Lesson of the Week: College Essay writing-Application

College Essay Writing-Application by Tiarra Clarkston (Argentina, ETA)

Many students study English with the goal of attending an American university.  Mastering grammar and vocabulary is only part of communication.  Students need to learn the cultural norms in writing and use their knowledge of the language appropriately especially in a university application process.  Conventional American writing includes the following: introduction, body, and conclusion.  The main idea or “thesis” is introduced in the introduction, reinforced with the body, and restated with an expanding idea in the conclusion.  Cultural norms about directness and the structure in writing vary by country and culture.  Instructing students on U.S. writing conventions will help them demonstrate their knowledge of the language while providing cultural insight to written communication.

The lesson includes the following components:

PowerPoint presentation Writing college essay presentation

Handouts with essay examples taken from collegeadmissionsstrategies.com Bad and Good essay examples

Teacher’s copy of the handout with details about each example. Teacher’s copy of handout

The idea is to use the presentation as a guide and the handouts as supportive materials with students working in groups.  Students brainstorm ideas that they can later use.  The lesson could be modified to incorporate specific interests of the students and changed to focus on certain facets of writing.  For example, in Argentina students are taught to write in a highly formal academic manner that talks around the subject.  This approach is not appropriate for a personal statement for a university application.  For these students, discussing how to structure the essay was important.  The students said they found the examples very helpful and will keep them for future reference.

This lesson can also be used to help students with Fulbright grant application essays! Be sure to check back for more lessons.  Next week we will feature a lesson to help beginners in English!  Chao chao from Argentina!

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