1/11-17/2016 College Prep

Fireside Chat

Below is your results from the last quiz. I will post your answers as well as the answer key once the last two CPers take the quiz.


Thursday we will play a Kahoot! review of the below assignments; the topics (and maybe questions) of the review will appear on a quiz during the last 20 minutes of Friday.

I will grade your college essay ideas on Friday.

Time Management

Here’s how I would chunk the week.

Day Work Completed
Monday 4 vocab lists 4 vocab lists
Tuesday 3 vocab lists


7 vocab lists


Wednesday College essay 7 vocab lists


Essay ideas

Thursday 3 vocab lists


10 vocab lists

2 IXLs

Essay ideas

Friday 1 vocab list

2 IXLs

11 vocab lists

4 IXLs

Essay ideas


Recommendation: It’s better to have completed 50% of all the work than 100% of half the work. Your Work grade will be the same, but you’ll perform better on the assessment.


Why? Affixes are like math rules—once you learn them, you can solve all sorts of problems (i.e. unknown words). Below are 11 affixes and 110 words, which is 6 fewer than last week.

NB: Please click “Learn this list” at the top right of the vocab lists. That’s your mastery, which is what I grade you on.




pro- (to go forth or put forth)

inter-  (between)

trans- (across or beyond)

circum- (around or round about)

fore- (before)

ex- (out, up)


11-BB.1: Prefixes


Instructional Material: You do not need to know all the suffixes herein, but this is a nice introduction to the concept.



-fy (to make into)

-ism (a system of beliefs)

-able / -ible (able to be)

-ful / -ous (full of)

-al (pertaining to)


10-AA.1: Words with -ful

10-AA.2: Words with -less

10-AA.3: Words with -able and -ible

College Essay


The college essay is a bizarre, unique creation. You contrive an “authentic” narrative that shares your best qualities without appearing to brag. I wrote my first college essay in my 11th-grade English class, and since then I’ve edited many, many more. Now I (and some friends in WashU and Yale’s admissions office) are on your team.

Even if you don’t plan to apply somewhere with an essay, having a polished personal narrative will prove useful in your future. This same type of writing—personal narrative—is required for all sorts of applications: scholarships, internships, graduate & professional schools (e.g. law school, business school, nursing school, veterinary school, etc.)

Phase I: Understanding the College Essay

Instructional Materials

What’s expected

Each year 850,000 students use the Common Application to apply to its 517 member schools.

The Common App asks for background information, your GPA and class rank, honors or distinctions (schoolwide, statewide, or national), your ACT score, a list of activities (extracurriculars, jobs, etc), and, importantly for our purpose, an essay. The essay asks for 250-650 words (1-3 pages) on one of the following five topics:

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

In addition, some colleges require a supplemental essay. Although these are on different topics, they should be written in the same personal-narrative style. Below, I have copied a smattering of supplemental essay requirements.

How to kill it

  1. Read / skim College Essays That Made A Difference from the Introduction to the end of the book preview.
  2. Read these four college essays. Make sure to watch the videos of admissions officers discussing each essay!


To game any application, you need to start with the same question: What story do I want to tell? You are “aware…[and your] interior life is rich, and complicated, and acutely perceived.” There is no way you’ll convey your je ne sais quoi in 500 words. So instead, you’ll think of a compelling (and true) narrative that shows a side of yourself you think admissions officers will appreciate.

Click on you pseudonym and open the Google Doc within the folder. By Tuesday (since Monday is MLK Day!), write 3 possible stories, experiences, accomplishments, or other narratives you could tell in response to one of the above Common Core essay prompts. Each narrative summary should be 2-4 sentences and reference the number of the essay prompt you’re responding to. I have included an exemplar below.

CP 1-2 CP 7-8