College applicant tries to be frank — with bad results

December 7, 2017 — by Anonymous

The college application process can be a fantastic way to lower your self-esteem. What better way to pinpoint your shortcomings than by writing 650-word essays describing the perfect student you wished you were? It’s time to let down the facade. The following examples are my honest responses to essay prompts.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? (Common App)

One time, I ate a whole pack of wasabi for a dollar. I ended up rolling on the floor with burning eyes and runny nose for at least five minutes. I experimented. And then I learned. Is that enough of an epic failure to teach me a lesson? Yes … but I’ll still take the dollar, so who knows?


What would be your hashtag? (Chapman University)



What is your favorite fiction or nonfiction work? Why? (Emory University)

“Hamlet”: it is a play on the futility of avoiding the painful death we must all face in our destiny. Kind of like how I feel every Monday morning.


In 150 words or fewer, please list a few words or phrases that describe your ideal college community. (Columbia University)

The ideal college community is quite simple: it’s Columbia University. But honestly anywhere I’m accepted is good enough at this point.


Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you. (Princeton University)

Stressed. Time-crunching.


You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (Yale University)

101 Steps on How to Get a Life. Granted, the course would be in a flipped-classroom setting — in that it is the students who would teach me.


We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it. (100 words or fewer)

Study. Just kidding, it’s … yeah, that’s basically all I’ve done with my life. Or video games.


Dream job? (USC)

I want to work as a painter who travels the world looking for the next natural beauty to immortalize on a canvas — but as my parents aptly put, “You would only enjoy that job until you end up on the streets.”

If it’s a more stable-income job that I must have, then I suppose computer science, the stereotypical Asian job, will be fine. Although, thinking back, that would be more of a nightmare job, so who knows?

If I have to balance the two, I suppose environmental policy is the only way: It preserves natural beauty while also being paid handsomely, right? … Right?


How did you spend your last two summers? Response required in about 50 words. (Stanford University)

I slept.


Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. (Common App)

This is a pretty serious issue, and I have thought on the topic for 10 years: How do I get good grades? The greatest intellectual challenge to face me to this date is simply the fact that there are no facts when it comes to getting good grades except that I can’t.

I’ve done everything I could; I’ve researched on the best studying habits, gone to myriad tutorials for help from teachers and prayed like it was Armageddon — just like the college application process is — but the only takeaway from all of my efforts is that there simply is no solution. I’m doomed. Sad emoji.

But perhaps it’s not about what I write about that colleges look at; maybe it’s how I write, and how I portray myself as accurately as possible. Perhaps it doesn’t matter if I can’t get good grades — that’s a lie I use to cry myself to sleep — what matters is that I learned and I grew from my mistakes, and I am now a better person because of my experiences.

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