College Essay Writing Workshop

Workshop Description

Students will learn how to turn everyday experiences into compelling stories that will help them catch the attention of  counselors to their admission essays. This workshop takes students through Steps 1-4 of the ten-step Wow Method.


At the conclusion of the three-hour workshop, students will:

  • Understand the concept of “knowing your audience
  • Understand the concept that “an admission essay is a story about you
  • Understand that every writer has a unique writing voice
  • Explore experiences to write an admission essay, and choose a topic
  • Understand the importance of details
  • Have a theme for one essay and understand that a theme has two parts: 1) What happened? and 2) Why does it matter?
  • Understand that they are not writing about a static topic; rather, they are writing about an experience (what happened?) and what they learned/gained from it (why does it matter?)

Time Commitment

  • 3 hours

Student Materials

  • Students should come to the workshop prepared to write. They will need paper and a pen. A laptop or tablet is optional.

Instructor Preparation

Review all instructions and handouts. Please note that instructions include suggested language. Make the key points using your own words.

  • The purpose of this workshop is to teach young people to tell their own stories in their own voices, and to do so as clearly and effectively as possible.
  • For this reason, the curriculum intentionally does not include any full sample essays. If students are interested in sample essays, they can find them online or in books. However, we discourage them from using any samples they find as models for their own work. Everyone’s voice is unique. There is no formula for writing the “right” type of essay.

Bring These Items to the Workshop

  • Enough copies of all handouts for your students
  • Pens
  • Lined paper
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