College Admissions - Essay Writing Mini-Unit

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Learning Objective

Students will craft an engaging and sophisticated college essay, adapting their style and content for their intended audience and purpose.


College Admissions Writing Mini-Unit: This resource will guide students through the college essay writing process from start to finish. From brainstorming activities to researching university values to revision stations, this unit provides a comprehensive approach to the writing process.

Students will know…

  • The characteristics of reflective essays and the elements that make a college essay effective.
  • Their intended audience’s values.
  • Brainstorming strategies for when they feel stuck.
  • Organizational approaches for college essays.
  • Appropriate diction and syntax for a college essay.
  • Types of sentences and strategies for varying syntax.
  • How to apply the recursive writing process to their work.
  • Methods for masterfully opening and closing their essays.

Students will understand:

  • Strong pieces of writing are intentionally crafted with specific audiences and purposes in mind.
  • Strong writers are not developed in isolation: mentor texts from skilled writers can help provide insight about how to improve.
  • Reflection and revision are essential components of mastery and growth.
  • Voice in narrative writing empowers writers to leave their own distinct fingerprint on their writing and better engage readers.

Students will be able to...

  • Apply components of the recursive writing process to create a focused and organized piece.
  • Craft a college essay with the values and beliefs of that college in mind.
  • Demonstrate the purpose of writing as reflective.
  • Adapt evidence, voice, and tone to audience, purpose, and situation.
  • Use varied syntax to enhance the overall effect of the essay.
Total Pages
22 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
3 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.


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