Friday, August 8, 2008



Following today’s session, students will be able to:
• Identify characteristics of powerful college essays and describe what to avoid
• Examine a variety of essay prompts, including UC prompts and Common App, and identify potential challenges
• List significant personal experiences
• List positive adjectives to describe themselves
• Rework potentially negative adjectives (i.e., procrastinate→good at working under pressure; shy→good listener) into positive ones
• Freewrite about significant experiences

Introductions and icebreaker: name, high school, hobby, college interested in, and something in the next year you’re excited about

Provide an overview of the week:
Monday: Examining prompts & prewriting
Tuesday: Examining more samples & drafting
Wednesday: Taking Risks and Effective Intros
Thursday: Revision & Style
Friday: Conclusions, Editing, Formatting, & Reflection

College Quiz and debrief: what does this make us think about in terms of selecting colleges?

Chart: What are colleges looking for? Then share Stanford acceptance envelope page and compare.

Film Clip: Gilmore Girls, Season 3 episode 3, “Application Anxiety” (from after opening theme song to approximately 10 minutes—until Lorelai and Rory are at the grandmother’s house and after Paris’s frantic phone call that shows she, too, is freaking out). Debrief--what does this clip reveal?

Small groups: Read, annotate, and discuss “The ---- That Changed My Life.” In what ways does it overlap/expand what you saw in the GG clip? What other advice does it give (add to chart)

Choral/Pointed Reading: "To Throw a Pot" (teacher reads aloud while students underline/highlight instances of good writing, then teacher reads aloud again. This time, students chime in by reading aloud any portions they underlined/highlighted. Detailed directions for choral reading are here.) Discuss: which parts were most popular/effective? Name strategies and techniques the writer used.

Small groups: Examine prompts—Common App and UC (word count & topics)
• What’s going to be challenging?
• What ideas spring to mind?

Getting Started brainstorm: list and discuss either adjectives or experiences

If time permits, write to Freewrite #1 (choose any topic)

Homework: Family and Friend Inventory chart (run this off on both sides so students have 2). Students should ask a parent, friend, neighbor, or other peer or family member to complete the worksheet. Bring it back tomorrow.

Exit slip: What went well today? What questions do you have, either about the college essay or the application/admissions process?


Jennifer Pust said...

2009 - Introduced "Hurdles" essay as the last activity before reflection. Gave inspirational pep talk. We will get there! :-)

Jennifer Pust said...

Have students make nametags at the beginning of class!!

Jennifer Pust said...

2014 - made a chart on day one to begin analyzing "To Throw a Pot" and "Hurdles" - categories were "Positive Qualities" [revealed by the applicant], "Stylistic Techniques," "Powerful Phrases/Good Writing," and "Potential Problems/What we Dislike". ..not sure if "Good Writing" and "Stylistic Techniques" as separate categories is redundant. Think about that for next time. Keeping a running chart across whiteboard to encapsulate every essay.