In this virtual workshop, students will work for 6 weeks to complete a solid college application essay. We will use the Common App essay prompts as the basis for the writing. Remember, these essays are short, but they need to energize the reader. Less is more, but more voice, more personality, more style are definitely the goals of this workshop. The success of a college essay is often rooted in a writer’s ability to rise off the page and into the imagination of an admissions officer. To that end, this workshop is meant to help students elevate their college essay through classic writing techniques. Students will read parts of successful college essays to look at ways writers use effective diction and syntax to create voice. Students will learn ways to add detail and imagery into their pieces to help their essays engage an audience. Students do not need to come to the first class with ideas, but the pace is quick. Turning around a college admissions essay in 6 weeks takes dedication and rigor. Students should be prepared to work daily between weekly sessions. Often we will meet as a group, workshopping each other's pieces or implementing techniques we learn in class. In other weeks, the instructor will meet with students individually to offer a personalized critique with specific suggestions. These sessions allow students to ask questions about their essays and get specific feedback. Additionally, the instructor will be available to give comments between classes to help move drafts along. In the end, students should have a nearly finished draft (nearly finished because an essay should always be read by several parties for feedback and be revisited before final submission in August).
Lisa Franz earned her MAT in English at Tufts University in 2002 and immediately began teaching English in Boston area middle schools. There she developed her love of helping young writers not only find their voice but own their writing process.