Stories of Self (StoriesofSelfworkshop.com) is a free curriculum for writing the college admissions essay, from start to final draft. This workshop redefines the college essay as a “story of self” that is part of a broad and diverse tradition of writing about selfhood. It focuses on retaining ownership and finding affirmation and joy in the process of writing a personal narrative.
Students can access and complete the 5-stage workshop fully on their own or with the guidance of a teacher, tutor, or parent. Students can work directly from the website, or they can download fillable PDFs of every page and activity. Templates can be completed digitally by typing directly into the templates or printed out and completed by hand.
I created this curriculum in collaboration with several local partners in Austin, Texas: Austin Bat Cave, a nonprofit youth writing organization; students and teachers from the AVID program at Crockett High School; four area high school students; undergraduate college students; and a graphic designer. The project was funded by the Mellon Engaged Scholar Initiative at the University of Texas at Austin.
Stories of Self launched in September of 2021. In addition to being directly accessible to students online, Stories of Self has been adopted by a number of schools, nonprofit writing programs, and internship programs in Austin and Philadelphia, reaching hundreds of students. Its impact continues to grow.