Summer Assignment for Rising 2016-2017 aaa seniors

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Summer Assignment for Rising 2016-2017 AAA Seniors

Guidelines for College Application Essays


  • First, the non-negotiables:

    • This assignment is required of all AAA rising seniors.

    • It is due on August 22, 2016.

    • It must be typed, double-spaced, include a header (with your name, the English class you’ll be taking this upcoming year, your teacher’s name if known), and be formatted to MLA guidelines (see the link to the Purdue OWL).

    • Students must save an electronic copy of their essay in MS Word.

    • The essay must meet a minimum length (prompt not included) of 600 words but may not exceed 800 words.

    • The essay must answer one of the 2016-2017 Common Application prompts, which you may find at the following link:

    • The prompt must be included in your submission, following the header and preceding the essay.

  • Remember the importance of narrative structure, which follows a chronological pattern. If the writer fails to carefully guide the reader through the timeline of a story, the reader becomes confused, annoyed, and disinterested. Here are links to examples of effective college admissions essays:



Things to Remember

  • Employ rich descriptive detail that creates a sense of time and place. Vague language and generalized details are not only boring, but they also fail to convey your meaning and to absorb the reader in the reality you wish to create. Names of places, people, books, and objects put us in the moment. So do lush imagery and lively dialogue. Refer to a favorite memento or other narrative essays if you’re looking for inspiration.

  • Understand the central conflict, which must be established from the moment we begin reading, especially in a short (600-word plus) paper. Hook us right away, focusing on dramatizing a particular turning point in your life, or beginning with some concise, compressed exposition (background detail) that will set the stage for that extended dramatization. If you merely provide us with a summary of events leading to an epiphany, you’ve given us your resume—you have not touched our hearts.

  • Remember that the rules of spelling, grammar, and conventions of standard written American English are critical to keeping your reader reading. Carelessness in conveying your ideas signals to your readers that you aren’t really interested in what you are writing, so they shouldn’t be interested either.

  • Make a habit of formatting your submissions according to standard academic guidelines. We will follow the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) rules, so get acquainted with them by visiting this wonderful free website:

Here are some more pointers:

Structuring a Narration Essay
A narration is simply the telling of a story. Whenever someone recounts an event or tells a story, he or she is using narration. A narration essay recounts an event or tells a story to illustrate an idea. A narration essay may be entertaining or informative.

There are five basic steps to writing a narrative essay.

1. Purpose

Why are you telling the story? Every narration must have a point or purpose, usually to entertain or to inform.

2. Context

You should establish the context of your narrative early in the essay. You can follow these basic guidelines: who, what, where, when.

3. Point of View

A narrative essay may be written in the first-person (I) or third-person (he, she,

it) point of view; do not use second person (you). If you were part of the action, the first-person provides the best perspective. If you are relating an event based upon other sources, use the third-person point of view. In some circumstances, you may be forced to choose the point of view (if, for example, you were a witness, but not a participant). Once you have decided upon a point of view, stay consistent with it.
4. Details

Include enough details for clarity; however, select only the facts that are relevant.

5. Organization

A narrative usually follows a chronological time line; however, you may find flashbacks a creative option as long as the narrative can be clearly followed by the reader. Most narratives are told in the past tense. You should keep tenses consistent and make clear transitions if you’re shifting between periods in time.

6. Title

Don’t forget to add a thoughtful title that will entice your reader while giving him or her some sense of the conflict or themes in your essay.

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