It’s that time of year again—college application season! While our beloved Giants swung, pitched, and threw their way to another championship title, thousands of high school seniors across San Francisco have been working tirelessly to write authentic, moving personal statements. Each fall, 826 Valencia hosts The Great San Francisco Personal Statement Weekend, which provides one-on-one college essay tutoring for local students.
This year’s event took place on October 25 and 26 at Mission High School, and we served 160 students! The event would not have been possible without the help of our fabulous tutors, who dedicated hours to helping students brainstorm, revise, and edit their essays. The energy in the computer labs during the event was electrifying, and both students and tutors left with smiles on their faces. One student summed it up perfectly: “The best part of my experience was getting started on my personal statement and knowing that I was surrounded by adults who care.” Students, we are so proud of the progress you made on your personal statements, and we wish you the best with your college applications!
Here are some highlights from the weekend’s evaluations:
· “My tutor helped me form more concise ideas and to make myself the focal point of my essay. I learned that badly written sentences can still have good ideas within them.”
· “I really enjoyed the one-on-one time with my tutor. I’ve shown my essay to teachers, but because they have to read 30 other essays, they can’t devote that one-on-one time. I felt my tutor really cared about helping me improve my essay.”
· “I was so impressed by the student I worked with this year. After 5 hours of focused work, she read her essay aloud to me and I watched her come to the end and grin. I was so happy to see her pride in her accomplishment and I hope her hard work moves her toward the next step that she desires!”
· “Most kids I know are children of friends and family and are under 10 years old. I don’t have any teenagers in my life, so it was really fun and eye opening to have a one-on-one session with a smart, engaging teen who also comes from a completely different background than most people I’ve known. I felt a great sense of accomplishment when she expressed her thanks and a deeper connection to the community. Thanks, 826, for running such a tight ship and making it easy and fun to give back to our city.”
Last but not least, a HUGE thank you from 826 Valencia to everyone who made this weekend so special and successful. Thank you, tutors, for your steadfast enthusiasm and commitment to the students you served. Thank you, Mission High School, for once again generously offering your computer labs and classrooms for this annual event. Finally, thank you to Whole Foods and Four Barrel Coffee, who provided delectable snacks and drinks to keep everyone’s energy levels up the whole weekend.
Want to stay involved? There are opportunities for registered volunteers to further support students in their academic journey during evening and Sunday drop-in tutoring at the 826 Valencia Writing Lab. If you’re not yet registered as a volunteer but had so much fun you’re ready to sign-up, you can register here!
*Photograph by Seth Golub