Full Day Writing Workshop


This one-day session is designed to assist each student with developing a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to writing their college essay. Following the workshop, students may register for an editorial review with our staff or will be prepared to submit their essays to their teacher or counselor for review.

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Full Day Writing Workshop

Our full day writing workshop provides comprehensive guidance through the essay writing process and will provide hands-on guidance through the following topics:

  • Choosing a Topic: What should be the focus of your essays? What topic, event, or experience will provide a context for your overall college or scholarship application?
  • Elements of a Powerful Opening: What are the elements of your opening? Are you standing on a mountain top, looking out the window pondering your future, or sitting alongside the hospital bed of a loved one?
  • Elements of a Powerful Story: What is the story that you want to tell and, based on the selectivity of your colleges, is the story that admissions officers need. to hear to advocate for your admission?
  • What are the non-cognitive variables reflected in your essay? With so many colleges engaging in the holistic review of applications, admissions officers want to see these research-based variables reflected in your essay.
  • What activities, service, and leadership? What are the activities, service, and leadership experiences reflected in your application that will provide breath and depth to your essay?
  • What is your closing? How will your closing communicate what you will bring to your college classrooms and campus community? Why should you be offered admission?

The session will also provide tips for use language, vocabulary, and punctuation that will not distract from your voice.

  • Vocabulary
  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Conciseness
  • Grammar
  • Word Usage

This one-day session is designed to assist each student with developing a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to writing their college essay. Following the workshop, students may register for an editorial review with our staff or will be prepared to submit their essays to their teacher or counselor for review.

Following are examples of strong essay openings:

My life as a competitive debater:

Since my first debate tournament in the 6th grade, competitive debate has at times socially, and temporally, dominated my life. Following a childhood characterized by an insatiable curiosity quenched only by questioning, reading, and challenging everything, standing on the debate stage compelled people to listen to me and my ideas. Only the beep of the timer could shut me up. 

Born with Brachial Plexus (or Erb’s Palsy)

Kathryn Lasky’s novel, “Lone Wolf,” describes the life of a wolf born with a splayed paw. While all wolves are born deaf and blind, the lone wolf with the sprayed paw, had dubious odds of surviving the harsh wilderness. Forced to leave the pack, the pup was found by a bear who taught him how to survive. She inspired the wolf’s own ingenuity and forced him to use his injured paw in situations that were uncomfortable and by most accounts, unimaginable. Throughout my life, I too, have been a ‘Lone Wolf.’

An unexpected encounter:

Like any other day, I stepped off the bus, hurried up the tall stack of steps, pushed through the revolving doors, flashed my employee badge, waved to Ms. Fields, and walked through the large lobby. I could only hear my footsteps as they reverberated through the tall atrium. I paused a moment, as I always do, to take in the white, airy expanse of the museum and watch the sun slowly seep through the skylights. After my morning ritual I strolled down one of several ramps that wind from one floor to the next and entered the room where my coworkers and I meet.

My Story…

In 2001, my father was shot to death on our front lawn. Too young to fully understand the circumstances surrounding my father’s death, I can only remember the endless tears of my mother and siblings. My nine siblings and I unexpectedly found ourselves being raised by a single mother who had not graduated from high school. The death of my father, the disciplinarian and financial breadwinner, left our family emotionally and financially devastated. We were not only in disarray, for years our household was dysfunctional. I entered elementary school emotionally troubled and socially detached. With my single-parent mother working long hours, at minimum wages to support our family, I had no at-home academic support or academic role models. Consequently, I struggled academically and was routinely disruptive throughout elementary school.


While I have always loved learning, it was during my sophomore year of high school that I discovered my passion for health sciences. My introduction to health sciences was through a class in basic anatomy and physiology. My favorite unit was on the nervous system. I was intrigued by the complexity of the human brain. I was also fascinated with the study of pathophysiology of the brain, including mental health and the stigma associated with mental illness.

I developed a personal connection to the study of health sciences and neurological disorders as a result of my own diagnosis with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I was dumbfounded with my diagnosis, but enthralled with the voluminous medical literature pertaining to ADHD. I read several pieces of informative material, cynically comparing my attributes and habits to the signs and symptoms of ADHD. I not only accepted my diagnosis, but felt an overwhelming sense of relief, and perhaps a bit of personal pride. Prior to having a clinical diagnosis, I had successfully developed many strategies and routines which had allowed me to achieve educational success despite having a condition infamous for disrupting academic careers. Admittedly, I was looking for anything to prove my doctor wrong—I didn’t find much. What I did find, however, was a plethora of fascinating information about the pathophysiology of ADHD.


  • A sequence of topics will be presented throughout the day
  • Following each topic, students will have a period of writing
  • Each paragraph of each student’s essay will undergo a staff or peer review
  • Students will receive suggestions in regard to language and tone


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