This online workshop is designed to help students produce a top essay in response to a 2018-19 Common Application essay prompt. This workshop isn't intended merely to be “practice” or “instruction,” but rather students should emerge from this workshop with an essay that they can actually use when they apply to colleges in the fall. Almost every college uses the Common App today, but students who know they want to apply to colleges or scholarships that use different prompts are welcome to work on those essays in this workshop instead.
This summer, I'll offer three separate workshops:
- Workshop 1: May 14 - June 24 (Drafts due May 27, June 10, June 24)
- Workshop 2: May 21 - July 1 (Drafts due June 3, June 17, July 1)
- Workshop 3: July 9 - July 29 (Drafts due July 15, 22, 29) Note: This is an intensive three-week workshop.
The six-week workshops allow students more time to ponder and revise their essays, while the final workshop is condensed and ideal for students with plans during the rest of the summer. Last year I asked my students what they thought about the pace of each workshop, and both the six-week workshop students and the three-week workshop students told me they thought their own workshop's pace was ideal! The six-week workshops will involve instructional messages (which will usually include quick assignments to complete, approximately 30 minutes of work) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with essay drafts due at the end of weeks 2, 4, and 6. The three-week intensive workshop will involve instructional messages every weekday and essay drafts due at the end of each week.
This workshop is aimed at homeschooled students who will be seniors in the fall of 2018, but anyone is welcome to participate. Students who wish to prepare more than one admissions essay are welcome to register for more than one workshop.
We'll cover the following topics:
The rhetoric of college applications. What is the purpose of these essays? What do admissions officers spend their days reading, and what do they dream of reading? What kind of persona should you convey, and what pitfalls should you avoid? What unique benefits and risks come with being a homeschooled applicant?
How to strengthen writing while cutting words. The Common App essays have a tight 650-word limit, which is a good thing: most essays can become more vibrant when words are cut. I'll help you learn to choose specifics over generalities, streamline syntax, polish grammar, and write with power.
How you can shine through your essays. My main goal for this workshop is to help you bring your voice through your essays, while also helping you figure out what aspects of your experiences and personality will be most appealing to admissions officers. I want you to emerge with an essay that sounds like you-- and that makes you sound irresistible!
The workshop will involve a great deal of interaction with classmates, as students give each other feedback on their essay drafts and ideas. If any students feel uncomfortable sharing their essays on our password-protected class website, they are welcome to opt out of some of this interaction and e-mail me their drafts instead. No interactions will occur via live chat, so students can complete their work at any time of day. I'll also give extensive, tough, specific, and encouraging feedback on at least three drafts of your essay. If you choose to revise your essay further after the class is over, I'm happy to comment briefly on further drafts. This is not a graded “class” and will not appear anywhere on an official transcript. I'm sure your goal is the same as mine: to emerge from the workshop with the best essay you can write, as well as the tools to write any other essays the application process demands. I'm happy to accommodate students' busy schedules or absences.
This year, Maya Inspektor will respond to essays for approximately 25 students in each workshop, while Meredith Pochily will respond to essays for approximately 12 students in each workshop. Ms. Pochily's students wil interact with Mrs. Inspektor's students and read Mrs. Inspektor's Morning Messages, but only Ms. Pochily will respond to their essay drafts.
How to register:
To register, simply submit payment for the workshop via the AP Homeschoolers website store. I'll contact all registered participants two weeksbefore each workshop starts. Initially, you'll see all of the following options in the online store:
- Admissions Essay Workshop 1: May 14 - June 24 (Inspektor)
- Admissions EssayWorkshop 1: May 14 - June 24 (Pochily)
- Admissions EssayWorkshop 2: May 21 - July 1 (Inspektor)
- Admissions EssayWorkshop 2: May 21 - July 1 (Pochily)
- Admissions EssayWorkshop 3: July 9 - July 29 (Inspektor)
- Admissions EssayWorkshop 3: July 9 - July 29 (Pochily)
As each section fills up, the option to pay for admission to this workshop will disappear from the online store.
Maya Inspektor has almost a decade of experience teaching AP English Language and AP English Literature via PA Homeschoolers. As a teacher, her passion and strength lies in helping students bring out their own writing voices and work through the process of revision. She has informally helped students with admissions essay writing for years, and she has offered these workshops since the summer of 2016. If you would like to see a sample of a student's admissions essay drafts (shared with permission) or if you have any further questions, don't hesitate to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meredith Pochily has been Mrs. Inspektor's co-teacher for the 2017-18 school year in her AP English Language class (as well as a teaching assistant for AP Lang back in high school), and she has proved to be exceptional at offering insightful and encouraging feedback on student writing. A former homeschooler herself, she graduated in 2015 from George Washington Universitywith a degree in International Affairs and a concentration in Global Public Health, and in the fall of 2018 she will start graduate school in social work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Throughout college, she tutored at-risk inner city youth, a challenging and often exhausting job that became exhilarating when her students finally grasped the power of words as a means of self-expression. She currently works full-time at the Capacity Building Center for States, an organization that provides training, technical assistance, and capacity building services to state child welfare agencies. She loves helping others find their voice through writing, and she is so excited to have that opportunity through co-teaching these workshops.