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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 PERSON?
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'm bored, I build large
suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays,
after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie.
Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I
don't 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
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.