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Wed, Jul 10


Virtual via Google Meet

Personal Essay Workshop

Explore the objective of the Personal Essay (often called, simply, the “college essay”) and its role in the Common Application. Examine what the prompts are asking and generate ideas for your essay. Then, choose a topic, and start drafting!

Registration closes Jul 08, 2024, 12:00 PM EDT

Personal Essay Workshop
Personal Essay Workshop

Time & Location

Jul 10, 2024, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Virtual via Google Meet

About the event

In this one-hour, virtual workshop for rising 12th graders, students will learn how to approach the Common Application Personal Essay, often called the "college essay" because of its length and perceived prominence in the application process.  

Guided by Dr. Jenny Deren, students will explore the objective of the Personal Essay, including what the prompts are asking and how the essay fits into the application as a whole; generate and select ideas for an essay using provided worksheets; and explore strategies for crafting a compelling, impactful narrative. The session includes instruction, expert tips, time for individual application work, and Q&A.

Registered participants will receive an email with the Google Meet link and recommended pre-work, including links to material from the AXS Companion to Common App and worksheets for generating essay ideas and choosing a topic. To maximize participation in the workshop, students should try to complete pre-work before the session, but this is not required or necessary for attending. Students may use pre-work after the session to complete or expand on session goals.

Session goals:

  • Explore the objective and role of the Personal Essay in the Common Application
  • Generate Personal Essay ideas and choose 1-2 potential topics
  • Identify clear next steps for producing a first draft 

This is a "pay what you can" workshop, and there is no required fee for attending. Contributions to support workshop development are welcome and appreciated via PayPal at Thank you!

About the College Application Summer Workshop Series:

This five-session series provides instruction, structure, and accountability for rising 12th graders who are applying to college. Each of the first four sessions focuses on important components of the Common Application, which is used by over 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities for first-year admission:

  1. Introduction to the Common Application
  2. Common App Activities
  3. Personal Essay 
  4. Supplemental Essays (exploring common supplemental essay prompts, generating ideas and beginning a draft of one school-specific essay for a college on your list)

The fifth and final Ask Anything session is a "catch all" for lingering application questions and topics not yet addressed, which may include letters of recommendation, admission interviews, application submission, and more, depending on participants' needs and interests.

Registration is required for each session. Attendance at multiple sessions is encouraged but not necessary.

Questions? Email Jenny at I look forward to hearing from you!

Registration closes Jul 08, 2024, 12:00 PM EDT

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