July 31, 2017
High school seniors from all over the country can tell you that one of the most intimidating and infuriating parts of the college application process isn’t an exam or getting a recommendation letter- it’s writing personal statement essays. In an effort to demystify and defang the college essay writing process, 826 Boston hosted its first ever College Essay Academy on the week of July 24 through July 28, 2017.
Students worked towards a goal of leaving the academy equipped with at least a solid idea of how to build their college essay, if not with a completed draft in hand. Working in small groups with volunteers of all professional backgrounds, students made some headway into the daunting task of fitting one’s whole life experience into 650 words- or less. Through a workshop model of free-writing, drafting, group critique, and re-drafting, students began thinking about how to approach college essay prompts, before getting the opportunity to reflect on one another’s work and provide constructive criticism. Finally, students got some practice in refining their words and vision into a package that an admissions officer would happily place into the “accepted” pile.
826 Boston would like to extend a thank you to all of the volunteers who came out to support our students, and a “good luck” to the students themselves as they face the Common App- hopefully armed with a little extra confidence in their writing!