Summer Writing Program Inspires Students to Tell Their Story


"It was a true privilege to work with the fabulous students of the Fulfillment Fund," says Dr. Greg Miller, Director of Olympian Creative.

At the start of this summer, Fulfillment Fund Las Vegas partnered with Dr. Greg Miller and his team at Olympian Creative to offer a writing program that would help students develop a personal statement for college admissions.

Dr. Greg Miller shares his experience working with Fulfillment Fund Las Vegas students:

It was a true privilege to work with the fabulous students of the Fulfillment Fund at Olympian Creative’s 2015 summer writing program. From the start, our Olympian Creative writing coaches presented the students with a challenge: Let’s put the “personal” back into the personal essay and tell unique, compelling stories about our passions and experiences. The students responded with open minds, industriousness and perseverance—just the traits that will serve them well in college.

On Day One, we worked closely with the students on two exercises, “Know Your Passions” and “Know Your Hero.” In both workshop discussions and in writing, the students discovered and developed both the subject matter (their passions) and the protagonists (themselves!) of their essays. It was an intensive process of exploration that established the foundation of the stories they would tell.

In the following days, we used special exercises to help students identify and craft narratives about their passions, themselves and their communities. We focused on the deep structure of storytelling as well as on the practical requirements of the college essay. Students learned how to tell specific stories rich in sensory detail and then relate those stories to their broader biographies, personal values and future plans.

It was deeply rewarding to watch these stories come to life. At the end of each day, students undertook increasingly challenging “flash writing” exercises and read the results aloud to the group. Our team provided feedback that students used as they built upon their work. By the final day, students presented complete drafts of their college essays.

The results were inspiring. Some of the students had entered the program unsure of their passions and unconvinced that they had stories worth telling. By the end of the program, they had produced essays that were insightful, eloquent, sometimes humorous and always deeply moving.

On behalf of our Olympian Creative team, thanks to all of the students, and to everyone at the Fulfillment Fund, for an unforgettable experience!

Greg Blake Miller, Ph.D.
Olympian Creative Education

Learn about how to write the best personal statement from the University of California system of higher education: