Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



The stories we tell can shape our lives and our experiences. Unfortunately, many African American adolescents are often subjected to stereotypes and one-sided deficit narratives that can become self-fulfilling prophecies undermining their achievement, aspirations, and well-being. However, the college admission process offers an intervention opportunity to help these students tell a different story—their story. In this paper, the author presents an analysis of the threats and opportunities inherent in the college-admission process and a literature review on topics aligned to three pillars—beliefs, belonging, and becoming. The paper concludes with the application plan for an intervention that leverages the college admission essay and essay-writing process to reframe beliefs and shape positive personal narratives. Inspired by research from narrative psychology, social psychology, and positive psychology, OurStory challenges dominant deficit narratives and aims to improve academic outcomes, college matriculation rates, and adolescent flourishing and well-being.


adolescent well-being, African American youth, college admission essay, critical counternarrative, growth mindset intervention, personal narrative, positive psychology intervention, positive youth development, social belonging, storytelling, wise interventions




Literature Review



Date Posted: 16 November 2022