Workshop provides UCS seniors with the "write stuff" for successful college admission essay
Workshop provides UCS seniors with the "write stuff" for successful college admission essay
Posted on 09/08/2017
Pad on top of keyboard

As most seniors will tell you, the last year of high school can go pretty fast.

While UCS seniors have their sights on graduation, they also know that the deadline for one more important event this year will be here quickly – the college application.

Across the district, UCS seniors are submitting applications that represent years of research, site visits and dreaming.

To assist, UCS offered all seniors this year a free workshop on tips to write an effective essay for the college admission. The workshop was presented by Kristy Newell, the UCS system-wide counseling co-chair. 

More than 200 UCS seniors in late August took advantage of the three-hour program designed to give students tips on writing successful college admission essays.

“The program helped me with an understanding of what a college essay should be,” said Stevenson senior Dawsun Schrum. “We received more than a lecture; we were provided examples and hand outs to reference with hints of how to complete a good essay.”

The essay workshop is an example of the district’s continued focus to prepare students for successful post-secondary education.

A recent Georgetown University study illustrated the importance of pursuing post-secondary education.  The study found that out of 1.6 million new jobs created in the United States following the recession, 95 percent required some level of college education.

To ensure UCS students have a competitive advantage for their post-secondary education, the district works closely with students on their college options and the admission process.

The workshop focused one part of the overall process – the college essay. The workshop was designed to:

  • Provide advice for writing highly effective college essays, including the Common Application essays, personal statements, and supplemental essays
  • Introduce students to sample essays that worked
  • Engage students in brief writing exercises to identify topics and reveal their authentic voices
  • Share specific strategies for tackling the essays required by Michigan schools (U of M, MSU, etc.)
  • Give students a roadmap for completing their college essays with less stress and more confidence
  • Offer tips for writing scholarship essays

Schrum, who is pursuing a degree in engineering or business finance, took away concrete ideas on what is necessary for a successful essay.

He said the essay allows admission officers to get “a better understanding of us as a person,” he said.

Another key is taking the time to improve the essay.

“You don’t have to finish your essay the first time you start writing it, all at one time.  Start to write down some ideas for about 10 minutes, then maybe leave it for the next day or later in the day so you do get over stressed for ideas. This can help to make sure all of our thoughts are covered and the essay turns out how we wanted it to turn out.

Seniors who were not able to attend, but would like to request a copy of the presentation and handouts are welcome to send an e-mail to Mrs. Kristy Newell at