College Tours & The Secret to Successful Personal Statements

Steppingstone Scholars Learn The Secret to Successful Personal Statements During Annual Veterans Day College Tour

by Steppingstone Advisor Ms. Fonseca

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Ms. Spartz, Ms. Fonseca, and Mr. Robinson at Trinity College

Trinity College

A few weeks ago, Steppingstone Scholars joined Ms. Fonseca, Mr. Robinson, and Ms. Spartz on a two hour bus ride to Hartford, Connecticut. Their first stop: Trinity College! Trinity College is currently home to Steppingstone Scholar Mr. Jerry Rodriguez. What better way to learn about Trinity College than from Jerry, who commenced from The Steppingstone Academy in 2010 and interned at The Steppingstone Academy this past summer?

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Ms. Fonseca, Scholar Jerry Rodriguez ‘10, and Mr. Robinson

Upon arrival, Scholars went on a campus tour led by a couple of undergraduate students. Scholars braved the cold weather (a low of 21 degrees Fahrenheit that day) as they explored Trinity’s beautiful campus and got a glimpse of some of the main buildings. The historic Trinity chapel was a definite favorite given its beautiful interior and stained-glass windows.

During the tour, Scholars learned some fun facts about Trinity College.

  • Trinity College was the first undergraduate college to use Gothic Architecture
  • Trinity has a movie theater on campus because of a professor who strongly believed that cinema and filmmaking would have a significant impact in the future
  • Trinity College has a campus abroad in a residential area of Rome on the Aventine Hill close to the Basilica of Santa Sabina
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Scholars gathered around a famous plaque at Trinity College

After the campus tour, Scholars gathered to hear Jerry and two other Trinity students talk about their student experience.

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Scholar Jerry Rodriguez on a admissions panel with fellow Trinity College students

They had fun stories to share and encouraged Scholars to apply. The Trinity visit ended with some delicious pizza. Scholars then hopped back on the bus, back to Boston, to see Boston College!

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Scholars ready to depart Trinity College

Boston College

Steppingstone College Intern Ms. Sandy Saenbounmy (better known as Ms. S) introduced Scholars to the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center. At the center, we met Mr. Andy Petigny, director of the center, who told Scholars the importance of diversity on campus. Boston College’s AHANA center, works to promote equity, build community, and support opportunities for students of color. The term AHANA is used to describe persons of African, Hispanic, Asian and Native American descent. The center is very inclusive and welcomes all students to utilize the programs and services they offer. Mr. Andy Petigny generously gave Scholars some AHANA agendas to take home. He also introduced Scholars to a few students who were hanging out in the center.

After the AHANA Center, Scholars went on a campus tour led by Cindy and Evy, graduate students of the School of Social Work. Scholars particularly liked The Bapst Library given it’s impressive, cathedral-like, interior.

After the tour, Scholars had a chance to meet with Admissions officers!

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Admission Officers at Boston College

One of the most memorable moments in the conversation was when Mr. John L. Mahoney Jr., director of Admissions at Boston College, told Steppingstone Scholars that, while there is no formula for personal statements, the best essays he has ever read have the following elements:

1. A Great Opening Line

Capture the reader’s attention. Admission officers read hundreds of applications every year. This means that they can look over an application in less than 10 minutes. You want your first sentence to make them pause. To stop and say, “Oh wow, let me carefully read the rest of this.”

2. Tell the reader about YOU

Write a narrative that is not self glorifying but self-revealing. If you choose to write about how someone has influenced or inspired you, make sure that you do so in a way that still tells the reader more about YOU than anything else.

3. Vivid Imagery

Leave readers with a powerful image to illustrate your point. Engage the reader by immersing them in whatever experience or story you choose to share.

Scholars had a wonderful time hearing from Steppingstone Scholars, learning the meaning of “liberal arts,” and getting an inside scoop on the college admissions process! Stay tuned for our next COLLEGE TOUR.

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Steppingstone Scholars at Boston College