Brave Writer

College Admissions Essay uses the Common App Essay prompts to facilitate student crafting of the personal narrative essay typically used on college or scholarship applications. Students use strategies such as list-making, freewriting, and the topic funnel to narrow the scope for writing to a controlled topic of sincere interest. The revision and editing phases of the class enable students to provide clarity, punch, and engagement as well as confine responses to defined word count limits that employ standard English grammar, spelling, and punctuation conventions. 


Week One

Topic Selection and Refinement. Students explore what makes a good topic and a compelling application essay, what admissions staff are seeking to learn about them, and what guidelines will lead them toward a topic that’s the right fit. 

Week Two

Freewriting. With the goal of reflecting on unique experiences and gifts, students engage in repeated freewriting to get material down on paper that will lead them closer to the core of their statement.

Week Three

Revision. Students are encouraged to re-envision and go deeper this week as they unearth as many memories and experiences related to the subject as they can—staying connected to sensory exploration and detail to create vivid writing. 

Week Four

Polish/Send. Students don their editors’ hats and take a final look at structure, diction, grammar, punctuation, and last but not least—word count. Students leave class with an essay ready to upload to their online application and can celebrate reaching another milestone!

Common Core and Academic Standards Support

What follows is a word bank and set of skills associated with this class. Use them to craft your own learning narrative for use in year-end evaluations, charter school reports, or any other accountability source.

Word Bank

  • Audience
  • Editing
  • Experiential writing
  • Formats
  • Idea generation
  • Moral
  • Narrative essay
  • Opening hook
  • Revision
  • Theme
  • Transitions
  • Vivid Detail
  • Writing craft
  • Writing mechanics
  • Writing voice

Core Skills

  • Craft a compelling opening hook and ending
  • Edit writing for standard English usage
  • Employ strong verbs to create clear images
  • Employ vivid detail to engage readers
  • Generate topics for narrative writing
  • Give and receive feedback from the point of view of a curious reader
  • Maintain distinct writer’s voice
  • Revise writing for clarity, flow, order, interest, and economy of language
  • Utilize effective transitions
  • Utilize sentence variety to add impact
  • Write detailed, organized, structured original narratives
  • Write for a particular audience