Sunday, November 11, was the first Sunday we’ve ever devoted entirely to personal statement work. Yes, we had a momentous Great Los Angeles Personal Statement Weekened last year … but we knew that this year, a four-hour block of time on Sunday would be the right step. It would give our tutors the luxury of time, and (even more importantly) it would give the high school seniors we work with the highest-quality help we could offer as they prepared college essays for the approaching November and December deadlines.
We pulled it off! And let us be the first to say that, well, it was a phenomenal weekend. The total number of students we served from Day One (with Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School and West Adams Preparatory High School) plus Day Two (with John Marshall High School and Manual Arts Senior High School): 227 students! Some of these 12th grade writers came to us with drafts or even brainstorming for a powerful college essay … but many arrived at our check-in table on Saturday or Sunday with little to nothing. Fortunately, each and every kid left our weekend event with a reason to be confident: a finished piece of writing that will put college admissions radically closer.
Almost every young person had an individual tutor on Saturday or Sunday, whether they were shooting to get early admission into some of the Ivies or gearing up to be the best community college student they could be after graduation. Meanwhile, some of the schools who partnered with us this year have a college counselor, maybe two, for hundreds of students on their campus. Without an 826LA component in these students’ lives, one-to-one feedback about the people this weekend’s writers depict in their essays – the best versions of themselves – simply wouldn’t be possible.
That’s why we benefit more than we can ever say from the kind of people who get involved with 826LA, and whose volunteering was so critical this weekend. While many of our tutors have different stories to tell from the students they met during GLAPSW mornings, we know that their empathy and studious pursuit of the goals we set was the most valuable gift anyone could provide.
Our Personal Statement Weekend represents the peak point of our busy college application “season” at 826LA (though we’ll still be working with a few more local classrooms in the weeks ahead), and it’s fitting that it left us on a high. Thanks once again to our incredible sponsors, who were there for us long before Day One.