Seniors attend summer college essay workshop

By Ester Khachatryan

Thirty-five seniors made their first steps toward the college application process by attending a four hour college essay writing workshop at the Upper School on Aug. 18, 19 and 21.

The “College Essays that Matter” summer workshop was hosted by deans Tamar Adegbile, Canh Oxelson, Ryan Wilson, Jon Wimbish and associate director of admissions Davin Bergquist.

“This workshop provides a unique opportunity for students to focus solely and intensely on the essay before classes begin in September,” the program prospectus declared.

Bergquist introduced the class with a PowerPoint presentation and class discussion about self-discovery prior to beginning the writing process that will accentuate each writer’s individual voice. Bergquist warned about pitfalls inherent in writing a “formula essay” of the type that narrates experiences the likes of “The Big Game” or “The House that Caring Built.” These types of essays, Bergquist said, were common topics conforming to a tedious discussion of ordinary events that college admissions officers read on a daily basis. Bergquist encouraged “narrating yourself” instead of the event to best reveal a unique voice and express interest in the college of choice.

Wilson and Wimbish used a metaphor of dirt and digging dirt to express a writer’s style and use of words in producing a unique essay in response to a generic college application question.

Students met one-on-one with a counselor for three one hour sessions to brainstorm, develop and begin the writing process. Students were assigned to counselors other than their deans.

Students worked on their essays in the Chalmers computer labs.

Sebastian Li `10 met with Oxelson for his individual sessions and submitted one draft of an essay for revision.

“The hardest part for me was finding an essay topic. The one-on-one meetings were really helpful for getting me started,” Li said.

Zaakirah Daniels `10 also met with Oxelson for direction as to writing an application specific essay.

“I needed guidance finding a specific topic that will set me apart from the rest of the applicant pool, making the essay genuine and differentiating my writing from other essays,” Daniels said.