826 Boston’s annual college essay extravaganza, College Essay Boot Camp, serves more than 100 students each year. Volunteers receive training and are paired with high school juniors and seniors who are working on those all-important 650 words.


Last year’s College Essay Boot Camp was a huge success, thanks to the incredible outpouring of our volunteer network. Through the one-day event at Northeastern University and events hosted at corporate campuses across the city, we helped students write 274 college essays.

The college essay is arguably one of the most important pieces of writing our students will ever produce in their lives, but many students are trying to chart a course to college on their own. College Essay Boot Camp can be the critical support students need.

Some stats about past College Essay Boot Camp participants:

  • 60% of students who attended had parents who were born outside of the United States;
  • 45% of students reported that they would be the first in their families to attend college;
  • 48% of students had not started their essays prior to College Essay Boot Camp…
  • and 70% of students left College Essay Boot Camp with a 1st, 2nd, or final draft in hand.

“Thank you, 826 Boston, for your amazing work with our college-bound students. Your programs truly make a difference.” – Josette Teneus, mother and guidance counselor, Charlestown High School

“To be honest, I came here with no ideas, no topic, nothing. I am so grateful to be a participant in this program. I overcame a lot.” – Former student participant

826 Boston’s College Essay Academies introduce students to the ins and outs of the Common App and the components of a strong college essay, all with the support of a trained tutor. At the end of the day, students leave with a complete first draft of their personal statement.

If you’d like to volunteer at an event this summer, contact our volunteer team. College Essay Academy sessions will be held inside at 826 Boston’s center and Boston Public Schools in late August/early September.

In 2017, 826 Boston piloted College Essay Boot Camp on the road, a new way for college seniors to work with tutors on what could be their most important piece of writing to date.

We hosted mini-events at Babson CollegeHubspotMorgan Stanley, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Combined, we helped students write 196 college essays.

If you would like to get your company on the 2017 road trip, please contact our volunteer team by email to get started.