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College Admission Workshop

Students sitting in class, participating in the College Admission Workshop


As you start thinking about applying to college, there are clear ways to make your applications—and yourself—stand out. Learn the latest insights and insider expertise from admission professionals about how to succeed in the application process. The College Admission Workshop is designed to give promising young women like you the best practices, guidance and top tips for successfully navigating the college application process. Your instructors are Smith’s professional admission staff, as well as visiting admission officers from other top-ranked colleges and universities. Accepting young women who will be rising 11th and 12th graders in 2021.

Important COVID-19 Information

To learn more about Smith’s planning, see the “Culture of Care” website. We are currently planning for remote and on-campus options for summer 2021 and will have more information in January 2021.

What You Will Learn

You will learn how to write a compelling essay, ace a college interview and speak in public with ease and confidence—skills that will help you succeed in getting into college but will also help you succeed in life. You will attend workshops conducted by top admission and financial aid officers from Smith and other similar institutions. Selected workshop topics include affording college, critical thinking and reading, finding the right fit for postsecondary education, and taking a gap year.

What You Will Cover

How to write a college admission essay

Many students find the college admission essay to be one of the most difficult pieces to write because it can be challenging to strike a balance between "bragging" and "boring." This session helps you find the right balance to ensure that you represent your best self on paper.

How to ace a college admission interview

One of the most stressful aspects of applying to college is the interview. We teach you how to approach these interviews, how to handle all impromptu speaking situations, and how to effectively introduce yourself and talk about your accomplishments and goals.

How to give an introductory speech

There are settings in which you may be asked to give this type of speech, often called "A Speech of Introduction," whether at a conference, a job interview or an academic class. This session is based on the curriculum for the public speaking class offered to Smith seniors. You will learn how to give a speech of introduction, overcome stage fright and construct a well-organized talk, all without having to rely on notes.

How to write a college-level essay

Based on the Colloquia in Writing course for Smith undergraduates, this session will help you learn both the basic and advanced techniques of creating a thesis and supporting an argument throughout an essay. You will also learn the differences in requirements and expectations between high school and college essays.

What You Will Gain

You will finish the program with a completed, or semi-completed, admission essay to be used for the Common Application, as well as tips to customize your essay if the Common Application is not used.

You will have prepared for and gained new confidence when interviewing, learning how to speak comfortably when talking about yourself and your achievements.

After attending the program, you will come away with a better idea of the type of college or university that is a good fit for you. We will have explored what type of learning environment you thrive in and your areas of academic interest, giving you an opportunity to compile a list of possible schools that are right for you and to which you will want to apply.

Our Faculty

Peter Sapira

Academic director and instructor Peter Sapira received his bachelor of arts in English from San Francisco State University and his master of fine arts in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In addition to his work with the summer programs, Sapira also teaches composition and public speaking at Smith College. As part of his work in the Smith College Writing Center, he helps students write grant proposals, graduate school and internship applications and cover letters, as well as essays for classes across the curriculum. He has had short stories published in Anarchy, Inkwell, The Carolina Review, The Black River Review, The Literary Review and Pleiades. Folio Literary Management currently represents his first novel, Billy Hill.

Morgan Sheehan-Bubla

Morgan Sheehan-Bubla received her bachelor's degree from Tisch at New York University and master's from the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa. At Smith she teaches introductory college writing with a focus on rhetoric and persuasion. At Western New England University she teaches composition courses that prepare students for college-level essays and writing beyond the classroom. Sheehan-Bubla teaches young adult fiction in the Smith Young Women’s Workshop and helps students hone their application essays. She has had plays produced in the United States and Britain and is a published poet.

Program Schedule

A Typical Day

7-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9-11:45 a.m. Morning classes or an off-campus field trip
Noon-1 p.m. Lunch
1-4 p.m. Afternoon classes or an off-campus field trip
5:30-7 p.m. Dinner
7-10 p.m. Fun house activities that change daily
11 p.m. Quiet hours
Learn more about Life at Smith →

Contact Office of Precollege Programs

30 Belmont Avenue

Northampton, MA 01063