College Admission Essays :
Misty M. Haberer – Temple – Texas
At first Misty was stumped on what to write about for her essay. After
quizzing her friends about their essay topics, she realized that inspiration
needed to come from herself. “I wasn’t them and I was only myself,”
she says. A graduate of Temple High School, Misty was a National Merit
Finalist, captain of the school’s dance/drill team and violinist in the
orchestra. Fluent in French, she hopes to teach foreign language. Misty
wrote this essay to first gain admission to Southern Methodist University
as a freshman and then to transfer to Southwestern University.
The Great Search - Southwestern University
It seems that there should be a better inspiration for attempting a well written,
succinct college application essay than bathroom towels. Life is full
of surprises! I puzzled for several weeks over how to objectively and unobtrusively
make myself look like Superwoman in 500 words or less to the
people who have control over my course of action for the next four years.
Hoping to smash the writer’s block, I turned to my friends.
One had written a pity-inducing narrative of her 2,000-mile trek to a new
state and the resulting rise in confidence and self-esteem at a new high
school. Having lived in the same house for the better part of my life, this
would not work for me. There was the girl who, sitting in detention for
breaking the dress code, wrote a scathing criticism of the bureaucracy of
the American school system. This wouldn’t do either, since I have a rather
consistent habit (good or bad, depending on how you look at it) of respecting
even the most arbitrary of rules. Next in The Great Search came my
feminist friend who wrote a victorious expository on becoming the first female
member of Temple High School’s Key Club. Despite being a pro-gender-
equality, quasi-feminist, I quite honestly didn’t care whether Shannon
Faulkner was accepted into the Citadel, so I couldn’t use that topic either.
Finally, in my effort to produce what admission teams deem an acceptable
essay, I uncovered the great inspiration of the bathroom towels. An Ivy
League-worthy friend, after noticing the basket of flowers design on her bathroom towels, wrote a brilliant essay comparing the intricacies of her
personality to an intricate yet unfinished woven basket. Pensively, I analyzed
this concept. I was convinced the secret to an incredible essay was
dangling from the wall in my bathroom. Rather pathetically, I actually went
home and stared at them. Unfortunately, my writing skills were not stimulated
by the solid burgundy towels hanging innocently from their hooks.
Panicking by this point because the essay was due in, yes, three days, I
recounted my Great Search to yet another friend. She laughed and said,
“Misty, instead of worrying over what to write, why don’t you write about
worrying over what to write?” The Great Search was over; the answer had
been found. I felt rather stupid that the answer had been so obvious. I suppose,
however, that is the “Essence of Misty.” I start out confused. Then I
worry. Panic sets in. Just in time, I discover the solution and I always get it
done. I am the driver who hates to be told where to go. I know where I’m
going, or at least claim to know, and although I have individualistic ways
of getting there it makes life more interesting. And, I am an individual. As
I have observed my peers over the last few years, I’ve noticed that daily life
has become a game of mirrors. Everyone is a reflection of someone else.
Soon the reflections become more important than the people themselves. I
refuse to mirror others, and my many idiosyncrasies prove it.
Paradoxically, I have managed to describe myself in an essay primarily
concerned with complaining about having to describe myself. From the
pity-inducing narrative, to the scathing criticism, to the victorious expository,
to the inspiration of the bathroom towels, that is how I objectively
and unobtrusively present myself to you.
Why This Essay Succeeded
Believe it or not, writing about the process of writing your college admission
essay is a popular topic. It may seem original to you, but trust
us: Thousands of other applicants are thinking the same. Fortunately,
Misty avoids the common pitfalls of this topic by revealing a lot about
herself in the essay. And she proves that any topic—no matter how
common—can be made original with the right approach.
If you insist on writing about the essay or any other part of the admission
process, follow Misty’s example. No, you don’t have to sit and
stare at your bathroom towels. Just be original and be yourself. That’s
what the exercise is all about.
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