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.
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…)