Lisa Cornelio



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I help people of all ages develop strategies to handle transitions, overcome obstacles and set and reach goals. I do this by using the concrete tools I’ve developed in my work with hundreds of clients over the years – families, students, authors and working professionals who were ready to look beyond more traditional approaches to the challenges we all face at some point in our lives. 


I’ve been teaching for thirty years, both in the classroom and privately. My practice incorporates mindfulness and strategies to combat test anxiety as well as alternative learning techniques for those who learn differently. While I provide some academic tutoring in the humanities as well as standardized test prep, my primary focus is on college admissions advising and college essays. I also offer Executive Function coaching.


I work with writers at all stages of manuscript development, from initial proposal to completed project. I’m available as a ghostwriter as well as an editor for both substantive and line edits. For writers hoping to deepen their skills, I offer online and in-person writing skills development.


I offer custom talks for adult and teen audiences on a variety of topics including how to develop resilience and grit. I also craft tailor-made talks for specific groups and provide workshops that build on the skills I discuss. Contact me to learn more.


Matthew Woodhall, Head of School - The Woodhall School



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about me


For almost thirty years, I’ve been working with people of all ages to reach their goals – whether it's a better score on a test, admission to a competitive college or a well-written, polished manuscript. In my work I’ve learned why some folks swim to the finish line with ease while others crumble. 

Swimming was never my strong suit, so when I signed up for my first Ironman triathlon – a 140.6 mile race in New York City, I eyed the murky waters of the Hudson River with escalating apprehension. Rather than just hope I’d be able to complete the 2.4 mile swim with my haphazard stroke, I decided to hire a coach. I knew how to swim but because of the size of the challenge I faced, I wanted to swim better.

You may be at a similar point in your life – already able or hoping to reach your goals, but not without some serious anxiety and maybe a few mouthfuls of dirty water. Working with a coach will not just diminish your fear and decrease your chances of swallowing some brackish; it may actually enable you to enjoy yourself, have more energy for other parts of your life and help you reach your own personal finish line in one piece.


After nine years of Catholic school and countless penmanship lessons, I left my hometown in Connecticut’s northwest corner to attend Phillips Exeter Academy, where I learned how to learn.

I chose Princeton next, and majored in English, women’s studies, rowing and rock and roll. After graduation, I moved to NYC where I became a performing songwriter.  I also worked for an international test prep company, training their instructors, writing their verbal materials and teaching classes and individuals in all five boroughs. Test prep branched out into college advising and songwriting evolved into non-fiction writing and editing. 

Coaching and speaking are natural extensions of the work I’ve been doing my whole life – listening, guiding and connecting. As an athlete and a performer, a teacher and a writer, I’m grateful to have discovered these new avenues to help and inspire others.



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happy clients


“Lisa is the coach, tutor and compassionate consultant who made the process not only successful but also - I’m not kidding! - joyful. She is thoroughly professional but brings a casual demeanor to the table; she is deeply experienced but brings a fresh eye and curious ear to each new family. She is honest but kind. And, because Lisa is such a grown-up herself, in the best sense of the word, she continues to love the complexities of being a kid, and is an ally who is armed with intelligence, wit, and wisdom.”

Stacy Cochran, Manhattan

"You will never get a better editor than Lisa Cornelio.  Lisa has worked with me on four books, one of which won a Best Book Award.  She is an absolute gem.  She has a wonderful ability to get the message right without losing the author's voice.  Consistently, she has made my work better than what I presented to her and each time, the end product sounded like my own voice.  She challenges you, but in a gracious, respectful, and humorous way.  I heartily recommend her!"

Timothy Fort, Eveleigh Professor of Business Ethics; Kelley School of Business

“Lisa is truly the professional’s professional in every way and has provided our family with smart and thoughtful support over the years. She’s worked closely with our three children and connected with each of them in a productive and meaningful way. She works hard to help bring out the individual voice of a student and knows how to empower them to feel good about who they are and what
they have to say.

Lisa is so sharp — she quickly accesses what a situation looks like, what needs to be done and then how to best get from the start to the finish. She has helped with college essay work as well as general writing skills and her impact has been tremendous. My children don’t realize it but at the same time she has served as a coach, cheerleader and believer in each of them. That is a very nice thing for a teenager to have during these competitive and challenging years.

Lastly, she is such a nice person and cares about families so much that I have really enjoyed and benefitted personally by having her in our lives. In this crazy fast paced life of NYC, it is a gift to have such a well-rounded good person in the mix helping my children.”

Amanda, Manhattan



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To find out if working together is right for you, contact me so we can talk. I look forward to hearing from you!