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6 College Application Essay Tips for First-Gen Students

 Advice for Students Who Are Underrepresented
for Whatever Reason:
Tell Your Personal Story

In my previous post, I shared my experience working with teachers and students from the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, where I’m giving a series of workshops on how to write college application essays.

It was my first time working with a large number of students who were mainly from underrepresented backgrounds. Most of the students were Hispanic and would be the first to attend college in their families.

I wanted to share some insights, tips and advice on what I learned, in case this helps other similar students struggling with their essays.

Here are 6 Essay Writing Tips for Students
from Underprivileged or Underrepresented Backgrounds

ONE: Students who come from underprivileged backgrounds can be more reluctant to open up and reveal their tribulations, pain and vulnerability. Many believe they need to show only their strengths and victories. They are rightfully proud and don’t want to appear weak, deficient or complaining.

However, colleges are eager to hear about the obstacles students have faced, and their real-life stories of hardship, and these essays are the perfect place to share them. The best college application essays are almost always highly personal. (more…)

Creating a College-Bound Culture along the Texan Border

 First-Gen Students Learn to Write
College Application Essays

 

Last month, I had the privilege to work with a group of teachers and students on their writing and college application essays from the Rio Grande Valley in the southernmost tip of Texas.

Almost all of the 50-some English teachers and 165 students were Hispanic, and most of the kids will be the first in their families to attend college.

The College Essay Writing Workshop, which is a four-part series of workshops for the most promising students from 30 high schools in the Valley, was sponsored by the Texas Graduate Center, which is an initiative of the Texas Valley Communities Foundation (a non-profit community organization), and the Region One GEAR UP Program, whose mission is to help create a college-bound culture in this part of the U.S.

Earlier in the year, their students toured top colleges and universities around the country, including Harvard, Princeton and other ivies.

During these visits, the admissions officers from the various schools told the sponsors one thing over and over: The college application essay played a huge part in who they accepted, and urged them to help their students write better ones.

So they got in touch with me.

This is me working with a student.

I’d never spent time in that part of Texas, where the Rio Grande river winds up along the border between the U.S. and Mexico. It’s been in the news lately, mainly as ground zero in the U.S. for the flood of illegal immigrants, many children, fleeing unrest in Central America, and violence in Mexico due to drug-related activity. (more…)

Should You Write About Your Job?

 

Colleges Encourage Students to Write About $ and Work
in College Application Essays

 

The New York Times today published the seven college application essays it liked the best for its contest about writing on the topic of money.

Most of the winners wrote about their experiences facing various types of financial hardship and challenges.

They are worth reading simply as sample essays, which could give you ideas for topics of your own. (more…)