Successful College Essays Ivy League

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The essay isn’t your typical exercise in academic humblebragging or lofty save-the-world aspiration: It’s a nostalgic, free-form musing on the joys of shopping at Costco with her mom.

And while it shows a young essayist’s tendency to overwrite (the Achilles heel of some of us older wordsmiths as well), it also provides insight into a mind that takes creative risks and thinks with expansive originality.

My mother’s eyes widened in horror as I jettisoned my churro; the cinnamon-­sugar rocket gracefully sliced its way through the air while I continued my spree.

I sprinted through the aisles, looking up in awe at the massive bulk products that towered over me.

Many have found it charming and compelling, while others have attacked it as an example of the antics holistic admissions practices encourage among applicants hoping to stand out.

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The truth is, these two opinions aren’t mutually exclusive.

I don’t know if many applicants usually explore the mundane in their essays—that seems to have taken a lot of people by surprise.

I thought that this essay was a genuine representation of myself: I’m a sarcastic, dorky weirdo with a passion for science and I tried to demonstrate that I’m the kind of person who finds meaning in seemingly ordinary things.”Which might well be the perfect summary of the college experience: It’s a chapter in life during which young people go off to find meaning in seemingly ordinary things—most particularly, in other people.

Coming as it does in the thick of a heated debate over “holistic” evaluation standards at elite colleges—admissions practices that extend beyond comparing grades and scores to include assessments of character and the impact of background and cultural identity on a student’s academic journey—Stinson’s essay has generated a whirling array of reactions.

After being posted on Business Insider last week, her essay was read over a million times and shared many thousands more on social media.


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