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Seniors get swole at the College Essay Boot Camp

Eman Elnatour, Editor-in-Chief

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Every year, Sandburg students know that winter is coming, and with winter comes an even more daunting season for seniors: college application deadlines. Seniors carry the daunting stress of getting into college for a majority of the year as well as balance class work, extracurricular, and volunteer activities as their high school careers are coming to an end. To relieve some of that stress, Sandburg’s Literacy Lab hosted a full week of a College Essay Boot Camp, where seniors are able to receive help and ask questions on any of their college essays from staff or from actual college admissions counselors.

On Monday, October 2nd, College Essay Boot Camp launched with senior advisories sent to the PAC to listen to representatives from Augustana College, Marquette University, and St. Louis University on advice and clear up misconceptions of a college’s expectations for personal statements.

During lunch hours, the Lit Lab was packed with seniors ready to brainstorm and revise with English teachers and tutors. Additional English teachers took time out of their busy schedules to help seniors with any work they had done during school and at night. On Tuesday and Thursday nights, the Lit Lab opened once more for Boot Camp help from 6 to 8 PM.

Senior Jillian Esposito said, “I think it really helped me because I wouldn’t have started my Common App essay for a while, I just couldn’t find time to do it. Then, I saw the flyer for the Boot Camp thing and said, ‘Oh, might as well go in and see what they say,’…and I finished it in two weeks.”

The College Essay Boot Camp prompted students to begin their essay because of the opportunity to get designated help just for college applicants, but there were no requirements for how many drafts or ideas that had to be written. The Lit Lab welcomed students at the brainstorming stage as well as full drafts of essays to work on with tutors and teachers.

Jacob Bailey, senior, said, “It was the equivalent to getting help from a friend. If you walk up to a teacher for help after class, it takes a lot more courage to do that than to just come in here where it’s like everyone is kind of in the same boat as you, and you kind of get a feeling of solidarity between everyone.”

On Wednesday, several college admissions counselors from DePaul University, University of Illinois-Chicago, Lewis University, and the University of St. Francis helped students in the Lit Lab; therefore, students were able to get advice directly from their choice college’s admissions counselors or simply receive general advice from professionals who know what colleges are looking for in their essays.

“The [representative] that helped me read my ‘Why UWMadison?’ essay and my personal statement, and she had some really good suggestions. A lot of it I had fixed before…and she had just minor changes,” said Maddie Ferguson, senior.

After the short week of long lines of seniors entering S237 for opinions and fixes and word counts, Friday stretched students into relaxation with a Yoga Day. A local yoga instructor and Dr. Nussbaum guided students in breathing and stretching during lunch hours with soothing music and positive thoughts.

Seniors experienced a week dedicated to ease their largest dilemmas as the day they walk across the graduation stage becomes months away. The Lit Lab is open all year for all English needs, but students with questions about college essays are still more than welcome. Many seniors started their essays with the Boot Camp’s beginning, and some ended the week submitting applications, but overall, seniors visiting the Lit Lab were able to move forward with their applications one essay at a time.

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Seniors get swole at the College Essay Boot Camp