Julia Illana


Julia Illana

College Essay Specialist

B.A. Brown University

Introduce yourself:

When I got to Brown University, I was pretty sure I was going to major in something respectably academic-sounding, like computer science or anthropology-- but an introductory art class reignited my love of visual storytelling and led me to double-major in art and writing instead!


I spent my college career making sculptures, writing essays, and taking on unusual summer internships (highlights include: hauling amps for girl bands, scanning declassified military documents, and walking a fashion week runway dressed as a robotic elephant). After graduation, I stayed in Brown’s Visual Arts department as a teaching assistant, until schools started shutting down their in-person classes.


Nowadays, I’m back in my hometown of Durham, North Carolina, where I spend my time editing essays and working as a freelance artist. When I’m not working, I can be found hiking at the Eno River, practicing the mandolin, and reading oodles of indie comics.


Fun Facts:

  • I collect all kinds of zines... and I’ve made a few too!
  • I used to work as a puppetmaker.
  • The last movie I saw in theatres before COVID hit was Cats (2019).


Pop Quiz:

If I were a dean of admissions this is an essay prompt that I'd want students to answer: What is your secret?

What do you spend too much time doing? Watching analytical video essays on movies I haven’t seen.

Which historical figure would you like to meet? Florence Foster Jenkins

Let’s Begin Our Conversation

Get In Touch