About Prompt

Brad, Jordan, and John are MIT grads who founded Prompt to make people better writers.

Brad
Brad
Jordan
Jordan
John
John

As writers, they all separately came to the realization that defines Prompt: receiving writing planning instruction and written feedback is the best way to improve writing skills.

In 2013, they found each other, and in 2014, a company was born. Today, Prompt is a world leader in writing education, supporting more than 50,000 learners. Prompt provides fully-integrated writing education solutions, combining instruction, curriculum, and feedback. Prompt supports learners of all ages, working directly with educational institutions, companies, and individuals.

History

Here’s a short history of Prompt and our philosophy as told by Brad Schiller, our eternally optimistic CEO:

2014
When we launched, we were part-time. Jordan and John were still at MIT studying computer science, and I was a freelance consultant. We started by providing written feedback on people's writing. We did all of the reviews ourselves. As it turns out, providing people an option to get their reviews in 6 hours, 24/7, was a bad call. We were working at all hours of the day and night. Yet, we found we were onto something—people loved our thorough, instructional, and actionable feedback.
2015
We realized most people don’t know they need help with writing. To combat this, we ran an experiment. We allowed people to submit their writing for free. We provided feedback on thousands of essays and learned three things that are ingrained in our philosophy today:
  1. Learning to write is an iterative process. People cannot fix every issue with every essay. People need to focus on a few core skills in their planning, writing, and revising. As they master one skill, they can move onto other skills. We focus on the two to three core issues with each essay, enabling people to improve their skills over time.
  2. Tone is critical. People are motivated by positive, upbeat language that makes them feel they can take action and succeed.
  3. Action is the priority. Merely identifying what is wrong is not enough. Most people don’t know what to do with a comment like “you don’t have a thesis statement.” Instead, it’s important to instruct people about what the problem is (e.g., here’s what a thesis statement is) and provide clear instructions for them to act (e.g., here’s how to think about your thesis statement in the context of your assignment and thoughts).
  4. Learning to write is an iterative process. Most students don’t want to completely rewrite their essays. Instead, we found they wanted to improve their writing in less than 30 minutes. We focus on the two to three core issues with each essay, enabling students to improve their skills over time.
2016
Our admissions essay feedback business started growing quickly.
2017 - 2018
We more than doubled in size each year while refining our approach.
2019
We became the largest provider of high-quality admissions essay coaching and feedback in the world.
2020
We launched instruction and curriculum. We created a learning management system specifically designed for writing.
  • Instruction. We started running small group virtual courses and interventions in collaboration with educational institutions. We ran IELTS/TOEFL preparation courses and bootcamps for writing. We delivered argumentative writing courses and interventions.
  • Curriculum. We collaborated with writing researchers to develop an evidence-based English Writing Foundations program that systematically builds foundational English writing skills: sentence structures, grammar mechanics, summarization and paraphrasing, and writing paragraphs.
2021
We're the world's fastest-growing writing education company. We have multiple solutions to meet the needs of educational institutions, companies, and individuals.
  • English learners globally. We provide English writing curriculum, courses, and interventions for K-12 and higher education. In the workplace, we provided self-guided and instructor-led English and business writing courses and assessments.
  • Developmental English. We collaborate with K-12 and higher education institutions to deliver courses and interventions for struggling writers.
  • Admissions essays. We will provide one-to-one coaching to many thousands of students and provide feedback on more than 20 times as many essays as the next closest company.
  • General writing coaching and feedback. We are a virtual writing center for students and academics as they plan, write, and revise their writing.
Future
Our vision is to make people better writers. We aim to support all people across K-12, higher education, and the workforce – regardless of income, skill level, or geography. We aspire to enable all people to take control of their learning, matriculate and persist in postsecondary education, and succeed in their careers and lives.

Our writing instruction and feedback is what great educators provide when they have more time

Writing is structured thinking – not just grammar. We focus on the higher-order aspects of writing: content, structure, and clarity. This strengthens critical thinking and written communication skills.

Our approach is that of a great educator. We use evidence-based methods to build generalizable and transferable writing skills that enable people to write independently across any subject.

  • Writing to Learn is the skillset people use to generate insight and understanding from information and source materials. It forms the foundation of critical thinking.
  • Self-regulation skills allow people to independently evaluate, assess, and improve their writing within and across each step of the writing process (planning, writing, revising).
  • Sentence-level skills are a core component of language acquisition and critical to readability (grammar, fluency, style).

The most important thing we offer is time. The world’s education system is not set up to support people with writing. It’s a math problem (our founders did go to MIT after all). Let’s say an educator has 100 people across their classes. Spending just 5 minutes providing one-to-one instruction and feedback on each person's essay would take over 8 hours. Now, we know 5 minutes is not enough. At Prompt, we’ve found common essays require 12-15 minutes, and critical essays, like those for college admissions, require about 45. As such, a great educator would need to spend over 20 hours supporting each person on a single writing assignment – along with everything else they need to teach.

Prompt delivers time. We offer a variety of standard and custom solutions to meet the needs of educational institutions, companies, and individuals. The result is more individualized attention per person and dramatically improved writing outcomes.

  • Flipped classroom. People can independently go through writing instruction and practice at their own pace. Educators can monitor progress in real-time and intervene with small group or one-to-one instruction as needed.
  • Virtual instruction. Prompt's Writing Instructors and Coaches provide small group and one-to-one instruction that meets each person's specific needs. We deliver full courses, interventions, and ongoing support (e.g., weekly small group sessions for struggling writers or English learners, writing feedback).

We find great writing instructors and coaches

We accept fewer than 2% of candidates into our network and continuously monitor their performance. We have a rigorous process for onboarding new instructors and coaches. We screen for certain traits: personableness, thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and tone. Then, coaches go through tens of hours of orientation and evaluation before they’re admitted to the network.

Our Writing Instructors and Coaches have a wide range of life experiences and backgrounds, including teachers, academics, journalists, authors, and playwrights. We find there are many common threads: 80% have an advanced degree (all have undergrad degrees). 75% have prior teaching experience. All are passionate about working with people to improve their writing skills.

We deliver consistent instruction

Writing instruction and feedback is really hard. It is very different from math, test prep, or spoken language tutoring. In writing, there are many shades of “right” and many ability levels. We've figured it out and have the capacity to provide tens of thousands of instructional hours per month.

We use evidence-based methods. We collaborate with many of the world's leading writing researchers and instructors. We integrate the highest-efficacy approaches into programs that get results.

  • Struggling writers. A 4-week argumentative writing intervention generates a 0.6 effect size (a 0.6 standard deviation improvement between pre and post-assessment).
  • English learners. People taking the IELTS English proficiency test improve their writing score an average of a full level with 40 hours of small group instruction (e.g., improving a level 5.5 to a level 6.5).
  • Advanced writers. Students taking writing-intensive AP Exams dramatically improved their pass rates with less than one hour of one-to-one instruction and writing feedback (e.g., one school went from a 52% historical pass rate to 82%).
  • Admissions essays. 3 in 4 students get into one or more "reach" colleges, defined as having an academic profile (e.g., test scores) below the average admitted student.

We excel at operations. The first step is to identify talented instructors and coaches who are personable, thorough, thoughtful, and relentlessly positive. The second step is to implement a clearly defined process instructors and coaches follow that builds self-regulation skills and grows each and every person’s abilities. The third step is to operate as a managed community, allowing more experienced instructors and coaches to quality check and support their peers.

Interested in learning more? Click here to view Prompt's full product list, or dial 1 (844) 577-6678.