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Making a case for college: A genre-based college admission essay intervention for underserved high school students

Author(s): Early, J. S. | De Costa, M.

Journal: Journal of Writing Research
ISSN 2030-1006

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 299;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: college admission essay | self-efficacy | features-based instruction | composition

A significant percentage of students who attend secondary schools in the United States do not acquire the basic writing skills required to gain admission to four-year colleges and universities. In the present study, participants were 41 low-income, multi-ethnic 12th-grade students, 19 of whom received instruction on specific genre features for writing college admission essays. The other 22 12th-grade students formed the comparison group and received instruction as usual in their regular English class (mostly on literary analysis). The students who received instruction on genre features of the college admission essay scored higher on a rubric-based rating of the pre and post test essay writing and on writing self-efficacy surveys associated with the genre. Findings yielded from this study point to the merit of using a features-based genre instructional approach to teaching college admission essays to low-income, multi-ethnic high school students.

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