When we began designing the programs for STEM to Vine, we new that we wanted to include a writing workshop. The feedback that we received from college recruiters was that college essays are a key factor in the application process. Yet, many college applicants give essays the least amount of attention.
Common misconceptions are that essays can be written quickly, that they don’t need to be proofread, and that one essay will be good enough for each application. We didn’t want our students to believe any of these so we set up a writing workshop to get them moving in the right direction.
We began with workshop with rules of writing. We also went over what the colleges the students listed as their top choices are asking for in their applications. Not all universities require the same essay format. We looked at examples. Finally, we wrote. Well, the students wrote.
First, they did free-writing. They began to write on a given subject and couldn’t pick up their pencil or take their fingers off the keyboard for 15 minutes. This writing doesn’t get read aloud or passed to anyone else to read. It’s solely to loosen up the writer’s mind.
Then, we moved on to Common App writing prompt. The students were given adequate time to write their response. After they finished, a few students read their’s out loud and the group offered feedback. We are so lucky to work with a group of students who will offer each other support and critical feedback.
As an organization, we will continue to review the students’ essays and build their writing skills. STEM to Vine is committed to supporting our students in writing their best college essay.
Here are some Dos and Don’ts of Essay Writing that I shared with them during the workshop:
Be specific, clear and brief
Answer the question
Get off topic