What’d you do this Saturday? I spent four hours at Day 1 of the Great Los Angeles Personal Statement Weekend, helping a Los Angeles Senior get her college essays ready. It’s an event 826LA and LA’s Promise put together.
It’s an all-volunteer event. Tutors got trained for about two hours beforehand, and had already passed a background check. After parking, you go to this checked-in tent.
I got lots of helpful handouts, including writing tips, UC and Cal State essay prompts, directions for the Common app, and how to get on the school wifi and printers. We also signed a photo release, and the students filled out a short questionnaire about how far along they were in the writing process.
The rooms were organized in two desk pairs, ready for about 100 tutor-Senior pairs to work side by side.
My student came in with rough drafts of both UC prompts, so we edited, chopped and polished both until they were done. Then we got the Common App essay done, got started on the supplemental questions and talked about whether to live on campus or off campus. Bam! That’s the sound of going from kinda-started on college applications to almost finished. It feels so good to be part of that process.
Did I mention there were free snacks?
I wish something like this had existed when I was in high school. If I, rather when I teach high school again, I’d love to organize something similar. The formula is simple: bring some eager students together with some trained adults, provide the space, technology and snacks, and increase the likelihood that those students get into college. Why don’t we have a Personal Statement Weekend in every high school?