Once a week I try to review some book or product related to college in order to lend some guidance to a field that has become completely overrun. So many people are writing test guides and college guides that it is easy to buy a product which is not useful and which will be occupying space on your bookshelf for years mocking your bad judgment.
Many students struggle with essay writing. With a paper set in front of them, they sit there. Heart racing, they try, unsuccessfully, to think of something to write. Once they finally think of a topic, they write their thoughts in a random order – causing their resulting essay to be a jumbled, hard-to-read mess that no English teacher would ever approve. How can this problem be solved? How can a student overcome writers block? How can an essay be made more organized and logical?
Looking for a resource to solve these problems, I found a course called High School Essay Intensive. In this course Andrew Pudewa focus on two essays – the SAT essay and the college application essay. He includes tips explaining exactly how to raise your score on those two particular essays. For instance, he shows how to write to a specific audience. To do this, he researches who is grading the essays, what they like, and how to make them happy. Although this course is specifically written for the SAT and college application essays, it still does cover lots of points that are useful for all essays. For example, Andrew Pudewa explains how to plan an essay correctly and how to vary your sentence patterns to make them more understandable.
The SAT Essay
As I have already said, Andrew Pudewa focuses the session on two types of essays: SAT and admissions essays. The first two DVDs explain how to score well on the SAT. Here he answers important questions such as, Should I make an outline? and, How should I practice? For example, Mr. Pudewa details the SAT essay grading structure, and he even leads a group examination three officially-scored essays. After completing this three hour class, I felt much more prepared for the SAT essay. His class not only reveals the official and unofficial requirements of the SAT essay, but it also prepares you to meet the requirements during the 25 minute time limit.
The College Admissions Essay
After explaining the SAT essay, Andrew Pudewa tackles the entirely different college admissions essay. Unlike the timed SAT writing in which the subject is given to you, the college admissions essay can be written on a wide variety of subjects and in as much time as you want. As in the SAT class, Mr. Pudewa explains what the college admissions officers are looking for and how to make your essay stand out to them. To achieve this goal, he analyzes numerous real-life college application essay questions. He explains how to recognize what they are really asking for, and how to plan your essay properly. This section will help you write an application essay that is organized, stylistic, and written for its audience college admissions officers.
Enjoyable Teaching Style
Essay writing can be a difficult, tedious subject. However, Andrew Pudewa has an engaging style that keeps his listeners attention. He is able to do this for a number of reasons. First of all, he knows his audience young people. As a result, he speaks in a way that young adults, especially high school or college students, can relate to. Throughout his presentation, he involves his audience. For example, he often asks questions which force you, the audience, to stay focused and think. In addition, Mr. Pudewa liberally sprinkles funny stories and anecdotes throughout the sessions. For instance, while discussing the (low) teaching level of some colleges, he tells how a dog once graduated from a college! My favorite part about Mr. Pudewa is the fact that he is so personable. Rather than stiffly reciting a pre-written speech, this teacher is amiable and open. By the time this seminar was done, I felt like I knew Andrew Pudewa personally.
Rather than simply sitting and listening, students in this class have numerous opportunities to participate. For example, in the SAT part, Mr. Pudewa has the listeners write two practice essays and grade some sample essays. This is important because, without practice, a skill is quickly lost. I especially liked the way that he used the two practice essays. He gave the first essay at the beginning of the class and the second essay at the end of the class. Similar to the pretests and post-tests in the 411 SAT Series, this useful setup enables you to see how much you have learned from the class. The difference between your first and second essays can be surprising.
Who is It For?
I recommend the High School Essay Intensive to two people groups. This class is especially useful for high school students who need to be ready for the SAT and college application essays. They are the group that this class is focused on and the entire class will be useful for them. However, this class will also help college students who are retaking the SAT. Retaking the SAT can be important if you want to get more scholarship money for college. I thoroughly enjoyed this course, and I certainly learned a lot. This is a seminar that I plan to watch a couple of times.