Several very exceptional college admissions essays

One of the things American universities have and Finnish ones don’t are, apparently, admissions essays. Horrible self-congratulatory pieces you write to show the university that you are… uh, good in PR?

I’ve obviously never needed to write one (see: flippant attitude in the previous paragraph), and that is a good thing: I can’t even write “transition to manhood” or “positive impact” without biting at the inside of my face.

But — since the Internet is made for unsolicited advice — here are a couple of tries. Feel free to use them, and report on results.


Dear Admissions Board of the (name here) University,

Why am I writing an essay for a board? If it’s for cutting onions or something this essay won’t be good for it; it’ll get all cut up and everything. That’s why you use a board in the first place.




Dear Admissions Board of (universityname),

I have a lot of experience with boards. I have a skate board and a hover board and a board for playing chess on.

I look forward to either standing on you or playing with you, depending on what you want.

expectantly yours,

(firstname lastname)


Dear University Admissions Board,

You certainly are dear. In fact I don’t think I can afford you.

I don’t even know if I want to. I mean, will a Master’s degree get me a job, or is it just a paper?

Do I want to hang around with the sort of rich folks who can afford you? I don’t think they’re a good example for someone wanting to be a decent person.

What if being a douche is contagious? I don’t have the means to be such a douche as the rich kids.

I don’t know why I’m writing this.

Maybe because you’re the admissions board, and I needed to get this off my chest.

yours in confusion,

(names here)


Dear Board,

“Essay” is a strange word. I looked it up online, and it originally was a verb meaning something like “testing the quality of”. (I’m pretty sure a big printed dictionary would have the same origin.)

It’s funny that you use this piece of fiction for it. Do you realize I could make up all kinds of meaningful, touching encounters and honest life lessons and tough overcome circumstances, and you would never know? Not unless I was dumb enough to plagiarize 127 Hours or something. You have my CV I think, but you don’t get certificates for looking into the sunset with your father.

What are you testing for, then? My ability to lie smoothly, to choose the kind of lies that both appeal to you, dear Board, and are so glib no accident or checker can disprove them? Rest easy; I’m not going to claim myself a 9/11 orphan; I gather that would not be a good bluff.

In fact, how do you even know it’s me writing this? Maybe my dad hired an ex-Nixon speechwriter to polish his spawn’s lettery turds? Maybe I just sign my name to the bottom of this paper and that was my whole input into it; it’s not like you can check for that either, if I’m at least passably competent. If my essay’s implausibly good, hey, admit me, I’m a genius! (If it’s not good enough, I’ve probably brokered a money-back deal, or the next essay for free.)

Then there’s the chance that this essay might “work”, too, if you are as annoyed by the essay system as I am; if this catches you at the end of an irritating day, and you’re feeling like rewarding a young one for… chutzpah, I guess. I would say arrogance, but that doesn’t sound as good. Except that as I’ve made this too explicit, you’re not going to do that; I’ve been too clever. Unless I’ve been so clever that I know you’re cursing this essay-writer’s dickishness and unwillingness to play by the rules, and swearing this kind of meta-trickery will never work…

…or will it?

I wish to be yours,

N. N.


Dear Admissions Board of the Grand Poobah University of Misneforhiork

Admit it: You want me.



Dear Admissions,

I am a bear.

I literally am a bear.

I literally am the animal, bear. A grizzly bear.

As a result of a mix-up at our local Bureau of Birth Certificates and Pet Permits, I am an American citizen, nineteen years of age, and twelve hundred pounds of carnivorous grizzly bear. My extensive entertainment industry CV is attached.

You could be the first university in the nation to award a degree to a bear. You would be in every news outlet there is!

Or you could be the first instance of the headline, “Denied college applicant devours admissions board, sinks knife-sized incisors into head’s head [VIDEO+PICS]”.

The ball is in your court. Its resemblance to a bite-severed human head is entirely coincidental.

I have received some help from my caretaker, Mr. Wroth Tucker, for the writing of this letter.


“Mr. Clawmaster”


Dear Admissions Office,

The publicity materials of your university refer to it as a “place for life, not just for studies”.


Just not for studies.


Da Da Da


University Admissions Heads,

You are feeling very sleepy. Very sleepy.

You will not do anything contrary to your basic moral core, but you feel kindlily predisposed towards this application. You remain aware, and you can change your mind at any time. You are merely entertaining a fantasy of falling deeper and deeper into a suggestive state.

Admit this applicant.

Tick that box.

Admit this applicant.

Tick that box.

Admit this applicant.

You are slowly rising. You feel refreshed and happy. So very, very happy. As you read this paragraph, you come fully awake, put this letter aside, and remember nothing of it. You are satisfied with your work and feel no desire to check the list of those accepted, not today, not ever. You are happy, and content with your sex life.



Name Q. Surname


To: The admissions office

Title: Essay (applicant number 123 456)


My father was a great man. He was almost seven feet tall, and wide too. We went fishing together, hunting together, on truck joyrides through the town together, horn blaring, laughing, transmitting his manhood and my phase transformation from a mewling boy to a man with the angry squeals of the car’s audio equipment.

