This is an actual essay written by a college applicant. The author,
Hugh Gallagher, now attends NYU.
3A. ESSAY: IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO
KNOW YOU, THE APPLICANT, BETTER, WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING
QUESTION: ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD, OR
ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE REALIZED, THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I
have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making
them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic
slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time
efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.
I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot
bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook
Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a
veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.
Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly
defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious
army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the
subject of numerous documentaries. When I am bored, I build large
suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On
Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie.
Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.
I do not perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I
have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last
summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force
demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me
fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.
I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy.
I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day
and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I
know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have
performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week;
when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I
successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a
small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.
I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On
weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami.
Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.
I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a
toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San
Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the
Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and
I have spoken with Elvis.
But I have not yet gone to college.