Many high school seniors are in the process of searching for scholarships to help pay for college. Most scholarships require a student to write an essay about themselves or describe where they see themselves in the future, which can be challenging for some. As part of its mission to promote, prepare for and provide equity of college access to Louisiana students, the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) is holding College/Scholarship Writing Workshops.
In December, Jessica LeBlanc, one of the outreach coordinators at LOSFA, began weekly one-on-one meetings with senior students to provide writing tips and assistance with essays for college applications and/or scholarships.
“The writing workshop seeks to answer the question, 'Can I Afford It?', from our
system, by helping students identify scholarships they are eligible for and then helping them construct a competitive essay to secure those funds,” said LeBlanc.
Twenty-eight senior students attended the first writing workshop at St. Helena College and Career Academy.
To begin, they discussed the different challenges they had with writing: organizing thoughts, insecurities with writing abilities, style (formal vs slang), and more.
Students were also asked to write a short biography, as a way to prepare for scholarship and college applications.
“I didn’t know what to say or put but I got it done with the help of [Ms. LeBlanc] and some other students,” said Shanika Holmes, who attended the workshop.
Each senior was also instructed to find a scholarship that interest them and complete a rough draft. On Jan. 11, LeBlanc will begin helping students with refining their essays during their second session.
“I really didn’t like [writing before] but after the workshop I [saw] where I had more ideas I could put into place; how to make mistakes but learn how to correct [them],” said De’Shawn Muse, another student at the workshop.
While the writing workshops are a relatively new venture, LeBlanc says the teachers, as well as the students, are excited about the success they’ve seen so far as the students develop stronger writing skills.