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Launching our College Application Tip of the Week

Square wood pieces that says pause, breathe, and resume

The Dignified Learning Project took a step back recently to redesign our programs, mission, and ensure that our programs and organizational structure was solid. We are a completely volunteer run organization as of right now, including the executive director, so a lot of effort falls on a few shoulders rather than a larger organizational structure. During this time we were able to reimagine what we wanted our organization to do, plan for some future activities, and come up with different ways to serve our community.

We took our time to pause, and then breath, and now, we are in the stage of resume. We have some awesome programs that we launching, but we will explore that later in a newsletter or another post. In the mean time, we wanted to discuss one of our new things that we will begin through our social media and as regular blog updates: College Application Tip of the Week. Realistically not all students have the time or energy to attend workshops, including ours, even if they are listed online. So, we are doing our best to share our knowledge in an accessible format. Would we love for you to join our workshops? Absolutely! They're free, the majority are online, and we are always excited to see both new and familiar faces. But, we also want to carve out a space for folks to see little tips on how to strengthen their college applications.

Students in black robes throwing graduation caps in air

These specifically college applications are addressing the undergraduate application process for 4-year college or universities, or the time you would attend a 4-year university immediately after high school or transferring from a community college. We will be exploring graduate school application processes in a separate series, but for now, we will focus on the undergraduate process.

For many, this is the first time they will have faced an application like this. Perhaps they are a first-generation college student, or resources are limited, so, we want to help you out! Every Wednesday you will see a blog post, as well as a post to social media, that will outline a tip for the week on how you can approach your college application. We will be real, honest, and open as much as we can, and of course we hope that you reach out to us to ask us questions!

With that, let's start with our first Application Tip of the Week on this Wednesday, today, June 7!

Tip of the Week: Be your genuine self in your writing.

Gray, purple, and black social media flier with application of the week
Application Tip of the Week

This sounds pretty straight forward and logical, right? However, one thing that we have found is that individuals filling out those personal statements for the schools that require them is that often adopt a very formal, formulaic, and detached "voice" in their writing. Of course, this is not to say that you should write it like you're texting your friends, but you do want to make sure that you are being genuine in your writing. Are you passionate about equity? Are you a first-generation student who is excited to be the first to graduate? Are you really good at basketball? Or maybe art helps ease your anxiety? Write about that. We'll talk more about tips on how to write about things you may perceive as a "weakness" that does not boast it as a strength, but instead discusses it as something you have worked through and highlights your problem-solving or innovative skills, but we'll save that for another day.

Girl playing games on computers with red and black headphones

So what does being your genuine self mean in this case? Discuss situations or events that have actually happened. Don't feel compelled to make things up. Use real people in your life, and not fictional characters. One person, for instance, told our executive director that they had nothing valuable or important to discuss and "only" liked video games. This personal statement turned out to be exceptional! She discussed this aspect of her life opening it with the horrors of sexism within video game design and clothing for female characters, and ended it with the ways that she would envision a more equitable and badass female character. Throughout, she wove her experiences, her video gaming, and her beliefs on the patriarchy throughout. This resulted in a fantastic piece and she was accepted to all of the colleges on her list.

There will be tons of pressure to get into college, but you need to be yourself and apply to colleges where you feel connected and can find others to connect to (and another tip for another day.) But this also means that writing authentically about yourself and your experiences is a must. Don't shy away from them. For many of you, you're just beginning your adult life, for others, you're trying to explore and finish college, which means you're trying to get into a school of your choice. This means that you should be authentic to yourself, in your writing, and show those admissions officers what a cool, kick ass person you are and make them believe you're going to be a great member of their school community as your genuine self.

As we move forward with these, they will be a combination of big picture ideas like this, as well as technical ones. We'll discuss things around personal statements, timing and pacing, FAFSA and financial aid, supplemental questions, and more. Stay tuned, subscribe to get more updates with our posts, and let us know if you have any questions!


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