Original College Admission Essays

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This is perhaps one of the most common questions we get from students deciding on college.

Most colleges round the global world require students to write a college admission essay stating why they’ve been thinking about joining the institution. The reason being you can’t use a general way of writing this particular essay.

Either way, though, they're all good for a laugh — and a few of them might even teach you something. Check out some of essay prompts from this year's app: You may already be familiar with this one, but for the curious, here's the story behind it: Humorist, writer, and musician Hugh Gallagher penned the glorious satiric creation excerpted here for Scholastic Press' national writing contest when he was in high school. For some years, there was confusion surrounding whether or not he actually used it as his college essay; in 1998, though, Gallagher emailed University of York comp sci professor Susan Stepney, who had posted the essay on her website, noting that he did in fact send it along with his applications. Here's the permalink for the full comment — it's worth just for the final line. I was unable to discern whether or not this one actually happened or whether it's just an urban legend — but I'm willing to bet it's the latter. I feel like maybe the right person might have been able to make this idea work, but the execution of the idea this time around just wasn't up to par.

Full steam ahead for a wide variety of lessons in what to do while writing your college application essays — and what not to do, too. Either way, though, I think it's a terrible way to try to teach the “think outside the box” lesson; I feel like it encourages laziness more than anything else. Here's the thing with writing humorous college application essays: They only work if you're actually… However, this also happened: To be fair, I'm not totally sure what's to be gained by sending your own obituary as a college essay; unless the prompt was something like, “Write whatever you want, as long as it is at least 500 words long,” it doesn't seem like it would really answer any questions the admissions committee might be relying on the essay to fill them in about.

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.

You've got a great future ahead of you, kid — even if you do need a little work with your punctuation and grammar.

We’ve never written about this essay on our college admissions blog before. If one were to ask us what is the most famous college essay ever written, we know the answer hands down. Also, this essay is kind of mocking the entire college admissions process.

I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. 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.

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