Community HS in Ann Arbor Tests New Games for Writing College Application Essays

Tired of racking your brain to create some ideas for a strong college application essay?

At a workshop held on Thursday, June 2, 2016, students at Community High School in Ann Arbor tested out some new methods for writing a college application essay.

Something unusual happened.  There were SMILES!


How did this happen?  Students learned a technique designed to sharpen their idea and draw out the details in their college application essays.  The technique involved listening to a partner’s idea, then asking questions about what you were confused or curious about.

The result? Many students came up with amazing essay topics.  (Remember that the strongest essay topics are about what you care about, and what you’ve done about it.)  When I asked students what they learned, this is what they said:

  • Use strong sensory detail
  • Think before choosing your topic
  • Big accomplishments are not necessarily the best topic
  • Focus on specifics
  • Don’t just list accomplishments
  • Dig deeper into how a situation impacted you
  • If you are enjoying doing something that didn’t affect you a lot, it might not be the best topic
  • Formal outcome is less important than the growing experience involved in the situation
  • Best to have a clear idea of what you want someone to know about you
  • Quantify whenever possible

Smart kids!

Of course, without examples, it is difficult to see how these wise words from the students themselves apply to your essay idea.  It’s much easier to EXPERIENCE writing than it is to teach it in a blog.

Interested in attending a free workshop where you can experience how to smile AND write your college application essay?  Write