Demystifying the College Admission Essay Genre

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Author: Jessica Singer Early and Meredith DeCosta

Summary: This chapter from Jessica Singer Early and Meredith DeCosta’s Real World Writing for Secondary Students presents a writing workshop for ethnically and linguistically diverse high school students in which students receive instruction on specific genre features of the college admission essay. The chapter offers an overview of the college admission essay genre, key components of the workshop, samples of student writing, and professional resources for teaching the college admission essay. Equally useful as the focus of a professional development session or as the basis for a youth writing program, the chapter is especially relevant for teachers who work with linguistically divers youth as a way of providing access to “gate-opening writing tasks.”