In 650 Words—College Essay Workshop


Nail the essay for your college applications with the tips and tricks you learn in this 90-minute workshop!

You’ll read successful examples, and discover how to frame your topic and express your voice when crafting your essay for the college or university of your dreams.

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“In 650 words, tell us who you are beyond test scores, transcripts, lists of activities, recommendations…”

How hard could it be to capture a sense of self on the page in a college essay? Turns out, it can be challenging.

The blank screen.
The word limit.
The pressure to impress.
The looming deadline.

The way to tackle the college essay is to simply begin, and this workshop will provide a starting point to make the writing task less daunting.

In this workshop, you will learn strategies for framing college essays, brainstorm potential topics, read successful examples and take away tips on how to capture your voice on the page. While the task at hand may be college essay writing, you will see the ways writing can be a useful means of self-reflection.

Class structure: One hour for curriculum, and 30-minutes for writing and questions.

Offered online on Zoom: (A link will be sent with your registration confirmation)
Tuesday, September 27—7 to 8:30 PM
Saturday, October 1—10 to 11:30 AM

$15 per student. (Need-based scholarships are available. Please inquire.)

Your instructor: Karen Downing taught Language Arts and Gifted and Talented courses at Valley High School in West Des Moines for 34 years. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Iowa. She is a Special Projects Coordinator for the Des Moines nonprofit, CultureALL.

Additional information


September 27, October 1


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