alto CA. Received Early Decision Acceptance into Boston University.

“The most valuable thing about having you working with Stanley on his college essays is that you did not “think” for him.  You worked with him but let him decide how he wanted to respond to the essay prompt and guided him through a series of revisions to come up with the final product.  As you and I have discussed before, the most difficult part of the writing process is thinking.  Each rewrite and revision is really to develop one’s idea or thoughts further.  For some people, it can get very uncomfortable when they have to write about themselves especially for the first time.  Stanley is definitely one of them.  The most important lesson you imparted on Stanley is precisely that he needed to challenge himself over and over again until his idea revealed itself clearly on paper.  You were able to do this by always asking leading questions such as: “I like your idea on ---, can you take it further?  I think I’d like to know more; what else can you tell your audience on this point?” The essays Stanley wrote for Boston University really reflected truly who he is as a person.


The additional benefit of having a third person involved in the essay writing process is the partial removal of parental stress on Stanley.  Most parents are anxious during this process and may end up putting too much pressure on the student if they are working with the child on the applications.  Having a writing coach gave me the confidence that Stanley will produce a solid piece of writing for his application without having to project my anxiety onto an already stressed child.  I appreciated the fact that you see communications with parents an important aspect of working with the student and I was copied on your email communications with Stanley so I know where he is at any given moment.  I am very satisfied with our working relationship and Stanley enjoyed working with you as well.  I have referred a couple people to you already and will continue to recommend your service to other parents.”

~ Grace, Parent of 12th Grader, Los Altos CA.

References Are Available Upon Request