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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

College Application Essay Writing Workshop (Waitlist Only)

How to write an unforgettable college essay that reflects you

In this online workshop, high school students will practice and develop the skill of writing a college application essay. Students will brainstorm, draft, and revise a full-length college application essay by the conclusion of the workshop. Provided students attend all four sessions and complete the 1-2 hours of homework assigned each week, students can expect to leave the workshop with an essay that is ready or near-ready for submission. Together, we will investigate the central questions of application writing, including:

  • Who am I? As a student? As a writer?
  • What do I want out of my time in college?
  • Which of my experiences have most shaped who I am today, and why?
  • Where have I witnessed my ability to enact change in my community?

This workshop is for high school students at the beginning of their application writing process; all writers will start their essays from scratch. Our virtual classroom will function as a collaborative workshop, as well as an instructional space. Students will routinely read and analyze each other's work, as well as personal essays by published authors. Together, we will grow comfortable with: (1) the conventions of application writing, (2) vulnerably sharing our stories, and (3) a rigorous revision process involving peer review and instructor feedback. In order to create an open online writing community within the workshop, students will be asked to turn their Zoom cameras on.

Students will have the opportunity to join a generative collective of writers, to discuss their hopes and anxieties regarding the application process, and to connect firsthand with the UMass Amherst university level writing community. We will approach application writing both practically, and creatively: all students will leave with an essay they feel confident about, and will have also had the opportunity to challenge and hone their skills within the expansive personal writing genre.

Enrollment for this workshop is limited to give time for personalized attention. Questions? Email 

Spring Workshop Format and Schedule

March 11 - April 1, 2023 | 4 weeks

Live synchronous sessions will meet Saturdays from 2:00 - 3:30pm (EST). In addition, participants should plan for 1 - 2 hours of asynchronous assignments per week.  

To sign up for the waitlist for the Spring 2023 workshop, please click the "Join Waitlist" button located on this page and fill out the registration form.  

Summer Workshop Format and Schedule

July 10 - 21, 2023 | 2 weeks

Live synchronous sessions will meet Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 - 6:30pm (EST). In addition, participants should plan for 1 - 2 hours of asynchronous assignments per week. 

Registration for the Summer 2023 workshop opens in March.

Spring Workshop Instructor

Miranda Lutyens is an MA/PhD student in Composition and Rhetoric at UMass Amherst. She teaches College Writing and recently served as a Graduate Assistant Director in the Writing Program, where she mentored first-year teaching associates. Prior to coming to UMass, Miranda spent fifteen years teaching secondary English Language Arts, first in the Boston Public Schools and then at the American School of Lima, Peru. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has two Master's in Education. Her research and practice interests include: leveraging the study of multilingualism for enacting social justice pedagogy; rhetorics of voice and the aural; and freewriting as reflective practice.