College Application Essay Support Program

To the seniors:

So as to ease the burden that can come with submission of numerous essays and supplements in support of applications to college during the fall of the senior year, the administration has developed a variety of support mechanisms for seniors.

Summer Writing Requirement for Seniors: One of Your College Essays

Due Date

A hard copy of the essay is to be submitted on the first day of class of your English class in August.

Required Prompt

Your essay may use as its prompt any of the following:  

    1. two of the UC essay prompts; or
    2. one of the Common Application prompts; or 
    3. a prompt from another college or university to which you intend to apply.  Please note: if you select option (3), you must attach a hard copy of the prompt to the essay that you submit. 

Required format: 

    • Word-processed
    • MLA format, but with no citations (you won’t be citing sources)
    • Include, at the top of the page (before the essay itself) an indication as to which prompt the essay addresses, e.g., “Common Application Essay Prompt #3,” or “UC Prompt #1,” or “See attached prompt from __________ College.”
    • At the end of the essay, include the word count of your essay. Also include the word count limit established by the prompt, if there is one.

Grade Value

    • 30 points in the homework category

The essay, as submitted, will be given to your counselor for review; that way, when you meet with your counselor in the fall, work has begun on what will evolve into a finalized college application essay.

So Where Do I Begin?

We highly recommend that you read over the following guidelines prior to beginning your essay: 

    1. Consider the Following before You Begin Writing
    2. Suggestions Once You Start Writing
    3. Some Cautionary Notes
    4. Some Correctness and Style Tips
    5. Improving Your Style
    6. Style Tips

Free Online College Essay BootCamp with Ethan Sawyer

All of our current junior students can join this online summer essay boot camp from June 1st - 5th at no cost. This is completely optional! To view the full details of the one-week workshop, click here.

Here’s how to register for the workshop and access the resources they’ll be sharing with you for the course:

1. Go to this registration page.
2. Enter your name and email.
3. You’re done! Put the date and time in your calendar, and keep an eye on your email with next steps and instructions for accessing the live webinar.

The live sessions will be held on June 1st, 3rd, and 5th. You are able to join for either the 10:00-11:30am Pacific Time session or 4:00-5:30pm Pacific Time session. (Whichever fits your schedule!) If you are unable to attend these days/times, you can still sign up and have access to the recordings after the series is over.

Optional College Essay “Camp” for Seniors

Each of you is invited to virtually attend a two-day session designed to assist you in the development of a college admission application essay.  This year, the camp will look slightly different, but will still offer the same amount of help and feedback. 

The first day of camp, we will have two different presentations from college admissions officers. We will have one discussing the Common App, and one representing the UC's to discuss the Personal Insight Questions. After this, there will be videos for you to watch to help with the brainstorming/drafting part of the essay. 

The second day, we will split everyone up into different Zoom rooms with either a teacher or counselor. That space will be designed for you to work on your draft essays, ask for feedback, and work in breakout rooms with other students. 

This service is offered to you free of charge.  However, you must pre-commit to attending (see below) so that we may anticipate numbers attending.

When: Wednesday, August 5, 2020, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. and Thursday August 6, 2020, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. 
Where: Online (Zoom links and video links will be available at a later date)
RSVP: You must sign-up no later than July 15th; do so here.

Individual Appointments to Review Your College Essay

On designated Saturday mornings during September and October, seniors will be able to sign up for individual, 30-minute sessions with an English teacher or a counselor to review their college essays.  Appointments are required! Please see the details below:
When: September 19, 2020 and October 17, 2020 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (more days TBD)
Where: Zoom (links will be available closer to the date)
How to Sign Up: A link to sign up will be emailed to you as the date nears. Please check your schedule before selecting a time slot!

October “College Essay Days” = No Homework for Seniors!

During early October, several days are set aside when seniors will be assigned NO HOMEWORK IN ANY OF THEIR CLASSES!  This will allow them some concentrated time to work on essays and supplements due as a part of their college applications.

For October, 2020, those “College Essay Days” are Monday, October 12th through Friday, October 16th.  On each of those days, no assignments will come due in any classes for seniors—and this includes no assigned reading.