A local teacher and friend of the Guild recently contacted us regarding her need for help with the school's 66 juniors as they begin preparing to apply for college and scholarships. The application process involves writing personal statements and essays for which the students need guidance to ensure all the points are addressed and both a consistent message and the student's unique voice get through. In the past the teacher has been able to provide the mentoring the students need, but the number this year is much greater.
That's where the opportunity for Guild members comes in. The students are all from Crawford High School, one of the three high schools whose students took part in the Guild's first Teen Writing competition in 2017.
The teacher is looking for mentors for her students. Below is a description from the teacher of what is required of mentors.
Our students need help with structuring and editing their writing, but the mentors need to help in such a way that the students' voices are maintained. Because the majority of the students are second-language learners, they will often have unique syntax that isn't necessarily incorrect and can actually be beautiful. Mentors would need to understand that we want to maintain the student's style of writing while ensuring that they are addressing the prompts and removing redundancies. In addition, it's important to ensure that there is some sort of controlling idea that ties the writing together.
My vision is for volunteers to mentor one to two students throughout their college application process. They already have (extremely) rough drafts of their personal statements that could be used for general scholarship essays and their Common Application (for private schools). I would love for the relationships to begin with the revision of these statements in the next month. The juniors will continue to work on periodic scholarship opportunities throughout the spring, and will work on their University of California Personal Insight Questions (PIQs) as we approach June.
My goal is for them to have good starts on these pieces of writing before summer. Often the students have significant experiences over the summer that cause them to want to make revisions in the fall, so mentors should be aware of this possibility. Then, in the fall, the students will need to finalize their application essays and will have weekly scholarships that may require some minor tweaks to their writing.
I anticipate the need for mentoring will be greatest from September-October, and then much lighter through scholarship season. All of this could be conducted via email or in person, as the mentors are available. I would love for them to come to campus if they are available to do so!
For an idea of what the students must prepare, here's a link to the Common Application prompts. The students have been working with Prompt 1. There is a 650-word limit:
Here's the link to the University of California Personal Insight Question prompts. Students choose four to answer with a word limit of 350 words. I recommend using bits of the above prompt wherever possible:
Scholarship prompts are usually a variation of Common App Prompt 1.
Does this opportunity sound right for you?
If you have the time to commit to this opportunity beginning February 2019 through June 2020, contact the teacher at firstname.lastname@example.org. Indicate in your response that you are a member of the Guild.