For the first time, the counseling department held a personal statement workshop for juniors in the VICCI center to encourage students to spend more time refining their college applications. On April 26 counselors Candace Boran, Maria Aguirre, Marianella Castro and Adrienne Smith taught students how to write a personal statement. “We wanted to give them an introduction to what they need to do, so if they have time over the summer, they can start working on their personal statement,” counselor Candace Boran said. The slideshow lecture provided an overview on what both public and private colleges would ask for and what their prompts were.
Some students said the slideshow lecture portion of the workshop was less helpful if their teachers had already discussed the personal statement in class. “Some of the information they gave us is pretty much what we learned in College and Career,” junior Mark Bihag said.
After the counselors finished with the slideshow, students had a brief brainstorming session. The counselors walked around and gave students advice, such as trying to find a specific focus and trying not to be so funny or creative that they lose the reader. “I learned it’s important to put yourself in the best light possible, showing the best side of yourself,” junior Victor Chan said. “After the presentation was over, I felt like I really wanted to write my personal statement.”
Counselors also passed around sample essays to students and discussed the pros and cons of each.
The counseling department is planning for a possible follow-up workshop in the fall. Unlike the spring workshop, there will be personal statements that the students would have written over the summer, so both counselors and students will be able to collaborate to improve the essays, according to Boran.