“I’ve seen two essays written by parents. Not just essays where you could tell from the writing that it was written by an adult, but essays by mothers written in first person about their sons.
Needless to say, neither got in – and one probably would have otherwise since he had the grades.”
“My sister wrote her MIT essay about how she games a large department store’s pricing inconsistencies to turn a profit. (Buy on sale, return at regular price, etc.) She had a pretty complicated system going.
She essentially wrote about how she steals from department stores.
She got in.”
“I got accepted into Cornell University by writing an essay about how much I hate Cilantro.”
“I used to be an administrator in an admissions office and would read applications before passing them on to the people who make the actual decisions. My favourites included:
Someone’s personal statement that said “I think so far outside the box, there is no box.”
The person that included a copy of their Pleasure Boat driving licence.
The “Prince of Maths” who included a 45 minute DVD of himself solving equations interspersed with dance routines.
The guy that submitted his personal statement showing the tracked changes, including comments such as “THEY CAN NEVER SAY NO TO YOU” and “Summon the Tiger within.”
“My friend wrote one about how he invented penicillin. He got accepted…”
“I processed applications for a grad school admissions office when I first started working at my university, and until a few years ago a lot of paper application materials were still being mailed in so I opened some doozies.
Math Ph.D. applicant’s essay literally said “I LIKE MATH” in red crayon. I think he figured his 4.0 GPA and awesome GRE quant score was all he needed. He didn’t get in.
International applicant sent in a photo of them conducting a military band in a chicken suit. I have no clue why. It went up on the Wall of WTF in our office.”
“I had a student tell me she was applying because it was her dream to study under Professor Emeritus. She had read all of his papers and follower Prof Emeritus’ work for years. She asked me if he preferred to be addressed as Dr. Emeritus.”
“My friend worked admissions for a fairly prestigious school. He once got an essay from a brony about his love of My Little Pony. Kid had great grades and had extracurriculars but didn’t get in because of that essay.”
“So a few days ago, someone from the CSU system came to my high school to talk about essays. One example was a girl who apparently decided her topic was on a Korean boy band.
Or more specifically, how obsessed she was with it.
She pulled all-nighters to make some fan-website that became popular to the point of the band noticing, went as far as to learn Korean because screw english translations, and said that despite seeming really crazy, it was proof that she was very dedicated to whatever she did.
The admission guy said he approved her.”
“My aunt works in college admissions, and complains about the kids who attach ‘bribe money’– usually a $5 or a $20, sometimes jokingly, sometimes serious. She said she rejects those applications without looking at them.
She also complains about the helicopter parents who call in and want exact detail on their kid’s admission status, how well the application looked, what they thought of the essay, etc.”
“My essay was so awful that my principal got mad at me for disrespecting the school.
Edit: I’m not going to post it because I don’t want someone from my school to identify me.”
“I am not an applicant. I am an appli-CAN.”
“For my essay for the university of Chicago I explained that I really didn’t feel like writing an essay about anything they asked me to write about and so I was just going to write short answers instead. I then wrote really sarcastic answers to each of them, and didn’t even answer one. I got in.”
“Once had someone write their essay about beans, and all the ways they loved to cook them. He went through each day of the week and talked about each days bean dish. It was sort of creepy. He did have a pretty good bean dip recipe though.
The applicants name? Elbert Ainstein.”
“A girl who applied to Duke was so nervous about her application that she had 87 letters of recommendation along with her application. She didn’t get in.”