Student writers learn to get a head start on college

LA FERIA — Local students are at a writer’s conference today to learn how to get a head start on college.

They are finalizing their college application personal essays, and collecting the feedback that will set them apart from the college entrance competition with their story.

The La Feria juniors and other area Gear Up students are visiting Region One to go over their college essays with Janine Anderson Robinson.

She’s a journalist and credentialed high school English teacher from California who has spent the last six months coaching the college-bound students on how to write their college application essays.

Robinson is the creator of, a website writing source that focuses on writing college application essays that get noticed.

Region One created the series of writing workshops called “The College Essay Writing Project” in partnership with the Texas Valley Communities Foundation, a Mercedes nonprofit promoting education. They say the college essay is a critical component of the college application packet for colleges and universities.

“When you get to the college level and your application goes in, everyone has the grades, everyone has the community service and the highest test scores,” said Dr. Mary Alice Reyes, executive director of Texas Valley Communities Foundation. “At the end of the day, the interview panel is looking at the individual and what in their life will be a contribution to the university, so they look at their story and essay.”

La Feria is sending six students to the conference today with 10 copies of their college essays to share with other Gear Up students from Edinburg North, Falfurias, McAllen, Mission Veterans Memorial, Monte Alto, Santa Rosa and Santa Maria.

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