It’s October, and you know what that means: apples fall from trees, witches and ghosts populate the sidewalks, and pumpkin pie is back on the shelves. It’s also the time of year when 826 Valencia hosts its annual Great San Francisco Personal Statement Weekend! This event offers students from all over the city one-on-one help with their college admissions essays, provided by our fearless tutors.
Close to 200 students attended the event on October 15 and 16, hosted at Mission High School. The computer lab blazed with activity as students shared their experiences, which tutors helped to organize on paper, assisting with everything from brainstorming to the finer points of grammar and sentence structure. One student shared the benefits of their experience, saying: “Having a tutor was extremely helpful, since I don’t have anybody that can help me read my essays. Talking about the topics was one thing, but helping me expand from a small idea felt amazing, and I can’t thank my tutor more.” We are so excited about the progress our students made on their essays, and we’ve got our fingers crossed for them!
Other students had this to say about their experience:
“Having a tutor definitely helped me productively write my personal insight questions. He had been through the process of applying to a UC, so he shared his tips with [me] on doing so. I had a hard time figuring out what to cut because the story was so personal to me and having an objective eye really helped me.”
“Getting a second opinion by someone who doesn’t know me has been really beneficial because it simulated what a college admissions officer would think of my essay. It was just nice to have someone else tell me what they think and reinforce some of the ideas and doubts I’ve been having towards my essay. The most important thing I learned today from my tutor was to be honest and real, because if I don’t feel good about my essay and if I don’t feel like it’s genuine, then it shouldn’t be sent to the college admissions office to represent me.”
And our fearless tutors shared their experiences as well:
“I loved participating in the tutoring session on Sunday afternoon. The other tutors I met during the training session were insightful, and I really enjoyed working with two students over the three hour session. Time flew–and my last student was such a joy–I only wish I could have had another hour with her.”
“It is always inspiring to hear the incredible stories of strength and resilience displayed by these amazing young people. They often do not perceive their own triumphs.”
We couldn’t have done it without the amazing volunteers whose dedication and integrity helped our students’ work shine. Thank you also to Mission High School for once again housing this event. Thank you to Whole Foods Market and Four Barrel Coffee, whose offerings kept our blood sugar levels from crashing while we worked tirelessly and fruitfully.
If you worked with us over the weekend, and like one of our tutors, wished you’d had another hour or two with our students, you can register to be a volunteer here! For all you registered tutors, there are many other opportunities throughout the year to stay involved. Don’t be shy!