"What's My Story?"™
College Application Preparation Workshops

A key to success in the selective college admission process rests in one's ability to use all parts of the application to make a cohesive, compelling case for acceptance. Led by former dean of admission and college planning expert, Peter Van Buskirk, this hands-on, interactive workshop for high school juniors focuses on identifying the defining, and often nuanced, aspects of the participants' life experiences that won't be apparent anywhere else in their applications. Participants will engage in role-play activities, essay reviews, mock interviews, reflective and interactive exercises designed to produce practical strategies for revealing their stories.

At the conclusion of the workshop, each participant will be prepared to:

  • Develop an action plan for telling her story
  • Identify his "hooks" and find opportunities to reveal them
  • Establish an overall theme for her applications
  • Develop concepts for "lead" essays (Direct feedback, if desired, is available on the draft of a college essay on the day of the workshop)
  • Get the most from letters of recommendation
  • Relax and convey important messages in personal interviews

Workshop Details:

  • For juniors/rising high school seniors (students only)
  • Limited to 24 participants; registrations are taken first-come, first-served
  • Four hours in length, including breaks
  • Snacks and beverages will be provided at each workshop
  • Students should bring pen/pencil, and notebook (laptop for note-taking optional)

Registration & Fee:

  • $300 for the four-hour workshop.
  • Registrations are not complete unless accompanied by payment
  • Registrations may be made either online or via postal mail (Click "Register Now" button below to view options)
  • You will receive two separate email confirmations: first, an auto-gen email in receipt of payment; second, a personal email from Peter confirming the location and date of the workshop requested on the registration form.
  • Submission date/postmark determines the date of receipt for registrations
  • Fees are non-refundable after the workshop has been declared "closed"
  • Payments received after the workshop is filled will be refunded/returned
  • If a workshop is canceled all fees will be refunded/returned
  • Optional: Indicate alternate locations on the registration form in the event your first choice is filled

2018 "What's My Story?" Workshop Locations & Dates

Denver, CO
Courtyard Denver Tech Center
6565 S. Boston Street
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

August 14, Tuesday: 1-5 PM

Deadline for Registration: August 8

Newport Beach, CA Workshop has been canceled.

San Jose, CA
The King's Academy
562 North Britton Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
(Open to the Public)

August 18, Saturday: 1-5 PM

Deadline for Registration: August 8

If you would like to bring a "What's My Story?" Workshop to your school or community, please contact Peter at Peter@BestCollegeFit.com or 717.808.5462

Why should you attend a "What's My Story?" Workshop?

"I attended ‘The Admission Game’ program and found it to be the most comprehensive collection of information I got from anyone, anywhere during my college search. I was so impressed with the program that I signed up for the ‘What’s My Story?’ workshop to receive instruction in preparing a good, solid college essay. Mr. Van Buskirk’s knowledge and coaching was invaluable in preparing an essay that expressed who I am to colleges. Don’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of his expert advice in this process!"
Andrew, Newtown, PA

"Your workshop was incredibly informative and uplifting—a great way for me to ask questions and get answers that were personalized for my needs and college goals. I left with a much clearer idea of what I wanted to write (and what colleges wanted to see) in my essays. It wasn't just the essay help that was beneficial. In the ‘practice college interviews,’ you gave advice I utilized in my interviews at Dartmouth and UVA this winter. Best of all, the workshop taught me about the admission process and gave me confidence that my college decision would all work out in the end. I highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about their college applications and desires a 'leg up' mentally when applying to colleges."
Ryan, Denver, CO

"I just got accepted ED to NYU! The workshop definitely gave me a better sense of how I wanted to portray myself to colleges in my application. Thanks!"
Nicole, Montvale, NJ

"This workshop was very helpful as I learned what makes a good essay great—I found my ‘aha’ moment!"
Terri, Los Angeles, CA

