NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Seniors at New Haven’s Hillhouse High School received extra help with their college application essays Thursday morning.

A group of volunteers came to advise students on how best to tell their stories at the first Breakfast and Essays event.

“We are actually coaching the entire senior class on how to actually produce a very good, compelling college essay to start the college application season,” Dr. Chaka Felder McEntire, the executive director of Higher Heights, said.

Higher Heights is a college prep organization that helped bring volunteers to Hillhouse from around the community. These volunteers spoke with students about the importance of their essays.

“This is the beginning of writing your story, telling your story, honing your story and centering yourself in your story,” said Babz Rawls Ivy, one of the volunteers who works in radio and newspapers.

The volunteers come from all walks of life to help students pursue their dreams of higher education.

“And they have stories that, I think, can help a college have a more fulsome and diverse group of folks in their college that help the education system as a whole,” said State Sen. Gary Winfield (D-New Haven), who was also one of the volunteers.

Out of 220 seniors, Hillhouse school counselors said they hope at least 100 go to college next year.

“I wanted someone to look over the essay because I want to make sure that my essay is perfect and ready for the colleges to read,” said Mohamed Faro, a senior at Hillhouse High School.

Mohamed is writing his essay about getting hit by a motorcycle when he was younger.

“I feel like they’re going to see as a person that’s self-aware and always can face challenges,” Faro said.

Hillhouse senior Destiny Cooper started writing about playing basketball.

“Having, basically, the confidence and stuff like that, then I went into my relationship with my dad, getting a little personal and stuff,” Cooper said.

Organizers said even for students who are not going to college, learning how to tell their story is an important part of whatever they do next.