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Writing the College Essay (grades 11-12)

Drawing insights from the worlds of journalism, composition, and creative nonfiction, this three-week writing workshop gives upper-level students both the skills and the space they need to write a compelling personal essay that they can use for college applications. Since the audience for any college essay is an adult with good taste, the course begins by exploring a single question: "What makes a personal essay good?" Through detailed dissections of essays and features by some of the best writers of the last 50 years, students will develop an ear for vivid prose and learn structural and stylistic techniques that they can use to express themselves on the page. From there, they will work to develop their own essays in a dedicated workshop environment, moving from the brainstorming stage to the polishing stage through two complete drafts. At each stage they will receive rigorous, constructive feedback from the instructor and from one another in a collaborative setting that promotes accountability, growth, and the cultivation of their individual voices. Though the course is designed around the college essay, it is also designed to help students hone skills that transcend the college process. Students are encouraged to work on any piece of writing that truly matters to them.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.