"’What's My Story?’ helped me feel more relaxed and knowledgeable about the whole application process. The workshop really helped me figure out the ‘theme’ I wanted to portray in my application, and helped me plan out parts of my application that would reflect different aspects of myself. I used the workbook we received at the workshop frequently as I was applying to colleges, and it helped me put the finishing touches on my application. Through Peter's help, I was able to put together an application that truly reflected who I am and earned me a place in the incoming class of my dream school (Stanford)."
Emma, Denver, CO

"The workshop helped me determine what I wanted to say about myself in my application, which was extremely valuable. I applied early decision to Cornell University and got in! I would definitely recommend the workshop to other students."
Celeste, Basking Ridge, NJ

"I learned more about the admissions process from just a few hours in your workshop, Peter, than I did from anywhere else. Your presentation made me feel energized and ready to take on the application process! 'What’s My Story?' focused on 'what you can bring to a college community' and showed me how to present my talents and interests so that I stood out as an applicant. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done. You helped me figure out the college admissions process. I couldn’t have gone through it as smoothly as I did without your help."
Ellen, Denver, CO

"Without ‘What’s My Story?’ I would not have known I needed to so strongly thematically focus my apps. I accepted an offer of admission from Yale University and plan on attending there in the fall. The workshop was extremely helpful in my application process."
Peter, Boulder, CO

"The workshop proved extremely beneficial. Thanks to some of your proposed techniques (specifically keeping a notepad next to my bed), I wrote an extremely powerful admissions essay that was complimented by the UVA Jefferson Scholars Committee. Your program allowed me to grasp what admissions officers look for in an essay—and in understanding how to utilize measured rhetorical and thematic risks to create an essay that acts as an admission ’hook’."
Tom, East Hanover, NJ

"I am really glad I came! The workshop helped me evaluate myself and elements of my life experience I might not have considered before. I am much more confident than I was when I walked in here today!"
Juan, Los Angeles, CA

"All my apps are in and I am a bit more relaxed! I have gotten into the University of Notre Dame and Michigan, so I am very excited about that. Also, I am a semifinalist for a full ride to the University of Richmond. Your workshop taught me that instead of talking about every single thing I had done in high school in my app, I should focus on a few things that fit more of a theme and tell a story about me."
Ben, Los Angeles, CA

"I really enjoyed the personal approach and the interaction with others. The workshop motivated me to start my applications and gave me tips about the admission process as well as ideas to start an essay."
Rayleen, Philadelphia, PA

"The practice interview that you and I did helped me prepare for many interviews with college admission officers. I also learned a lot from reading college application essays from an admission officer’s perspective. It helped to know what turns them away and what catches their interest."
Daniel, Philadelphia, PA

"I chose to participate in the workshop because I felt so lost when I thought about the college essays. This workshop was extremely helpful in giving me a sense of an overarching idea for my application. Thank you!"
Shawna, Palos Verdes, CA

"The mock interview section of the workshop was especially helpful. My college application consisted of a large audition and interview component and I was able to keep many tips and pieces of advice with me throughout my audition and interview at NYU. I would recommend this workshop to any of my peers who need to get a handle on the whirlwind of college applications."
Leo, Warminster, PA

"I’m the first of my family to search for colleges. I needed more info and this workshop ‘widened my horizons’ with very helpful tips. I feel better about the process now."
Janine, Morristown, NJ

"This workshop was a great investment in helping me to get accepted to college! Most importantly, it got me thinking early on about writing my essay, so that by the time I sat down to write it, most of the work was already done. The workshop also gave me confidence, not only in my writing, but in telling MY story."
Rachel, Denver, CO

"I really enjoyed the interactive approach to the workshop and I now know better how I want to present myself."
Jessie, Sarasota, FL

"The workshop gave me ideas for structuring my essay to present specific illustrations of my passions rather than generalities. The opportunity to review sample essays was also insightful. Thank you so much for helping me with my essay—I was just accepted to Pomona College with a full ride scholarship! I'm so thrilled about this and appreciate all the guidance and tips I got from you during the workshop."
Cathy, Sarasota, FL

"I had a FANTASTIC experience. The workshop was comfortable and collaborative. I learned to take time to understand myself and what I am proud of so I can share it with someone who determines my future!"
Sophia, Basking Ridge, NJ

