Admissions Essay Workshop
On-Line for Summer 2020
Teacher: Maya Inspektor
This online workshop is designed to help students produce a top essay in response to a 2020-21 Common Application essay prompt. This workshop isn't intended merely to be “practice” or “instruction,” but rather students should emerge from this workshop with an essay that they can actually use when they apply to colleges in the fall. At the same time, they should also develop the skills they need to craft responses to other application essay prompts in the future. Almost every college uses the Common App today, but students who know they want to apply to colleges or scholarships that use different prompts are welcome to work on those essays in this workshop instead.
This summer, I'll offer ONLY intensive three-week workshops. In my experience these workshops lead to essays just as strong as in the six-week workshops I offered in the past, and they're easier for students to fit around their busy summer schedules. These are the offered dates in 2020:
Workshop 1: Monday, May 18 - Friday, June 5 Friday, May 25 to Friday, June 12 Note: Thanks to the AP exam schedule shifting forward by one week this year, we've decided to separate this workshop into two groups. The students who prefer to start at the original time will still do so, but those who prefer to move will now start on May 25 and finish on June 12. (I sent out an e-mail on Monday, May 4 to all participants.) All NEW registrants to Ms. Kam's section will be placed in the section starting May 25 and ending June 12.
Sunday, May 24
Sunday, May 31
Sunday, June 7
Maya Inspektor, head teacher (max. 25 students) FULL
Magdalene Baert, co-teacher (max. 10-15 students) FULL
Lauren Kam, co-teachers (max. 10-15 students each) Space available! (Dates: Friday, May 25 to Friday, June 12)
Workshop 2: Monday, June 8 to Friday, June 26
Sunday, June 14
Sunday, June 21
Sunday, June 28
Maya Inspektor, head teacher (max. 25 students) FULL
Lauren Kam, co-teacher (max. 15 students) Space available!
Workshop 3: Monday, July 12 - Friday, July 31
Sunday, July 19
Sunday, July 26
Sunday, August 2
Maya Inspektor, head teacher (max. 10 students) FULL
Meredith Pochily, co-teacher (max. 15 students) Space available!
Workshop 4: Monday, August 3 - Friday, August 21
Sunday, August 9
Sunday, August 16
Sunday, August 23
Maya Inspektor, head teacher (max. 10 students) FULL
Magdalene Baert and Meredith Pochily, co-teachers (max. 10-15 students) Space available!
Note about co-teachers: Ms. Baert, Ms. Pochily, and Ms. Kam will be responsible for providing all feedback on student work for a portion of the class, while I will write all the Morning Messages as well as provide all feedback to the students in my own portion of the class. (I think it's very important for one teacher to comment on all drafts of a student's essay-- we really get to know participants during the course of the workshop!) All students in each workshop will interact with each other; the different instructor names merely indicate who will be commenting on each student's work.
You will know when you register which instructor will comment on your work; for example, registering for "Application Essay Workshop 4: Monday, August 3 - Friday, August 21 (POCHILY)" will register you to Ms. Pochily's section of the the fourth workshop. When one teacher's section fills up, that option will disappear from the online store. I'll also try to note here when sections fill up.
Every co-teacher has worked with me before either as teaching assistant or co-teacher, and I selected them for the quality of their comments and the depth of their interest in seeing students succeed. I recommend each one highly! You can read their full biographies at the bottom of this course description.
These intensive workshops will involve instructional messages every weekday and essay drafts due at the end of each week (Sunday). Students should expect to spend up to several hours of work on their essays each day.
This workshop is aimed at homeschooled students who will be seniors in the fall of 2020. Students who wish to prepare more than one admissions essay are welcome to register for more than one workshop.
We'll cover the following topics:
The rhetoric of college applications. What is the purpose of these essays? What do admissions officers spend their days reading, and what do they dream of reading? What kind of persona should you convey, and what pitfalls should you avoid? What unique benefits and risks come with being a homeschooled applicant?
