College Essay Workshops at Model Lab

As a former AP Program Information writer for the College Board, Kelly Jean now leads college essay writing workshops across the country with the purpose of teaching students how to extend their story in the reader’s mind through a college essay.

Model Labratory School at Eastern Kentucky University

Last week, I had the honor of visiting Model Laboratory School in Kentucky to lead a three-day college essay writing workshop for the seniors and juniors to help them find and focus their personal stories. ✏️🗒

We even had a No, YOU Tell It!-style story swap on the final day, where they read each other’s drafts out loud and gave group feedback to inform their revisions. Here are some student takeaways about their stories and the experience of writing personal narratives:

I used to think college essays had to be about trauma, but now I know it can be about small moments, too.

I used to think failure was a bad thing, but now I know it makes you who you are.

I used to think I couldn’t support my friends when they needed it, but now I know there is more than one way to express compassion.

I used to think that playing music was a passion only serving myself, but now I know that it is a gift that can be shared with anyone who is willing to listen.

I used to think that I had it all planned out, but now I know that I can’t prepare for everything.

Symphony Space Success

No, YOU Tell It! is a treasure of a show. You have to witness it to really get how special it is. Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons assembled a team that puts so much heart and soul into guiding storytellers of different ages, races, genders, and backgrounds to swap stories, so that the performers are in each other’s shoes, as the saying goes. The result is hilarious and heartwarming, but also, such a profound experiment in fostering empathy. Everyone in the room, storytellers, show producers, and audience members, have an unforgettably moving evening of entertainment together, and that special sort of connecting of people going on in the show really is something to be cherished.

Kevin Allison, RISK!
Story partners Kevin Allison and Najah Imani Muhammad. 
Photo credit: Russ Rowland

What an incredible night at Symphony Space last week! We’re still on Cloud 9 and couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who made the night a success by attending in person, via the livestream, and/or donating. Check out more “College Try” photos on Facebook or Instagram.

Hey, while you’re there, why not LIKE or FOLLOW?

Special shout out to all who helped us provide free student tickets to high school juniors. We had a wonderful pre-show college essay jumpstart workshop, and the students loved the show!! 

Plus, we raised $500 during our story trivia in support of Bottom Line.

Want to help No, YOU Tell It! provide more opportunities for future storytellers and students? Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.

What’s next? I’m so glad you asked. SAVE THE DATES:

I can’t think of a better way to kick off our 11th year!

Thank you again from myself and the NYTI Creative Team.

Pre-Show College Essay Workshop Available!

Have or know students starting the college application process? Entertainers and educators trading true tales is an excellent way to encourage students to think about the story they want to tell with their college essays.

Students attending our “College Try” show at Symphony Space can sign up for a pre-show workshop to jumpstart ideas for a college essay that opens a window into their unique character for admissions officers.

Contact for more info and to register. Ask me about our discount code for student tickets!