Held at Mission High School, the Great San Francisco Personal Statement Weekend helped local students write the personal essay that is a large component of the college application process.

The event was hosted by 826 Valencia, a Mission District nonprofit that supports students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills for future success.

From 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, November 7th and 8th, there was food, computers and tutors available to provide students with one-on-one editing sessions. Over 50 students showed up Saturday and even more were expected the following day.

Drop-in at Mission High, 3750 18th Street, or call 415-642-590 ext. 206 for more information. If you missed the event, help’s always available at the 826 Valencia office between 19th and 20th streets on Sundays, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Or email essayhelp@826valencia.com.

Quick Essay-Writing Tips from 826 Valencia

  1. Relax. It can be intimidating, but remember that every high school senior is in the same boat.
  2. Be honest. Writing that is personal and honest draws the reader in.
  3. Be personal. You want to be able to read your essay and say, “This sounds like ME.”
  4. Be consistent. Your application and essay shouldn’t be the same but they should reflect each other.
  5. Think of it as an opportunity to reveal something the admissions office won’t learn from your application.
  6. Keep an open mind when picking a topic. Even an activity you hated might make a good topic because you learned something from it.
  7. Focus on your strong points. Tell the admissions officers what you have to offer the freshman class.
  8. PROOFREAD. Use the dictionary, spell check and read your essay out loud.
  9. Write about WHY not WHAT. Your application states what you did; the essay should explain why you did it.

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Born in the Sunshine State of Florida (but raised in Philly), Sade is happy to now be living and reporting in the sunniest neighborhood in San Francisco. When the high school education beat is not keeping her busy, she loves to frugally satisfy her inner food glutton (the Mission is a great place for that!) and sing (both in the shower and on stage).

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