How to Cut Your Memoir for Your College App. Essay (Without Losing Power or Meaning!)

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SWBAT trim a 1000+ word memoir/narrative down to a 300 - 650 word personal statement.

Big Idea

... it is harder to write less than more ...

Context and Background

5 minutes

At this point in the course, post-Columbus Day, we are moving fully into The Editorial.  However, many of my students have the looming deadline of November 1, the app. deadline for U of I, which runs the show as it goes for app. deadlines for regular level, college-bound kids here in Illinois (and generally in the Midwest).  It is time to offer a bit of advice to make those Memory Narrative/Memoirs into app. essays, but we are short on classroom time …  I’ve decided to try a “flipped lesson” (thanks Kahn Academy!) …

Next week in class we will be working with our Research Blogs and starting to create our Editorial Flyers (much more on that in subsequent lessons), but as a final, parting shot to this first unit, I provide some insights into how to reform the Memory Narrative/Memoir into a respectable college app. essay.  Students will heed (hopefully!) my advice during their “homework time” (aka. this “flipped” lesson).

The "Flipped Lesson" Directions and Guidance

30 minutes

We are currently in the “rolling submissions” period for the Memory Narrative, so this blog post of mine is apropos.  

After completing all of the steps outlined in the blog post, I will expect those students who need to complete an app. essay to show these to me in class, soon, for a few “completion points.”  Since this is an “assignment” with tremendous buy-in (their own app. needs), I expect to see many, many completed essays.  But, just to put a finer point on it, I will not “count” this as an important assessment for my course as not everyone must write an app. essay.

The “flipped” nature of this lesson will allow students to spend varying amounts of time -- during their evenings and the upcoming weekend -- to polish down to the best app. essay possible!