This is an actual essay written by a college applicant. The author, Hugh Gallagher, now attends NYU.
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
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.