I still cringe at the creative use of grammar in my college essay for Boston University. I think the odd topic I chose — time travel –got me in, but the memory still pains me.
That’s why I experience a bit of Schadenfreude whenever I read stories about bizarre college entrance applications or interviews. Makes me feel not so pathetic.
Here’s a batch from The New York Times‘ blog The Choice:
The prop guy (who still got in):
Mark Hatch was reading applications for Bates College in Maine one weekend a few years ago when he became intrigued by a student’s essay about fishing. Turning the page, Mr. Hatch felt a sharp pain — and realized that the student had attached an actual hook. After a trip to the emergency room and several stitches, Mr. Hatch finished reading the essay.
The helicopter parent:
The University of South Carolina noticed that a boy had plagiarized a speech by Senator John McCain. The father protested, saying his secretary had typed all the essays and put them into the electronic application, so the boy should not be penalized.
The Halloween interviewee:
Take a look at the waiting room at the admissions office of Gettysburg College. Several times a year, applicants show up dressed for Civil War re-enactments because they assume the college is obsessed with the war.
The lax proof-reader:
The staff of Stevenson College in Maryland was moved by a student’s memories of being a Big Brother, even though he repeatedly spelled it “Big Bother.” Barnard College was puzzled by an applicant who kept referring to her enthusiasm for the “Peace Core.”
And my two favorites, straight from the Ouch-I-Submitted-the-Rough-Draft department:
Another sent in an application with a yellow sticky note that said, “Mom, what do you think about this answer?” Oooops. And a third, responding to the question that asked why she was interested in Barnard, forgot to polish her answer. “Insert stuff from viewbook, blah, blah, blah,” she wrote.