The College Admission Essay Experience: How I Survived And Thrived

I have always considered myself a fairly ambitious individual, someone who thrived in the scholastic environment and actually enjoyed writing papers and reading books. So when I approached the college admissions process, I was fairly confident. I was the first to get my recommendation letters, the first to mail my transcripts, the first fill out my applications. As I flipped through the application to my dream school, I came to the college admission essay page. As my eyes scanned the several offered prompts, I began to get anxious. They were all incredibly open-ended and seemed to invite torrents of shameless self promotion. I was terrified.
I put off the writing my college admission essay until the very last minute. Instead, I filled up my time with the easier albeit time consuming tasks of filling out mundane familial information and grade point averages. Finally, after a long bout of procrastination, I realized that there was nothing left to do beside those dreaded essays. And so, with a grim sense of fortitude I turned to the intimidating task of pouring the ideal version of myself out on a dinky sheet of paper. I had no clue about how to begin these seemingly mammoth tasks, so I decided to try and do a free write based around the topic. I began with the first word that came into my head and let it fly. Honestly, I had no idea what I was actually typing; the words just splayed themselves across the computer screen. When I had reached the set word count limit, I fearfully scrolled back up the page to read what I had written. Oddly enough, the college admission essay was surprisingly fluid. Of course, the speed at which I composed it warranted its share of spelling and grammatical mistakes, which could be easily fixed, but the overall picture the essay presented was surprisingly congruent with my own personality and life experience.

The thing that stood out the most to me about the college admission essay I had written was that it didn’t really sound like an “#essay.” It came across more as a piece of creative writing, something distinct and non-academic. In a sense, this quality made me nervous. I was worried that the admissions committee would deem me provincial and unintelligent. However, I remembered all the advice that my college admission counselors had given me on writing a college admission essay, and how they kept stressing just how important it is to be unique and individual. Their rather redundant mantra had been “Don’t try to impress!” Even though I had intrinsically rejected it at the time, in retrospect it makes complete sense. So, after multiple scores of editing, both by myself, my father, my mother, my brother, my teachers (I was tempted to ask my border collie…) I sealed the entire package, and ever so slowly plopped it in the mail box.

Several months later, I received the telltale large package in the mail with my dream school’s emblem emblazoned across the front. I slowly tore the top away, pulled the top sheet out and saw the only word I needed: “Congratulations!” Various embarrassing noises and spastic celebratory movements ensued. Who would have thought that an essay comparing myself to a crème brulee would have gotten me into a prestigious university? The moral of the story you ask? Well, besides the obviously magical power of that particular dessert, I believe it has a little something to do with not censoring your fundamental self.


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