Rockville Writing Center Presents: “Yes, You Got Schooled: Transfer and Scholarship Essay Workshop”


Claudia Greer, hostess of workshop provides students with resources to take home and answers their questions Photo credit: Sara Monterroso

Sara Monterroso

Claudia Greer, hostess of workshop provides students with resources to take home and answers their questions Photo credit: Sara Monterroso

Many students at Montgomery College plan on transferring after their time at MC, but not everyone knows how to start.

To fix this problem, MC hosted a workshop “Yes You got Schooled: Transfer and Scholarship Essays” for students seeking tips on how to write their transfer and scholarship essays last Thursday.

“The hardest thing for people to do is writing about themselves,” said Claudia Greer, hostess of the workshop. “As one student put it, ‘I’m not used to writing about myself!’”

The workshop focused on “deal breakers” and different approaches to exploring important concepts about yourself to write about. The Rockville Writing Center Director, Angela Rhoe, schedules two or three of these workshops each semester. They are also offered at the other Montgomery College campuses.

The workshop is relatively new to Montgomery College.

“A former colleague at the Germantown Campus, Ms. Allison Hutchison, organized the workshop with me about two years ago and I have updated the materials each semester,” said Greer.

Greer and Hutchison thank Dr. Lucy Laufe, Honors Director, for most of the workshops content.

“This workshop is important to the Montgomery College community because it is a two-year institution and most students decide to further their education and attend a four-year university. A spectacular transfer essay is imperative to being accepted into those schools,” says a Montgomery College Staff Member.

The workshop went beyond how to write the essay itself. A PowerPoint was presented to the attendees and it provided information from a step-by-step guide on the writing process, to actually choosing the right institute to transfer to.

“Almost immediately after leaving the workshop I started to brainstorm on what I would write my transfer essays on and I even took a second look at my top choices for school. I didn’t expect the workshop to be so varied in the information they gave us,” said Paula Monterroso, freshman at MC hoping to transfer to University of Maryland, College Park.

During the workshop Greer stressed on personalization of the essays and steering away from writing an academic essay. She advised the 13 students who attended to think about the most important aspects of themselves and their lives and expand on it.

She had the attendees do an exercise where they compiled a list of activities, events, people, and ideas that are prominent in their lives and have created a large impact.

“Students who write papers for their academic courses learn to apply abstract concepts that explain factual data and reveal their knowledge of a topic. A transfer or scholarship essay reverses that focus and asks students to apply concrete details that narrate their personal experience and reveal their values and goals,” said Greer.

The biggest concern with students writing these essays, besides the abnormality of writing about yourself, is time. Students are concerned about meeting deadlines while writing a superb essay.

Greer says the best way to address this concern is by to start early so you have time to write several drafts. Greer also encouraged the attendees to come back to the writing center to meet with tutors for help with proofreading.

The attendees left the workshop with a printed out version of the PowerPoint, brainstorming worksheets, essay checklists, contact information for counselors, real essay questions for MC scholarship programs, links to websites, software and books, and as a bonus, A Student’s Short Guide to Getting The Best Letters of Recommendation.

To wrap up it up, Greer says, “It’s important that students learn how to [revel in their values and goals] as well as they can. Transfer students need to talk about how they’ve learned and grown since they started at Montgomery College.”

The Rockville Writing Center is offering the same workshop November 11th from 1:00pm – 2:00 pm. The Germantown Campus Writing Center is also offering these workshops on October 19, 3:45 – 4:45 (online); October 22, 3:30-4:30; and October 24, 12:45 – 1:45.