College Essay Workshop: Virtually for the year of 2020-2021


Rachel Gebhard and Joanne Brack

The college essay workshop is designed to help Arrowhead seniors better understand what college admissions offices look for in college essays. According to the CEW flyer, the workshop helps students grow the principles of good writing, and use the components of compelling narratives. Students plan, draft, write, along with share and receive feedback from teachers and students, on their college essays. The college essay workshop is for seniors only. 


The college essay workshop is run by three Arrowhead English teachers: Terri Carnell, Becca McCann, and Elizabeth Jorgensen. 


McCann said, “The workshop will function the same way it has in the past. Students will bring their essay or idea(s) and receive feedback from multiple teachers. The virtual format (on Zoom, links found through the CEW Google Classroom) allows both students and teachers more flexibility and safety.”


In prior years, the college essay workshop was face-to-face. During 2020-2021, it is held virtually. In Google Classroom (class code rurgwn2), students are able to access individual teacher’s Zoom meetings. 


Upcoming sessions will take place

Saturday, September 26 from 8-10am 

Wednesday, September 30 from 8-10am

Saturday, October 3 from 8-10am

Wednesday, October 7 from 8-10am

Saturday, October 17 from 8-10am

 Wednesday, October 38 from 8-10am


McCann said, “Since students are familiar with Zoom—and mute themselves upon entry to our sessions—focusing on one person at a time hasn’t been too difficult. We can almost help more students at once in the virtual workshop as kids are able to share their essays and get teacher and peer feedback at the same time.” 


Senior Kelli Brabson said, “It was easier over Zoom because my teachers and peers could all read my essay together at the same time and then have a group discussion about how to improve it. Zoom made it easier to receive feedback from many perspectives.” 


Senior Saniya Saluja said, “It was easier to receive feedback from teachers and peers over the virtual seeing, largely because we were having one on one conversations with them.”


McCann said, “I enjoy the freedom the virtual workshops give me; it’s nice to get out of the building after a full day already spent at school. Students seem comfortable in their home which fosters a relationship between teachers and students quickly. I do miss the face-to-face interaction the in-person workshops provided, though.” 


Kelli Brabson said, “Obviously I wanted to have an in-person workshop, but Zoom was the perfect alternative.”


McCann said, “We were pleasantly surprised by how effective the format was. So, it seemed natural that we continue it into the fall. Now, I can see the virtual sessions working effectively for all future workshops.”


The format in following years for the college essay workshop is yet to be determined.