Senior Summer College Writing Workshop

A text from a senior in a summer college writing workshop at 11:30 am on a Thursday in June… 

“I am in my writing workshop for school and having a tough time taking off on an essay topic. It was easier to talk to you.  I have been working on it for the last few days now. Ugh.”

Hang in there! Each June or August, a senior will text me for reassurance or in a panic that the writing for a college summer workshop or program is not going as they had expected. Yet, this is a beautiful opportunity to remind them that they’re on the right path, and I support them with a “reset.” 

We all need a reset when a goal within a project seems too large to break down or reach within reason. I support students to “reset” their goals into sweet, simple steps. Students work hard to focus on their school’s college guidance programming and group or individual workshops to stimulate content that has meaning and purpose related to their ideas and storylines. Students are engaged to participate in their school’s summer college writing, sometimes mandatory events, as it will contribute to their growth and goals as college-bound students. 

These programs are designed with the most cutting-edge information and an approach to support the student from the school’s mission and framework for the ideal student experience as they play a crucial role, like all educators, in your student’s educational journey. Now that finals are complete, in the early weeks of summer or right before the beginning of the first semester of senior year, your student’s school may have an opportunity to promote their growth and learning goals for college admissions.  

Students and their families, in each grade level should stay active and participate in their school’s programs and events related to college planning and admissions. My daughter (Class of 2027) will be in 9th grade this fall at our local public high school, and even in the spring of 8th grade, we attended a college advisory night for educational planning into high school. Information and conversation about educational planning for parents are discussed earlier today than ever, as there are many choices for each individual and the modern-day blended family. Post-pandemic in education, the alternative paths toward one’s education have more accessibility and opportunities than ever before for all learners and their unique circumstances. 

Remembering that your school is your partner in achieving your goals is essential. The student participating in the school’s programming and events for college will add to their college knowledge, have opportunities for growth and connection with the school and peers, and have access to continuing to practice their college readiness skills, such as writing and building practical tools for a successful college transition. 

In particular, neurodiverse learners learn best with repetition at a higher frequency and slower speed than their peers, especially when learning new materials, and it is exciting (a lot at stake!). This adds to our experience with heightened awareness, sensitivity, and elevated anxiety levels when learning something new and essential to us moving forward. As always, I empathized with my client’s text and reassured her that she was on the right path toward her goals. With a smile, I responded, as I had heard this from many students as a former school learning specialist and consultant: 

“Be at ease. 

Not perfection. 

Enjoy this time as you reflect and think about yourself. You do not need to prove anything to anyone. The topic is within your heart. 

Take a break. 

Be kind to yourself. 

This is perfect for us to review next week in our session.” 

Today, most high schools, public, private and online alike, have college curricula embedded into programs for 12th grade to support college application essentials. Some schools have these programs as an opportunity, while others require all students to attend early or late in the summer for admissions preparation. The school programs are an essential step towards autonomy, learning how to manage various feedforwards and perspectives from school experience and supplemented with support from an IEC, when both roles have a purpose, can elevate the students’ growth and build life skills as they prepare for a successful college transition. 

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