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College Application Essay Workshop

In the hectic and stressful college admissions process, writing an effective personal essay can seem like one more obstacle to clear. However, you should see the personal essay as a great opportunity for you to:

  • Slow down the admissions process and reflect on what you want out of your college experience
  • Determine what special qualities you have to offer to the college community
  • Use the essay to stand out and be seen a real person, not just an application.

As an instructor of first-year writing courses, I’ve found that many freshmen arrive on campus without a clear sense of why they’ve come to college and how they fit in. In high school, being a successful student often means learning to meet teacher expectations, while the most successful college students actively engage with each learning experience according to their own intrinsic expectations. Writing the personal essay should be your first step in making that intellectual transition.

An effective personal essay helps college admissions officers—the people who decide whether you will be accepted—understand that you are more than just a compilation of test scores and grades; your personal essay is their chance to meet the individual behind the data. Your essay can help them see that you have the tools to succeed at their institution.

Students who attend our college essay workshop should come prepared to share, discuss, analyze, review, reflect, and write. We will:

  • Share our concerns and questions about the personal essay.
  • Discuss some of the differences between high school and college writing.
  • Analyze sample essay prompts from both the “Common App” and from specific local institutions, and develop writing strategies to respond to them.
  • Review and discuss different possibilities for structuring the personal essay.
  • Reflect and write, using activities and exercises designed to focus on interesting and effective essay topics.
  • Essay workshop. Information and pre-writing activities. Two hours. $30 for Prepare ACT-SAT students; $40 for non-Prepare students.