The College Essay Writing Group is a 4-week group class that guides juniors and seniors through the early stages of brainstorming and writing the Common App. Through discussions, weekly assignments, and detailed feedback, students learn what criteria colleges look for in the college essay, practice strategies for developing their essay’s unique and authentic voice, and create their own Common App outline.

Although the college essay is, ultimately, a reflection of the individual, students can benefit from working together in a group, especially in the early stages of writing. In these early stages, students often have both theoretical questions about what the essay should be and practical questions about how to transition from a resumé to a detailed essay that includes elements of narrative. The host of questions that the college essay raises for students–What is my fundamental story? What makes my identity and experiences unique or compelling? How can I write about myself in a way that colleges find intriguing?–may be easier to answer when compared and contrasted with the perspective of other students who are considering the same questions.

Leading the Writing Group, Dr. Kevin Cooney brings his years of experience as a college English professor and as a College Essay Coach. The Writing Group is capped at 8 students and runs for 4 weeks (2 hours per week). Designed to be flexible enough to respond to students’ questions, the class also covers the following topics through assigned writing exercises:

  • Strategies for Essay Questions
  • Model Essays
  • From Resumé to Narrative
  • Choosing Significant Details

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