February 20, 2020 - Michael Salinger

Osborne Andrews Academy

4.0 GPAs are a dime a dozen.


Okay that’s a little inflammatory but the sentiment holds true. The admission process for colleges and universities has become tougher and tougher. With AP and IB classes and the extra emphasis toward college ready students the tip top of the crop is getting more and more crowded.


Sharing is one of the best revision techniques we can think of.

So, what can separate your student from the rest of the strong candidates with equal academic and extracurricular achievements?  One chance to ascend positively from the slush pile is to have a great and unique college essay. Andrews Osborne Academy agrees.

Sara and I spent two days with the 11th graders there, at the invitation of their Librarian Polly and the admin to get the kids started on some grounding frameworks toward the composition of their college essays, as well as the rest of their writing in general.


A little conversation under the watchful eye of the class armadillo. 

We shared a couple strategies from our book From Striving to Thriving Writers. First, we organized and wrote a version one of a memoir – the basis of just about every college essay – and then we shared some revision techniques to enhance setting and sentence variety.

This was high speed – done in 90-minute sessions. Therefore, these were not honed to a point  pieces – we were more in interested in instilling the concepts of a strong lead, detail and revision.


Discussing the advantages of varied sentence structure.

Like Venus fly traps, the kids grasped the ideas and began digesting.

We’re going to be doing a follow up later this Spring to sit down one on one with any of the kids who would like a consultation on their essays or any other writing they are looking to polish.


Building that culture of conversation into the writing process.

This was a great way for us to stretch out and adapt our strategies to older students and it worked great! Thank you AOA!

Leave a Reply



“Sara and Michael bring infectious energy and joy leavened with deep knowledge of best practices in literacy to their work with children and teachers.” Ellin Keene – Author of Mosaic of Thought and The Teacher You Want to Be
“Sara and Michael bring magic, and a contagious love of words to both students and teachers alike!” Georgia Heard - Author of Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School More testimonials...