Maybe we were too loud; but we were alive, and isn’t that what life is all about? Maybe we were distracted, but I tell you she was to blame, walking in the middle of the street like that. And there was nothing to be done later, except to learn the harsh lessons of life and improve ourselves thereby.

The one lesson I was privileged to learn from my father was this: you can’t fix dead. You can fix an arm, you can fix a dog, you can fix a bathtube full of money to come; but you can’t fix dead.

Due to my father’s unjust incarceration, I come from impoverished circumstances. I urgently need to move town before the sheriff starts wondering where I get my paychecks from.


Name P. Namename

PS. I am great with chemistry, but unfortunately not the sort you get a certificate for. I’m attaching my dad’s rap sheet, pages 4–5, “Narcotics: Dealing and Manufacture”, but I am not admitting anything. That’s your job.


Deer Admissions Office,

Wait, shit, I meant to write “dear” but I have a problem with emotions.

Dear Admissions Office, you sweet little thing,

You see what I mean? I know the form of address that will result in a proper essay, but it is peculiar — that’s why I start with this sort of an introduction. Otherwise I look peculiar. Do not think I like this sort of business. No. I hate it.

It makes me angry.





i am sorry.

I’ll stop now.


Names Morenames


Dear Admissions,

You know how your university is run by a shadowy cabal of powerful donors and rich, influential former students? People you do not want to annoy, or you will face their terrible, disproportionate and indiscriminate vengeance?

It would be grossly unethical of me to mention any of my familial relations at this point, so I won’t.

(I took a different surname and have been living kind of incognito lately, because the stress of a solid-gold life and all that. Do not try to track my lineage, or the vengeance will be endless and harsh.)

(No, really, don’t look. I am of a rich and powerful ilk! Deny me at your own risk! I would say this if I was trying to influence you unethically, which I am not, and this essay is a privileged and private communication, plus the police? Also paid for, in perfectly legal aboveboard donations.)

(Do not deny me, if you value your continued non-crushing ‘neath the iron boot of the superrich! I heard that in a movie once.)

I am looking forward to your letter of acceptance.


N. N.


Dear Admissions Office,

What is life? What do we live for? Money or fame? Maybe the pleasures of flesh, or those of the mind? Maybe piety, the service of something greater than ourselves?


We live to live.

Life is its own purpose. Life defends itself to defend itself. Life lives to live. There is nothing else.

Is life, to use a metaphor, just a bowl of cherries? Maybe, but those cherries have their stems, which as a university profiled for its excellence in the STEM fields you surely know. Cherries are red, too, red like the lips of your mother, sleeping in the moonlight.

The Moon is lit by reflected sunlight. This too is a solid STEM fact, and one expressed by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan. Your mother in the moonlight is a marriage of biology and cosmology. Is your mother then a polygamist? Do I cast aspersions on your ancestry? What of it, if these be facts?

You cannot sue the Moon, but Neil Armstrong jaywalked on the Moon. He moonwalked on the Moon. Maybe Michael Jackson was a Neil Armstrong… walking on the Earth.


John Q. Philosophical


Dear Admissions Office,

Go Sun Bears!

I hear Sun Bears (GO BEARS!) are the best team in their sport. I am a great fan of sport! And I am a much bigger fan of Sun Bears (Go! Go! Go!) and it would not be exaggeration to say I am their biggest fan. I am 7 ft tall and weight 400 pounds.

I think college sports are important, because supporting them shows your dedication to slavishly adoring whatever symbols your college leadership offers you. Why if the Sun Bears (Go! Go!) were replaced by a fetid hole in the ground, I would still buy season tickets, scarves, hats, college shirts and other apparels in maximum amounts to show my support for the hole in the ground (Go Hole! Go Hole Go!) and, by this proxy, for the university administration and brand management.

Go Sun Bears!


N. N.


Dear Admissions Board,

I have attached an ancient tome of prophecies, passed down in my family for centuries. I refer you to p. 55, “Around 2012–5, a Descendant will come to the place of learning”. I trust you see the similarity between the demonic seal of Ba’al’solomon illustrated next to the text, and your university logo.

I have come, as prophesied.

I refer you next to the bottom of the page, viz., “And for those who bar the Descendant’s way, I foresee an endless fire among the minions of the Beast”.

For the sake of your immortal souls, admit me.


Bla Q. Bla

PS. Since the seal is (admittedly) a bit abstract, I’ve sent similar applications to Harvard, Yale, and New Mexico School of Dentistry. I am pretty sure eternal damnation will not fall on those who deny me where I was not meant to go, but I’m not quite sure yet, I’m considering my options.


Related: My personal statements, which I’ve also never needed to use for anything; and as an actually competent and not-only-humoristic example of this sort of a thing, Overqualified by Joey Comeau.

One Response to “Several very exceptional college admissions essays”

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