On December 5th, 2015 26 FFL volunteers spent the day at the Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts (BILA) as writing mentors for 50 high school seniors who had not yet completed the essay portion of their college applications.

Richard Capozzi, an English teacher at Brooklyn Tech, and Board member Cara Kiernan Fallon led trainings for students and volunteers, covering FFL’s principles for writing successful college essays. Following the trainings, volunteers spent time getting to know the students and their college essay goals. In the first half of the workshop, the volunteers helped students generate ideas, craft, refine, and edit their essays, which had arrived at varying stages of completion. Students were then given time to revise and incorporate the principles from the training and the volunteer feedback into their essays.

In the second half of the workshop, the progress the students made was shared with the volunteers, who then sent their students home with a plan to finalize their essays.  After the workshop, students submitted additional drafts to volunteers who provided “virtual” feedback on the overall quality of each essay, and how well the student made the adjustments suggested at the workshop.

Students, teachers and staff at BILA were thankful for and impressed by the results of the day-long workshop. One student noted, “This workshop was great. I am super confident about my essay and I love my mentor she definitely helped a lot!” To end an already great day, CUNY application fee waivers funded by FFL donors were provided for BILA seniors!