Striving for a Better Life: The Story Of One of My Students

I am working with one young man, Fong, who is a Vietnamese American whose parents stowed away in a cargo ship to escape the brutal Communist regime in Vietnam in the late 1980’s. They were granted political asylum in the U.S. and are citizens. Fong is a UCLA graduate and is applying to medical school….

College Essay Central

This has been a heavy college essay day. I had three students for two hours each and three students (triplets) for an hour and a half meeting with their parents at Mel’s Diner. (They are from Florida and have been visiting colleges in CA). Lots of good discussion and writing going on, I must say….

A Writing Focused Day

This has been a day spent on Story Circle Network’s Online Classes program and my college essay students. I have been evaluating proposals for the fall term, which is exciting since there are some great classes coming up. Also, I worked with three students over the phone so we can get a jump on the…

Delving Deeper for Great College Essays

I have been working with students on college essays over the past few days, using shared Google docs and the telephone. It is always an interesting process and this year is no different. Part of the fun of college essays is that we dig deep, looking for experiences that carry real heft. This is not…

Learning from a Young Student’s Life Story

Today I worked with a young man who is finishing UCLA and applying to medical school. For his personal statement, he told me about his life growing up in a studio apartment with five other people while his dad worked as a bag boy at a local Asian grocery store. This boy’s grandparents and his…

Award-Winning Student Essay: To Hold a Hand

A student of mine, Lona Tehrani, wrote a superb college essay that deals with the transgender restroom issue that recently has gotten so much press. This essay won a regional Silver Key award from the Scholastic Artists and Writers contest, the oldest and most prestigious art and writing contest for youth in grades 7 –…

Congratulations to Western Regional Scholastic Award Winners

I am proud to announce that two of my students have received Western regional awards from the Scholastic Artists and Writers contest in personal essay, critical essay and Senior Portfolio. The contest sponsored by the Alliance of Young Artists and Writers is the oldest and most prestigious writing contest for youth in grades 7 –…

Why I Didn’t Post Last Night…

I worked 9 1/2 hours yesterday with one student on her college essays, which are due on 1/1. That is why I didn’t post last night. Today she will return at noon for what we hope is the wrap-up. I sincerely hope not to be working on New Year’s Day; however, I will if we…

The 21 Best Things I Did in 2015

Upon reflection, here are twenty-one of the best things I did in 2015. These are in no particular order. I just want to remember what I did that brought me happiness this year. 1) Spent a day a week with my granddaughter. This might top the list as “best” since this lovely child has been…

Burning the Midnight Oil

I have had a student here since 4 pm – she just left at 9. We are working through all the supplements that go with colleges she is applying to that have a January 1 deadline. Ouch. There are nine schools and they each have one to three supplements. That means many extra short essays…