IXL Lends a Hand to Help Students Write Personal Statements for College

On October 22, 12 IXL employees volunteered as writing tutors at 826 Valencia’s 9th annual Personal Statement Weekend. At Personal Statement Weekend, under-resourced San Francisco Unified School District students can get assistance with drafting, revising, and polishing their college application essays. The event took place at Mission High School, and over two hundred local high school students participated this year.

IXLers helped students at all stages of the writing process and made meaningful connections with several excellent and ambitious students along the way.

Pax Hehmeyer, an IXL language arts curriculum designer, described the experience like this:

This weekend was a wonderful opportunity to meet some talented students. They brought inspiring stories, and we just helped them make those stories shine on paper. It’s easy to forget how stressful it is to apply for college and how uncomfortable it can be to write about yourself. So, it was immensely rewarding to help students feel more confident in their writing and to help them show off all the amazing things they had already accomplished!

Cindy Johnson, another language arts curriculum designer at IXL, had similarly high praise for the students who participated:

I very clearly remember how hard college essays were to write, so I was really excited to help students recognize how incredible their experiences are and how they can showcase their unique perspectives. I collaborated with two vibrant, ambitious, creative, and intelligent high schoolers, Erin and Mandy. Our time was spent mostly in conversation, during which I learned a lot about what it means to be a high school senior in 2017! I’m happy that I was able to offer my insight as a former university teacher, and I’m excited to see how these young adults are going to reshape the world we live in as they continue on in their education.

Over 95 percent of the students who participated in Personal Statement Weekend say that they received help that they wouldn’t have otherwise, and 97 percent say that they made significant progress on their writing.

To learn more about 826 Valencia or to volunteer, visit http://826valencia.org/get-involved/volunteer/

By Kevin Gould, ELA Curriculum Designer