I’ve done it. I’ve finally made peace with the college application process. Yale or not, I can enjoy myself and find a great research lab and sing a cappella and dance on rooftops and meet daring, curious, incredible individuals. These things can be found everywhere; these people are everywhere. My intellect and my attitude are the sole predictors of my life’s value. Not a college decision. Not some arbitrary red stamp pounded by some stranger onto some file that unsuccessfully attempts to encompass my character and my achievements in the span of five pages. It’s ridiculous for me, or for anyone else, to interpret the events of the next few months as a measure of personal worth. It’s easy to try to quantify a human being. That’s why we love doing it so much. But every time, every single time, we will be wrong. People are not grades. People are not awards. People are not resumes. People are people. I am a person.
December 14th, you are not the apocalypse. You are the same December 14th as last year, and the year before.
Common App Essays 2013-2014
Hello Juniors! Common App has revamped their essays…
• Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
• Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
• Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
• Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
• Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
This is an essay written by a college applicant to NYU. The author was accepted.
3A. IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO KNOW YOU, THE APPLICANT, BETTER, WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD, OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE REALIZED, THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A PERSON?
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.
Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie.
Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat 400.
My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.
I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy.
I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.
I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin.
I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.
But I have not yet gone to college.
My College Decisions
In chronological order…
University of Texas at Austin, College of Natural Sciences: Accepted
Plan II Honors: Accepted
Health Science Honors: Accepted
University of Florida: Accepted with Gator Nation Scholarship
Washington University: Waitlisted
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Rejected
University of Chicago: Waitlisted
Rice University: Accepted as Rice University Century Scholar and Trustee Distinguished Scholarship
Duke University: Accepted
Columbia: Accepted as John Jay Scholar
Monster University: will apply for graduate school in four years
Sometimes, I just feel like I’m going to explode. There’s so much pressure to succeed to do well to do good and make something out of your life. Don’t get me wrong that should be everyone’s goal, but truthfully I often feel like I’m terrified of failing, so scared of not doing good enough, good enough for who??? I’m not sure. I just know that I don’t want to fail, don’t want to fall behind, and cant ever make it seem like I’m settling…I think the hardest part is that the competition never stops, there’s always more to go for, always more to achieve…but it has to be acceptable to stop sometime? Right??? Or is it expected that we just keep going, just keep trying until one day we simply burn out, simply implode as we reach a point where we can’t physically do anymore.