We’re always learning something new – from admissions officers, colleagues, clients and students. College Essay Institute gives us a chance to share our latest tips and insights with you.
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Your training was invaluable as we spoke with seniors today. Those who hadn’t started came away with ideas they were passionate about. Those who needed focus, found it. And those who wanted affirmation they were on the right track went to work polishing their final products. Thank you again! – Lindsay Wolfe, Southfield Christian High School
Sample Essays: The Good, the Bad & the Best Practices
Are you tired of picture perfect samples that seem too good to be true? We talk about when and how to share samples, how to choose them, and what to point out to your students. Does a great story make a great essay? Do you need a stunning opening line? How much does punctuation matter? Let’s talk!
Avoid Procrastination & Keep the Peace
Why do young people procrastinate? How can you keep them on track? We’ve figured it out! We share our best tips so you can create systems that work early in the season to keep students focused and on task from beginning to end. What will you get in return? Calmer students, more satisfied parents and fewer sleepless nights.
Supplemental Essays: Activities, Communities & Creative Prompts
Supplemental essays matter more and more each year. Get tips and tools to make sure your students’ “Why College X” essays stand out. Help them write about activities and communities in meaningful ways. And do it all without falling back on formulaic instructions.
Personal Statements: Beyond the Common App
How does the UC personal statement differ from the Common App? What about Apply Texas or all the state universities that ask their own distinct questions? Learn how to focus student stories to help them reflect on the past and consider the future in order to address a range of personal statement prompts. We’ve gone straight to the source – the colleges themselves – to develop detailed strategies that will help you guide your students through these important essays.
Straw Into Gold: Brainstorming Techniques that Work Like Magic
We ask our students to come to their brainstorming appointments with at least four story ideas. What happens when those ideas are weak, cliché or incomplete? We’ll use real examples to demonstrate how we turn uninspired ideas into meaningful essay topics by focusing on process instead of product. Learn how to encourage reflection so students own their ideas and write better first drafts.
Here’s How Much I Love You: Mastering the “Why College X” Essay
Essays that ask why a student wants to attend a particular school or program are becoming increasingly important. Does she have to name a professor or a course to show that she knows the school? Does he have to describe in detail how the school is unlike any other? We’ll explore a variety of sample prompts and discuss how to help students show colleges who they are without sounding like everyone else.
Get In, Get Out and Get It Right: The 30-minute Essay Review
It should never take more than 30 minutes to review a student essay if you know what to look for and what to set aside. We’ll show you how to create guidelines and templates to simplify your review process so you can comment on content first, followed by structure and then polish. You’ll learn to clarify content issues up front, encourage more creative structure and address poor writing skills among native and non-native speakers.
Organizing Principles of Superstar Writing Coaches
Do you find yourself repeating the same advice over and over? Are you buried in essay edits late in the season? Get some relief! We share suggestions for boot camps, handouts and checklists so you can stay on top of the load without pulling all-nighters.
What We Say and What They Hear
What do you mean when you tell students to share their passions? Avoid clichés? Stay away from controversial subjects? What do these statements mean to young writers? We will discuss strategies for clarifying your essay-related messages so students understand exactly what colleges are looking for and how they can stand out. We explore messages, meaning and misinterpretation to help you conserve time and energy, and get better results.
Great Supplements: Making Every Essay Count
Even the best writing coaches can get stuck when they move beyond the personal statement. We show you how to help students write “Why College X” essays that are more than mini marketing brochures, and activity essays that go beyond the winning goal.
When Students Believe They “Can’t Write”
Have you ever heard, “I can’t write”? Whether they are math and science geniuses, or ESL students, kids who lack confidence and find the essay daunting present challenges to all of us. We’ll discuss ways to help struggling writers find and love their voices, and feel comfortable and confident about their words and messages.
Listening 201: Elements of a Great Idea
Get that great idea on paper without feeling like you’re pulling teeth. We discuss brainstorming techniques, student voice and how to help young people recognize their own best ideas. We also talk about how to align student, parent and professional expectations to make the most of the essay-writing process.
Early Drafts: Embracing the Messy Middle
What does it mean to think like a writer, and why should you try? We talk about non-linear revision and how to improve student drafts by noticing everything, then parceling out suggestions a few at a time.
Dismantling the Scaffold: Dull Openings and Other Structural Problems
Learn how to move seamlessly from content to structure by helping students do the hard work with pride and purpose. We explore what to do when the essay’s best line is buried in the third paragraph, and other common challenges.
Enough Is Enough: Letting Go of the Imperfect Essay
Streamline your editing skills to save time and aggravation. We discuss polishing essays without going too far, along with how to prepare students to respectfully deal with well-meaning adults who ask to read their finished essays.