How to strengthen writing while cutting words. The Common App essays have a tight 650-word limit, which is a good thing: most essays can become more vibrant when words are cut. I'll help you learn to choose specifics over generalities, streamline syntax, polish grammar, and write with power.
How you can shine through your essays. My main goal for this workshop is to help you bring your voice through your essays, while also helping you figure out what aspects of your experiences and personality will be most appealing to admissions officers. I want you to emerge with an essay that sounds like you-- and that makes you sound irresistible!
The workshop will involve a great deal of interaction with classmates, as students give each other feedback on their essay drafts and ideas. If any students feel uncomfortable sharing their essays on our password-protected class website, they are welcome to opt out of some of this interaction and e-mail me their drafts instead. No interactions will occur via live chat, so students can complete their work at any time of day. I (or my co-teacher) will give extensive, tough, specific, and encouraging feedback on at least three drafts of your essay. If you choose to revise your essay further after the class is over, I'm happy to comment briefly on further drafts. This is not a graded “class” and will not appear anywhere on an official transcript. I'm sure your goal is the same as mine: to emerge from the workshop with the best essay you can write, as well as the tools to write any other essays the application process demands. I'm happy to accommodate students' busy schedules or absences.
My past students have been accepted into Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and many other top colleges, and many of them also received generous merit-based aid offers. Some of them have even received personal letters from admissions officers complimenting them on their essays! What makes me the most proud, though, is the uniqueness of each essay that comes out of my workshop. I won't write your essay for you; I'll try to help YOU write the best essay you have in you.
How to register:
To register, simply submit payment for the correct workshop via the AP Homeschoolers website store. I'll contact all registered participants two weeks before each workshop starts. As each section fills up, the option to pay for admission to this workshop will disappear from the online store, and I'll try to update this page as well.
You can read the refund policy for summer workshops here: http://www.aphomeschoolers.com/refunds.shtml
Maya Inspektor has more than a decade of experience teaching AP English Language and AP English Literature via PA Homeschoolers. As a teacher, her passion and strength lies in helping students bring out their own writing voices and work through the process of revision. She has informally helped students with admissions essay writing for years, and she has offered these workshops since the summer of 2016. If you would like to see a sample of a student's admissions essay drafts (shared with permission) or if you have any further questions, don't hesitate to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. (If you don't hear from me within two business days, try e-mailing email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org in case your e-mail is snagged in my spam filter.)
Magdalene Baert is a former co-teacher for both AP English Language and AP English Literature with Mrs. Inspektor. She was also a student and teacher’s assistant for these classes during high school and absolutely loved her experiences. Ms. Baert attended New York University and double majored in English Literature and French Studies. While she was in college, she co-taught with Mrs. Inspektor for three years. She is now working at a translation agency and is currently completely a Masters in Publishing. Over the past few years, Ms. Baert has also worked as a tutor and college application advisor with high school students. She has written college recommendations for several of her students and is quite familiar with what colleges are looking for in applications. She led her own section of this workshop last summer and enjoyed continuing to work with some of her students during the 2020-21 school year.
Lauren Kam is a former teaching assistant for AP English Language and AP English Literature, after taking both of these courses with Mrs. Inspektor in high school. She is a recent graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Asian Studies, concentrating in the literature, history, and society of China. She spent this past year tutoring high school students in test prep and college essay writing. Over the years, she has informally helped several high school students with college application essays, including her own sisters. And just last spring/summer, she spent a couple months writing her own personal statements for medical school, which she will be attending in the fall. Lauren is looking forward to reading essays for this summer’s workshops!
Meredith Pochily has served as co-teacher for AP English Language for two years (and will be returning as co-teacher in the fall). She graduated summa cum laude from George Washington University, where she majored in International Affairs, specializing in public health. After college, she worked with an organization that provides training and capacity building services to state child welfare agencies, where she managed publications and oversaw the editorial services team. Ms. Pochily is currently finishing up her Master of Social Work at the University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill. Writing has been a significant part of her life since she was young, and, in addition to co-teaching AP Lang, she has worked extensively as an English tutor with students of all ages. She is passionate about guiding others to find their voice through writing.
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