Pre-College Programs

Writing Workshop: The Personal Essay

Event Information
Join Us

Advance registration is required.

This is event is being held online. After registering, connection information will be emailed to you.

General Public
PAFA Members: $99

Susannah Fishman
Books on desk

The Personal Essay is central to many types of applications for teens - college, art school and internships. But how do you make yourself stand out? How do you articulate what makes you a good fit for the program you are applying for? Whether you are applying to Harvard, Penn State or an elite academy like PAFA, you will have to write an essay that talks about yourself, your goals and what drives you as a student.

In this two-day, weekend workshop, we will focus on writing a first draft of a personal essay to a college of your choice. Good personal essays use description and imagery to let the reader viscerally experience the story, just as paintings can tell a story. By emphasizing the links between imagery and text, students will learn to write a personal essay that truly stands out from the crowd.

This workshop will help you to:

  • Articulate how a specific personal experience shaped you as a person and how it guides your future goals      
  • Identify what type of program(s) you want to apply for and why      
  • Speak to the mission of the institution for which you are applying      
  • Write about yourself to address a specific audience  

You will meet with the teacher and fellow students live on Zoom from 10-11 AM on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday the teacher will guide you in how to write a personal essay, and on Sunday students will share their work with each other and receive feedback. Additional readings, resources, and feedback will be available on the learning management system, Canvas.

Teacher Information:

Brian Heston is a faculty member in PAFA’s undergraduate liberal arts program with over 20 years of experience as a published writer and teacher.