There’s an article in “The New York Times” entitled “Naked Confessions of the College-Bound” written by Frank Bruni that we figured we’d bring to the attention of our loyal readers. In the piece, Bruni writes about how college applicants these days are more likely than ever to write completely inappropriate things in their college admissions essays in the desperate hope of standing out. If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that we help our students stand out from the pack in the highly selective college admissions process and we offer advice on our blog on how to do just that (although we never give away our best tips as that is reserved for clients). But standing out for the sole sake of standing out is not the way to go.
Writing about urinating in your pants while speaking to a teacher to demonstrate that you are fully committed to learning — more so than taking care of your bodily needs…this isn’t appropriate for a college admissions essay. Neither is writing about your dating life. The fact that Robbie is really hot and has big pecs, a sick six-pack, and biceps to die for — that will lead to automatic rejection. Irrespective of your perfect grades and perfect scores. Admissions officers at highly selective colleges just don’t care about Robbie’s pectoral muscles. Hate to break it to you.
And how about writing about that time that you smoked marijuana for the first time and realized it wasn’t for you? No! You can’t be serious. Writing about doing illegal things is a really bad idea. And yet as logical as this seems to us, every now and then we read an essay about a student doing something illegal. These essays are typically framed with the cliche point of how the student learned from his or her mistakes. Hey, we all learn from our mistakes in life. Making mistakes is a huge part of life. But that doesn’t mean you should be writing about these particular kinds of mistakes in your college admissions essays. As Nancy Reagan would say, “Just Say No.”