"It was great to have Peter pick my brain—to pull ideas out of me that helped define my story."
Edward, Wilmington, DE

"I was pretty lost in the essay writing side of the application and I needed all the help I could get! I like the way we made personal profiles that helped me develop an overall theme for my application."
Madison, Los Angeles, CA

"This was fantastic! I was worried about getting into college. Now I know how to tell my story. Thank you so much!"
Megan, Torrance, CA

If you would like to bring a "What's My Story?" Workshop to your area, please contact Peter at Peter@BestCollegeFit.com or 717.808.5462

Frequently Asked Questions

Details on Workshop:

Q. For whom is this workshop intended?

A."What's My Story?" is intended for prospective college applicants at the end of the junior year of high school (rising seniors). Students who are uncertain about how to present themselves on their applications will find the workshop especially helpful.

Q. What is your approach in working with the participants?

A. Peter believes there is greater and longer lasting value in the discovery process when it is owned by the student. He seeks to empower students by teaching them how to find the answers, first by delving into what they know about themselves and then by giving them an appreciation for the context of the selection process. When they understand how all of the parts work, they are better able to orchestrate them to their own benefit.

Q. What is the instructional format?

A."What's My Story?" is a hands-on, interactive seminar. Participants will engage in role-play activities, mock interviews and reflective exercises. The objectives are to enhance self-awareness, build confidence in various forms of self-expression and develop strategies for telling stories that are distinctive and compelling in the admission process. Active participation is essential, though. It is imperative that students come prepared to engage in every aspect of the workshop in order to gain the greatest benefit.

Q. Will participants receive direct, personal feedback from Peter?

A. Absolutely! Calibration is critical to the development of college application strategies. Peter will use what he learns from each participant to help them identify and refine strategies for telling their stories. As part of the workshop, students will be invited to submit drafts of college application essays for feedback.

Q. Is it possible for parents, teachers or counselors to observe the workshop?

A."What's My Story?" is intended for students only. Educators interested in learning more about the content of the workshop need to contact Peter at Peter@BestCollegeFit.com or 717.808.5462.

Q. When will I find out about the details of the workshop?

A. Once your registration is submitted with payment you will receive three separate emails:
  1. an auto-generated email to confirm payment processed
  2. a personalized email from Peter to confirm your participation in the workshop for which you registered
  3. and
  4. an email from Peter about a week prior to the workshop that provides workshop details/logistics as well as a participant profile for you to complete and return in advance of the workshop
Be prepared for extensive writing/note taking. You may not record the workshop.

Q. Should I bring something to eat or will food be served?

A. Snack food and drinks will be provided as part of the registration. You are welcome to bring along a bottle of water if you want.

Q. Can I bring a friend?

A. Friends are welcome to register. Unless otherwise indicated, the workshops are open to students from any school or homeschool environment on a first-come, first-served basis.


Q. If I register for the additional 30 minutes of consulting time, when and how might that take place?

A. The consultation can take place at a mutually agreeable day and time after the workshop. While the appointment can be made via email, most consultations will take place by phone or Skype.

Q. Is my registration fee refundable?

A. Your registration fee is refundable until the date when the workshop for which you registered is declared "closed."
You will be notified by email when your workshop is closed.

Q. Will I be able to attend a workshop at another location if my registration arrives after my preferred location is "closed"?

A. Yes. On your registration form you can indicate alternate locations if we are not able to accommodate you for your first choice.

Q. May I register if I cannot be there for the whole time? Is there a discount if I can only be there for two or three hours?

A. You should only register if you know your calendar is clear for the full workshop. There are no discounts for limited participation.


Q. Do you work with individual students to manage the application process with/for them?

A. Peter's objective is to empower the student to work independently toward achieving her goals. That said, he offers a limited number of private consultations called "Discovery Sessions," and occasionally works with students as they prepare their college applications. For more information about consulting opportunities contact Peter at Peter@BestCollegeFit.com or 717.808.5462.