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This is an activity I have been doing with students for 10 years, and it always generates a lot of productive talk! Students are put in the position of an admissions committee at a college, and this fresh perspective allows them to re-examine their college essays with the sharp eyes of a person who is trying to make a great fit to a college.
Students first consider the topics to write about, then build college and decide what kinds of academics, sports and other amenities it will have.
As a group, they will create a poster to market their school, and present it, trying to "sell" it to other students.(Grading Rubric Included)
Finally, they examine real college essays to determine if students will be a good fit!
You can use the enclosed essays, or essays you find online, or even your students' essays.