Boot Camp Goes Virtual

College Essay Boot Camp returned to ThreeSixty Journalism this summer. Because of the current pandemic, Boot Camp looked a little different this year. Instead of meeting on campus at the University of St. Thomas, students logged onto Zoom from the comfort of their own homes.

In the course of a week, they wrote college admissions essays, learning about everything from strong verbs and tone to powerful introductions. The students also got help from volunteer writing coaches and editors.

College Essay Boot Camp
ThreeSixty Leadership Council member Chris Havens helps Annie Swanstrom and Jijee Ligdi with their college essays during a Zoom meeting.

ThreeSixty was able to host two sessions – one in partnership with Girls Inc. Eureka! and the second with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. A total of 30 students finished the camp.

Overall, students were surprised to find out they could write an entire essay in only a week! Here is what they had to say about their experience at Boot Camp:

  • “It was very helpful and fun. I have learned things that won’t only help for this essay, but future essays and projects.” (Narely Baron, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School)
  • “Something I was surprised to learn about myself is that I’m more talented than I thought I was, and I’m capable of doing so much if I just put my mind to it.” (Ariana Yasmin, Al-Amal School)
  • “I learned that my voice is the most powerful weapon I can use to project my opinions and ideas in this society.” (Nalani Vang, Math and Science Academy)

Volunteers also had an impactful time. Over the course of two weeks, ThreeSixty had 24 volunteers join from organizations across the Twin Cities who provided direct support to the students.

Here are some of their thoughts:

  • “It was meaningful, it was hands-on, it was productive and it was honestly an emotional experience.” (Shane Kitzman, Target Communications)
  • “It was an incredible opportunity that I’m so grateful to have been able to participate in. These students have such incredible stories (and futures), so any small role in helping them on their journey is a real privilege.” (Jake Anderson, Target Communications)
  • “[Students] were great, so smart, so focused, so genuine, so receptive. I’d love to volunteer again!” (Suzanne Windett, University of St. Thomas)

    College Essay Boot Camp
    Jennifer Torres Lopez and her coach Kira Leadholm meet in a Zoom breakout room.

Check out some of our students’ college essays here!