FedEx Communicators Share “Tools from the Trenches” on Writing College Entrance Essays
I recently served on a team of FedEx writers that conducted a college essay writing workshop for Memphis high school seniors interested in getting into some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges. The FedEx team, comprised of communications managers and senior specialists who write for global audiences, focused on how to write college entrance essays that stand out from the crowd.
Our team was invited by the Memphis Challenge program, a nonprofit organization that prepares the city’s youth for college and careers through educational and enrichment programs. We provided several tips, including how to grab the reader’s attention, managing the body of the message, avoiding gimmicks and sexist language, effective closings, and proofreading techniques.
Following a panel discussion, we assembled into small groups to give the teens one-on-one critiques. One of my students, an African-American male, talked about the fact that in an era of hip-hop, rap and rock, he picked up the violin and learned to play classical music. He eventually was accepted into the Memphis Youth Symphony Orchestra. Another student spoke of being a daughter of two worlds. Her mother was an African-American in Memphis while her father was a Palestinian living in Jerusalem. She believes that a college experience will somehow help her to better connect with her own identity.
“The FedEx team was awesome,” said Cassandra Webster, executive director of Memphis Challenge. “The students were all abuzz with how much they learned and the fun they had at the workshop. Each team member brought a valuable perspective to the essay process. It was a great evening!”
FedEx is a major philanthropic sponsor of Memphis Challenge and also provides summer internships for many of the students.