(UN)Common Workshop
Boston, MA | Portland, OR

(Un)Common Workshop prepares students to navigate the college application process, build leadership competencies, and create compelling personal essays by unleashing the power of story.

(Un)Common Workshop for college applicants is a guided excursion through the often overwhelming college application process. To strengthen college applications and leave students with transferable skills they can use for years to come, we employ storytelling, leadership development and human-centered design tools. Workshop leaders leverage decades of experience in higher education and admissions, entrepreneurship and leadership, and journalism and branding.

We move beyond the standard approach to the Common Application by helping young people find their strategic story: a thread that weaves experiences, skills, achievements and passions into a compelling central narrative. Strategic storytelling makes students’ applications stand out and provides them with clarity and confidence in the decision-making process. Workshop participants will leave with a strong written personal essay, a more focused approach to choosing a college, and interpersonal skills that support them in interviews, relationships and professional development.



Demystify the college application process with guidance for both the Common App and independent applications.

Develop your interpersonal and communication skills by employing strategic storytelling tools.

Challenge you to explore your passions in human-centered design and systems thinking exercises that clarify your goals and support smart decision-making.

Discover your personal statement in a rapid prototyping process that strengthens your professional writing skills.


Personal Statement. You’ll leave with a refined and effective personal essay that you can attach to any application that communicates your unique story in a clear, professional and compelling way.


Confidence. Students develop leadership skills to strengthen their effectiveness in interviews and written communication, and to build confidence that catalyzes personal and professional growth.


Clarity. Our college admissions experts walk you through the Common App and direct application process, so you’ll emerge with a clear approach.


Momentum. We’ll get to know you and help you get to know yourself: who you are, how your personality has strengths and aptitudes in unique areas of academia, and how to apply that to the college decision process. This helps you confidently create a shortlist of college options, majors to consider, and opportunities to prioritize like internships, service learning, and study abroad. 


Community. In our human-centered design workshops, students learn from and about each other through a peer-mentoring approach.  

Session 1: July 23 - 25, 2019
Session 2: July 27 - 29, 2019


By combining her love of literature, legend, geekery, and community, Maggie created a career that didn’t yet exist. She moved from Pennsylvania to the United Kingdom—a place she dreamed about as a kid—where she earned a Ph.D. that led her to leadership roles in education, marketing, and film across two continents. Maggie’s strategic storytelling skills have landed her on the sets of Twilight and Captain America, MTV panels and international classrooms. Now an admissions specialist, Maggie has worked for more than ten years with higher education institutions in Wales and partners with universities across the globe. In her free time, she makes films, edits scripts, and consults across industries, while living in the shadow of an 800-year-old castle.


Maggie specializes in finding real-world opportunities to realize big dreams.


Amelia turned a graduate school project into My Street Grocery, one of the nation’s first mobile grocery companies fueled by a mission to expand fresh food access. Two years later, she sold her company to Whole Foods Market, where she created her own leadership position and spent the next three years building the corporation’s food access initiative. Amelia co-created the Elevating Impact Summit, a nationally-renowned event that draws 500 social innovators to Portland, Ore. each year. She has collaborated with the Fulbright Program, delivered keynotes throughout North America, and been featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fast Company, and The Huffington Post. Amelia teaches graduate-level courses on storytelling for social innovation at Portland State University. 

Amelia specializes in integrating big visions and diverse objectives.


Winston was a year into his first job at a small Idaho newspaper when a big story broke, and his editors pulled him off of it, worried about racking up overtime. He’d always dreamed of working at Newsweek, so he looked up a number for the bureau chief and pitched the story. The next day, a reporter flew out from New York to join him, and he spent the next 15 years freelancing his way toward a full-time gig as the magazine’s Europe correspondent. He has taught journalism at the University of Oregon and led the student newspaper at Lane Community College.

Winston specializes in catalyzing innovators to turn their stories into action.


(Un)Common Workshop is led by a core team of facilitators who guide students through a carefully designed experience.

Each workshop also includes special cameos and sessions taught by experts in college admissions, leadership and more. 


Workshop space is limited to create a personalized experience for attendees. 


(Un)Common's three-day immersion is $995 per student.

Space is limited to create a personalized experience for attendees. 

Our mission is to create equitable opportunities for emerging leaders to reach their highest potential regardless of socioeconomic status.

We prioritize diverse lived experiences when determining a workshop cohort.


Scholarships are available.

© 2019 ALICE Strategy

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