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Success Stories:

Student Leadership Network

Class of 2020

The Student Leadership Network (SLN) operates three life-changing programs that support youth from underserved communities to access educational opportunities: The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TYWLS), a high-performing network of all-girls public secondary schools; CollegeBound Initiative (CBI), a comprehensive college access and success program; and Young Women’s Leadership Network, a national network of 16 all-girls schools sharing the TYWLS model. Student Leadership Network’s CollegeBound Initiative (CBI) aims to improve the percentage of students from underserved communities who gain acceptance to, and enroll in, college with an optimal financial aid package, and to increase the number and percentage of students who earn a postsecondary degree.

Through a generous grant from the Heckscher Foundation for Children, Story2 worked with SL Network to improve the percentage of students from underserved communities who gain acceptance to and enroll in college, earn financial aid, and ultimately a postsecondary degree by increasing the students’ overall writing mastery, as well as the number of students who complete personal essays for admission to selective colleges and scholarship programs. 

Towards these goals, Story2 provided SL Network with a 3-part solution based on their College EssayBuilder® suite of services:

  • Professional development: Beginning in February 2019, Story2 delivered nine professional development workshops to 52 educators from 17 SL Network schools, teaching educators how to guide students in finding essay topics and structuring essays, and providing targeted, actionable, rubric-based feedback on students’ admission essay drafts.
  • Essay Essentials course for students: Story2 coaches taught our one-hour Essay Essentials course, including an introduction to our online writing platform, StoryBuilder, to over 1,200 students at 14 SL Network schools during the spring of their junior year.
  • StoryBuilder + written feedback: Story2 provided all rising seniors from a total of 24 SL Network schools with access to our online writing platform, StoryBuilder, which guides students step-by-step through the process of finding and writing stories that can be used in college admission and scholarship essays. Students also received unlimited rounds of personalized, rubric-based written feedback from the Story2 team of writing experts.


Professional development workshop:

  • 100% of SL Network educators said that “After today’s course, I feel confident that I can teach students how to write successful admission and scholarship essays for their college applications.”
  • 100% of SL Network educators said that “After today’s course, I am better equipped to offer targeted, actionable feedback to students on their personal essays.”
  • 33 English teachers and college advisors downloaded the Story2 Moments Method® curriculum to use in their classrooms and advisory groups after attending the workshops.
  • Story2 received a Net Promoter Score of 81 for its work with SL Network educators. (NPS operates on a scale of minus 100 to 100; 50+ is considered “excellent.”)

Essay Essentials workshop:

  • 90% of students who took Essay Essentials reported increased confidence in their college essay writing skills.
  • 88% of students who attended the workshop used the StoryBuilder platform to work on their essays afterward.
  • Following the workshop, 50% of students submitted their essays for written feedback before the start of senior year and 52% of them submitted more than once.
  • 67 NPS

StoryBuilder plus written feedback

Students used StoryBuilder to complete their essays, and each student received unlimited rounds of personalized, rubric-based written feedback to ensure they understood how to use stories as both content and structure in their essays. 

    • Story2 average turnaround time for written feedback was 24 hours.
    • How effective was the feedback you received on your essay in helping you identify growth areas and improve upon them? 4.7 / 5
    • How much do you agree with the statement, "My essay is significantly stronger because of the feedback I received from my essay advisor?" 4.7 / 5
    • 65% of students who used the StoryBuilder platform also submitted for written feedback.
    • 38% of students who submitted essay drafts for feedback submitted more than once. The average number of submissions per student was 2.1.
    • Students who submitted essays more than once improved their writing 94% on the Story2 narrative writing rubric (based on the Common Core narrative standards). 
    • 88 NPS 

Overall observations

This program was designed both to improve students’ core writing skills, and to teach them how to apply those skills to complete college admission and scholarship essays. When either an English teacher or a CBI director of college counseling served as the lead mentor for Story2 in their school, there was a much higher level of student engagement and three student outcomes improved dramatically:

  • The overall percent of students submitting essays for feedback (84% vs 23%)
  • The number of students submitting essays before senior year (80% vs 27%)
  • And the number of students submitting essays for feedback multiple times (75% vs 36%)

We also added live, online group workshops (“essay bootcamps”) to the program in the fall to help more students, particularly in those schools where there was not a lead mentor, to complete their admission essay drafts for feedback before the college deadlines. 

In Year 2 of the Heckscher grant, we are expanding the service to an additional 500 students (1800 total), while lowering the cost 20% through school-level programming led by the educator-mentors and additional online programming led by Story2 coaches. 

Do you want more information about bringing Story2 to your school or organization?

Email getstarted@story2.com to connected to our sales team!