How do you create the perfect essay? Students do not become great writers overnight. However, by teaching a process and emphasizing structure and organization we help students make immediate improvements and increase productivity in their writing. We look forward to helping Chicago students sharpen their writing skills.

The Rising Writer (grades 8-10)

Learning to write persuasive or analytical essays is a critical skill for students to develop as they move from middle school to high school. Whether writing a term paper or a timed in-class essay, the ability to organize ideas and create a clear and concise argument remains an essential goal for students.

This workshop improves students’ confidence as writers by teaching the structures, process, and techniques of writing in multiple genres. Students will learn process writing techniques to create concise and effective essays in a shorter time than they ever imagined.  Students will read short stories, articles, opinion pieces, poems, or subject-specific texts to spark debates and find subject matter for essays. Then they will work through each step in the writing process:

  • free-writing
  • identifying a topic
  • generating guiding questions
  • creating a thesis
  • outlining
  • learning from peer critiques
  • drafting, revising & editing

This Chicago essay workshop is for students entering grades 8-10.

Schedule:

To be announced.

Cost:

To be announced.

Location:

Menomonee Club / Drucker Center
1535 N. Dayton St.
Chicago, IL 60642

View the detailed curriculum here.
Week 1:
  • The Power of Process (what good writers do)
  • Make it Personal (reflection)
  • Good Reading Leads to Good Writing (annotation)
  • Get it All Down (freewriting and conversation)
  • Curiosity is Key (guiding questions)
Week 2:
  • Explore your Topic (debate, concept mapping, and thesis statements)
  • Parts of an Essay
  • Organize with an Outline
Week 3:
  • Types of Writing (persuasive, analytical, expository, narrative)
  • Tricks of the Trade (developing ideas and drafting)
Week 4:
  • Open to Feedback? (peer review)
  • Two Steps, Not in One (revision and editing)
Week 5:
  • Make it Look Nice (proofreading, formatting, and citations)
  • Literary What? (analyzing poetry and stories)
  • Writing Process Review
Week 6:
  • Timed Writing Techniques and Practice
  • Lifelong Writing
College Essays 101 (grades 11-12)

Students often feel overwhelmed facing the college application process while keeping up with rigorous course loads and busy extracurricular schedules. The essay portion of an application can be particularly daunting. When students sit down to write they may feel stumped by common questions like…

  • What is the prompt even asking me?
  • What are admissions officers looking for?
  • Isn’t it awkward to write about myself and my positive qualities?
  • The stakes are so high, how can I make my essay stand out from the rest?
  • Can I admit to mistakes or character flaws? How honest should I be?
  • I have so much to say; how can I fit it all into a 300- or 500-word limit?

These questions and more will be answered in College Essays 101. We take the guesswork out of college essays and put students at ease with the writing process. This seminar series will…

  • Bust the myths around college essay expectations
  • Point out common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Help students discover an angle and a voice to make their essays authentic and original
  • Provide tips for altering a single essay so it works for multiple schools’ prompts
Schedule:

To be announced.

Cost:

To be announced.

Location:

Menomonee Club / Drucker Center
1535 N. Dayton St.
Chicago, IL 60642

View the detailed curriculum here.
Week 1:
  • Myths and pitfalls of college essays (what colleges do and do not want to see)
  • An essay like no other – you’ve never written like this before
  • Dissecting the prompt – what are they really asking?
  • Choosing a topic – brainstorming techniques
Week 2:
  • Writing a standout essay with honest content and a strong voice
  • Winning essay samples
  • The formula for organization
  • Drafting
Week 3:
  • Making sure you’ve answered all parts of the prompt
  • Narrowing your focus
  • Choosing an attention-grabber
  • Dealing with word limits
Week 4:
  • Asking for feedback
  • Revision
Week 5:
  • Polishing the draft: syntax and diction
  • Adapting the essay to use on other applications
  • Working with other prompts
Week 6:
  • Reviewing the process
  • Responding to a new prompt with another essay