The Essay Workshop
Writing essays that work
September 15, 2019
1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Beechwood High School Library
*limited to 20 participants
The Essay Workshop prepares students to write meaningful essays that leave an impression with decision-makers in admissions and scholarship offices. Over the course of four hours, students will learn how to write a personal narrative and develop a smarter approach to the most common essay topics.
I really appreciate the advice you've given me. The course helped me look deeper into who I am and what makes me valuable going into college.
-Rachel, senior student
Everyone knows how important test scores are when it comes to competitive college admissions and selective scholarships. What is often underestimated is the importance of the college essay. Over 60% of colleges report that the college essay is extremely or moderately important for admissions. The essay is the one chance for a college to get a strong sense of an applicant’s personality.
There are two gigantic mistakes students make when they write college essays. The first is that they write it like an AP English paper. The second is that they think this is the place to impress the college. Neither works. The Essay Workshop will teach students to write a college essay that works, one that reveal who as student is as opposed to marketing the student.
Every year, the most selective colleges get more and more applications. Schools that had a 12% admission rate two years ago might have an 8% admission rate now. Competition is fierce, lots of kids have great test scores, and the essay becomes the factor that separates students from the pack.
Although I offer one-on-one comprehensive packages, this four hour workshop is a small group setting that will get students in the right direction. We will brainstorm great topics, learn the essay structure and begin writing. We can accomplish a lot in four hours!
I learned how to write a college essay and what colleges look for on applications. I now know how to make myself stand out from others.
-Kelsey, senior student
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do I need to do ahead of time? Should I bring a rough draft?
No, do not write anything before you come to class. In fact, it’s tougher to work with students who started off in the wrong direction than students who come ready to reflect and learn.
What do I need to bring? What do you provide?
A laptop or other type of device will be helpful when we begin writing. If you’d rather bring paper and your favorite pen, that works too. Other than that, I have a folder for each of you with all the supplies we need. I also provide water and great snacks to keep it fun.
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Due to limited class sizes, refunds cannot be issued. However, if space is available at a subsequent essay workshop, students can be rescheduled to a later date.
Why should I sign my child up for The Essay Workshop?
The essay is always the highest ranked non-academic factor in college admissions.
The data below is the Admission Trends Survey from NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling).
The essay is also the final piece of their application of which students have complete control.
Selective colleges and many scholarship committees review applications holistically, meaning the entire application beyond the ACT and GPA.
This workshop helps students put together the very best application they can. We frequently say that the numbers open the door, but the essay gets them through it.
How can The Essay Workshop help parents?
1. The number one myth is that you have to market your child. That thought couldn't be further from the truth. The students' objective is not to promote themselves--it is to reveal themselves. And what do I mean by that? Students need to be vulnerable and tell their story. We don't ask kids to do this much, but they need to look within themselves and understand why they are who they are. It's hard to do and the workshop will help. In fact, our first activities in the workshop are vulnerability exercises.
2. Students struggle with the essay. When students struggle, they procrastinate. When students procrastinate, parents nudge or nag or burst into violent fits. Maybe that's extreme, but you get where I'm going. Four hours with me and your child will have an essay they're excited to write. Working ahead on college applications ensures a high quality product well before deadlines in the fall. If your child's deadlines are close, then you really need this workshop!
3. This type of writing is not taught often in schools. Yes, some senior English teachers assign the college essay, but I feel they sometimes get it wrong too. The essay should have voice and tone, and it should not sound like an AP English paper. I teach the personal statement with an English background, but from the college admissions perspective. Students will learn what colleges want, and more importantly, what they don't want.
4. Scholarships matter. Even if schools have admissions practices that do not use essays, their scholarships might. In Kentucky, the University of Louisville, for example, does not require an essay until you compete for their most prestigious scholarships. In our workshop, along with the personal statement, we will review all types of common essay topics and how to approach them. When students finish the day, they will be equipped to handle any application essay.
Vulnerability training / modeling. You've got to get deep, and quick.
Brainstorming Activities. Begin to find your story.
Values Exercise. In a great essay, you have shown growth and insight.
The College Essay Basics. What it is and what is isn’t.
Narrative Structure. This matters. A lot.
How to Write a Narrative Essay. Putting your story into that structure.
Short Break. You deserve it!
Paired Sharing. Feedback from each other. Stay vulnerable. Tell a great story.
Picking a topic and getting started on a draft. Let's get some work done!
Giving and receiving feedback. Scary but impactful.
Short Break. Much needed now.
Other types of essays. How to handle supplements.
Time to draft. Let’s write!