ADVANCED EXPOSITORY WRITING CLASS

The Advanced Expository Writing class provides a foundation for Form VI boys as they prepare to write a variety of college essays.

Form VI boys take an Advanced Expository Writing class in which they write essays that prepare them for college application requirements. For more than 10 years, this mandatory course was taught by former Headmaster Stephen M. Clement, III, who took on the task after its originator, former Head of Upper School Kolia O’Connor, became head of Sewickley Academy. The class is currently taught by Head of Upper School James Reynolds.

Mr. Reynolds said, "This class is vital to the boys' college admission process. I am excited to help them capture on paper who they really are and how they want to present themselves to the colleges to which they apply."

As far as the nuts and bolts of the class are concerned, the boys write three essays, all of which might be submitted to colleges. Two of the essays are based on the choices given to them on the Common Application for colleges and universities. For their third and final essay, they are encouraged to choose from the supplemental topics offered by an actual college they are interested in attending. 

Peer review is an important part of the course, as the boys will share their essays with one another and offer helpful criticism. Mr. Reynolds noted, “Reading an essay publicly gives each student the opportunity to hear his voice out loud and gives his peers the chance to offer positive feedback and constructive suggestions. The emphasis for peer review is that each student be supportive and thoughtful."

While the course ends just before Thanksgiving, Mr. Reynolds hopes to continue the community building that was an integral goal of Mr. Clement when he taught this important class. Stevie Rachmuth ’10 misses his days at Browning and recalls this particular course with great fondness: “Mr. Clement’s class on Advanced Expository Writing built camaraderie. My classmates and I felt supported by one another during that ever-stressful college application period.” 

On Friday, January 13, 2017, Mr. Reynolds hosted the Form VI boys at a luncheon at the Century Association. The event marked the end of the semester-long Advanced Expository Writing class in which each senior wrote and revised a variety of college essays, ranging from the Common Application essay to the various supplements required by colleges and universities. Operating as a writing workshop, each student shared his essay with the class, received constructive criticism from his peers and Mr. Reynolds, and revised his essays as he saw fit. The high point of the lunch was each student's reflection on which one of his peers' essays most moved him. The reflections were thoughtful and revealed the depth of attention and seriousness each student brought to the table to make the workshop a valuable experience. The boys were fortunate to have Mr. Botti and Mr. Pelz join in the class-ending celebration.