College Essay Prep: English 11 classes stay one step ahead

As the end of the school year approaches, goodbyes are shared between underclassmen and seniors, as the seniors advance to the next phase of their life: college.

Although it’s hard for underclassmen to admit, pretty soon it will be their turn to make the transition from high school.

Before writing the essay, students posted used college prompts in the class wiki. Prompts from schools like The University of Cincinnati, University of Chicago, and Ohio State University have all been posted as options for students. The classes have gone through one round of peer editing, and will later receive input from their teachers on the essays in preparation for the upcoming college applications.  Photo courtesy of Lauren Saxon.
Before writing the essay, students posted used college prompts in the class wiki. Prompts from schools like The University of Cincinnati, University of Chicago, and Ohio State University have all been posted as options for students. The classes have gone through one round of peer editing, and will later receive input from their teachers on the essays in preparation for the upcoming college applications. Photo courtesy of Lauren Saxon.

The time for college visits and applications is rapidly approaching; and 11th grade English teachers are utilizing this part of the school year to help their students make this important transition.

For one of the last assignments of the year, Accelerated English 11 classes have been asked to write a 500 word college essay, in an attempt to reduce the college preparation workload.

“It’s not that far away, and this assignment is a good starting point,” said Breen Reardon, English 11 teacher. “Some of my past students have used large portions of what we accomplish in this assignment on their actual applications.”

Teachers created a wiki on the class website, in which students posted old college essay prompts from a variety of schools. Each student was asked to pick one prompt, and was encouraged to choose a prompt from school they might apply.

“It’s good to let these ideas percolate early. This assignment gives time and lets students process what they want to say,” said Reardon.

Once the students have selected a school, students must answer the prompt in a way that shares their unique story with the reader.

“I look for voice, and also individuality. I want to understand more about the writer, but the essay needs to be written in their style,” said Reardon.

Although college preparation can be a bit overwhelming, English teachers hope that this final assignment will aid their students in the application process.

“The goal of these essays is to separate yourself from the herd,” said Reardon. “The only way to do so is to show the college who you are as an individual, for better or worse.”