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Writing classes with Lech Harris

Common App College Essay, Start to Finish: 6 sessions:

Mon-Sat 7/11/22 - 7/16/22 from 11am-12:15pm

Intro to College Writing: 5 Sessions: 

Mon-Fri 7/18/22 - 7/22/22 from 11am - 12:15pm

Starting the college essay 1 day primer:

Wednesday 7/27/22, from 11am - 12:30pm

Descriptions are below

Starting the College Essay: One-Day Primer 

 

How do you start the process of writing your college app essay? How do you make sense of the various writing prompts provided by the Common App? How do you compose a compelling and effective personal essay that will help you get accepted to the college of your dreams? This one-day course offers a primer in what college admissions counselors are looking for, and how to write an essay that delivers. We will cover the most useful brainstorming exercises, the fundamentals of the college essay, common misconceptions and mistakes, and how to use storytelling effectively. By the end of the day, students can expect to have learned everything they need to know to start brainstorming and composing their own essay with confidence. This course is taught by Lech Harris, Brandywine Learning Center’s college essay coach since 2019, and will be held remotely over Zoom. 

Intro to College Writing: Five-Day Course 

 

This course offers a five-day tutorial in how to write college-level papers. For college freshmen, it is often a challenge adjusting to the higher expectations that are placed on college papers. Additionally, many first-year students are unfamiliar with the level of autonomy, as well as collaboration and accessibility, that characterizes the student-professor relationship. Ideal for students transitioning from high school to college, this course teaches students what to expect and provides a head-start in mastering the specific compositional and analytic skills that are essential to writing at the undergraduate level. At the same time, the course aims to model the kinds of academic habits that will allow students to excel in a college environment, including scheduling one-on-one meetings with professors outside of the classroom. 

 

Students will attend five class sessions of 75 minutes each and will write two papers, one of which will be revised in response to professor feedback; there will also be a mandatory office hours component. The course is taught by Dr. Lech Harris, PhD, who has been teaching college composition and writing courses since 2014, first at Rutgers University and currently at the University of Pittsburgh. All course meetings will be held remotely, over Zoom. 

 

Topics covered will include: 

 

  • How to write a college-level thesis statement 

  • Going beyond the 5-paragraph essay 

  • How to analyze, rather than just summarize, readings 

  • How to revise for substance and argument 

  • Office hours, extensions, and other necessary habits for success in the college academic environment 

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The College Essay, from Start to Finish: One-Week Course 

 

This six-day course guides students through the process of brainstorming, composing, and revising their college app essay, from start to finish. No prior drafts or application work are required: this course assumes that students are starting at square one and begins from there. Beginning with an explainer to answer student questions about what the college essay is, what its goals and purpose are, and what makes a college essay effective, the course then moves into brainstorming exercises designed to get students thinking about the memories, experiences, and values that they might tap into for their own essay.  

 

Taught by Lech Harris, the course leads students through two successive drafts, covering revision strategies, common mistakes, and providing instructor feedback, before transitioning, in the second half of the week, into individualized, one-on-one discussions of student drafts. By the end of the course, most students will have a completed college essay, ready to submit; those students who still require a bit more editing and attention to perfect their essay will be able to schedule follow-up appointments with Lech. All course meetings will be held over Zoom. 

 

A rough schedule is as follows: 

 

  • Monday: What is the college essay for, and what is it NOT? 

  • Tuesday: Brainstorming your topic. 

  • Wednesday: First draft due—common pitfalls and revision strategies. 

  • Thursday: Storytelling and revising for detail. 

  • Friday: Second draft due—one-on-one conferences. 

  • Saturday: One-on-one conferences, continued.