The New York Times’ Learning Network recently published an exercise asking teachers to lead their high school students through exploration of and practice for the new common application essay prompts. In addition to encouraging directed free writes, the activity encourages the use of columns from The Times as models for content, and The Choice Blog and The Learning Network as centers for advice. In sum, the article lays out a clever and robust examination of the personal statement, presenting The Times as a sophisticated College Essays for Dummies.
Reading in general, and this esteemed paper in particular, will undoubtedly help students in the construction of better essays. The Times’ college-centric blogs and education features regularly offer thoughtful musings on essay content and the overall state of admissions; and personal essays like the ones published in the Modern Love and Lives columns serve as emblems of compelling storytelling and successful short-form structure.
So pull up that paper when you’re in the dentist’s waiting room or on the morning school bus and check out one of the many pieces on The Learning Center’s shortlist. The summer is around the corner, and it’s never too early to warm up your creative brain with a good read, or two, or twelve.