Eight Westford Academy students are registered for my April 6 workshop on “Brainstorming your college application essay.” There are several more students who are wait-listed and hoping to get in.
I begin the session by asking each student to tell me about his or her interests and family life. The question seems simple enough, but what follows can be surprising. Some students have traveled or lived in exotic locations. They’re skilled in robotics, technology, sports, dance, or music. Even though they’re only 17 or 18, some have immersed themselves in other cultures or languages. Some coordinate events to raise funds for causes important to them.
They come to me with a wealth of rich experiences for writing an essay. The trick is to tell the story in just 650 words. Writing short is more difficult than writing long. It means every word counts. Action verbs are required and sentences must be carefully crafted.
After the introductions, I give the students short writing projects to help them think more deeply about their potential topic.
The goal is to engage them so that they want to write their story. If the students become interested, the exercise will be enjoyable rather than onerous.
I’m looking forward to Wednesday when I’ll meet another group of juniors and listen to their life experiences.
If your high school junior needs help getting started with the college essay writing process, please feel free to contact me. I can help him or her focus on a subject and begin writing within just an hour or two.
Contact the College Essay Confidante at: firstname.lastname@example.org.