1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email

College Application Essay

By

Netlore Archive: Circulating via email and social media, the most outrageous 'college application essay' ever written.

Description: Satire / Email hoax
Circulating since: 1990
Status: Not an actual application essay (see details below)

Example:
Email text contributed by Bruce G., June 25, 2000:

This is an actual essay written by a college applicant to NYU in response to this question:

3A. 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 with 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. 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 prize-winning 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.

(The author was accepted and is now attending NYU.)


Analysis: This satirical essay (or a version of it) was written in 1990 by high school student Hugh Gallagher, who entered it in the humor category of the Scholastic Writing Awards and won first prize. The text was then published in Literary Calvalcade, a magazine of contemporary student writing, and reprinted in Harper's and The Guardian before taking off as one of the most forwarded "viral" emails of the 1990s.

Though it was not Gallagher's actual college application essay, he did submit it as a sample of his work to college writing programs and was accepted, with scholarship, to New York University, from which he graduated in 1994. Since then he has worked as a freelance writer. His first novel, Teeth, was published by Pocket Books in March 1998.

See also: Urban Legends with a Punch Line

Sources and further reading:

A Star by Accident - Spoof Launches His Career
Newsday, 10 December 1992

You Probably Read His Essay for College, But Now 26, Gallagher Has Graduated to Writing Novel
Baltimore Sun, 15 March 1998

Current Hoaxes / Netlore
The Urban Legends Top 25

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.