What I Wish I Could Say In My College Applications

October 22, 2011
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This is supposed to be the most charming essay of my life. Oh, yes, it’s supposed to charm you enough that you’ll read it once and then jump into the air, crying, “Oh! What lovely prose and clever metaphors! Yes, we absolutely must make sure she attends our school this fall!”
I’m sorry. I’m apologizing preemptively. I don’t know how to write an essay like that.
I mean, there are a lot of things I know how to do. I can play the violin, for instance. I can sing reasonably well, I am a prolific knitter, a dedicated student, a creative photographer. But if this essay doesn’t knock you straight out of your shoes, well. I did warn you.
Here’s why: I’m not particularly unique; at least, not in the way that would help me get into college, at all. I haven’t lived in a tiny fishing town off the coast of Madagascar, I don’t know what it’s like to board myself up in the basement as a tornado whips overhead, and I can’t tell you about life with an alcoholic mother and a father who left home when I was two. I am normal; I am average and suburban and middle-class.
So, again, sorry.
It’s not as though I have nothing going for me, though. I’m a very good student. I write (a lot), and I’m good at it. I’m a decent public speaker, I love music and foreign cultures and I absolutely cannot stand grammar mistakes. I’m meticulous in my work and I learn quickly, take instruction well, and I never, never procrastinate. I’m happiest when busy, so I’ll always be involved.
But that probably won’t convince you, will it? You’re probably still sitting there, reading my essay, thinking “Oh, how terribly average. At best we can put her on the wait list.”
Well, you know what?
I don’t really care. I’m going to be somewhere that will make me happy. I know it, I can feel it. So if you don’t want me to attend your school, dear admissions officer, well.
Your loss.

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