What Not to Write in College Essays

Bad College Essays, Bad Admissions Essays, What Not to Write in Admissions Essays

“Bustle” has a great piece on things college applicants have written about in college essays — things they never should have ever written about. Like losing one’s virginity. Oy!

There is an article up on “Bustle” by Rebecca Jane Stokes entitled “17 College Admissions Officers Share The Craziest Things They’ve Seen on Applications” that we figured we’d share with our readers. We love these kinds of articles. They’re always filled with salacious stories. And we blog about college admissions every day, so we’ve got to keep things interesting, right? If only for our own sake! So anyhow, let’s cut to them juicy tales from admissions…

According to the piece, One admissions officer commented: “I got a handful of kids each year writing their college essays on losing their virginity. Always cringeworthy.” We’d say so! Why would a high schooler ever think to write about losing his or her virginity? That’s entirely too personal and inappropriate. Many students choose to lose their virginity in high school. But that doesn’t mean that Harvard is going to admit them for doing so. So why on earth would a student spend the valuable real estate of the Common Application Personal Statement discussing such? Oy vey.

Here’s another tidbit from an admissions officer quoted in the piece: “There was one applicant I remember who turned in an admission essay detailing his time as a clandestine operative for the CIA and informing us that he was the guy who invented the M16 rifle. The second was easily researchable on the internet (seriously, did he not think we’d Google that?) and the first…well…yeah.” First of all, if this applicant really was a clandestine operative for the CIA, then why on earth has he or she shared this to colleges? This person clearly cannot be trusted. But, of course, this person was not really a clandestine operative for the CIA nor did this person invent the M16 rifle. Did this person really think making a mockery of the college admissions process — and lying — would lead to admission? Oy vey.

Another admissions officer wrote in: “Got a little scared of a kid who wrote an essay about someone’s murder. Never figured out if it was a personal story or a work of fiction.” Holy cow. Do you really think that a university would ever consider a student who writes such an essay? Even if the student has perfect grades and perfect test scores, this is the kind of Personal Statement that will do the applicant in. Don’t murder people. And don’t write about such murders in college essays. But, mostly, don’t murder people.

You know, we’re having quite a lot of fun dissecting such ridiculous college essays so we’re going to return to this discussion tomorrow. Stay tuned.


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