The 2020 College Admissions Marathon

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Philadelphia Futures students complete their college admissions essays during an innovative virtual College Admissions Marathon

For more than thirty years, Philadelphia Futures has supported first-generation-to-college students with the tools, resources, and opportunities necessary for admission to and success in college. For rising high school seniors in the Philadelphia Futures programs, this has traditionally meant the opportunity to participate in the College Admissions Marathon and reside on a college campus for one week while writing their personal statements. During the Marathon, students experienced campus life, lived in residence halls, and ate in the dining center. 

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 shutdown, our Class of 2021 scholars were unable to participate in the residential portion of the College Admissions Marathon. However, thanks to the support from staff, volunteers, and the use of the EssayDog platform, Philadelphia Futures delivered enhanced programming in a remote learning environment, where students could thrive, find their creative voices, and draft their personal statements. A strong personal statement is important in college applications because it allows a student to stand out from other applicants and tell their unique stories. 

For three weeks – from June 10th to June 26th –  the Class of 2021 Philadelphia Futures students participated in daily writing activities and received individualized support and guidance from staff and volunteer writing coaches. At the end of the three weeks, each student left with a strong first draft which they will continue to refine and edit before submitting their college applications this upcoming school year. 

“Though the College Admissions Marathon looked differently this year for our rising seniors, we are thrilled that they were still able to channel their creativity, become storytellers, and write their personal statements in a remote learning environment, thanks to the guidance of our staff, volunteers, and this new digital platform,” said Executive Director of Philadelphia Futures Sara Woods. “We are proud of our scholars and look forward to celebrating the college admissions decisions that will result from their hard work.”


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