College Admission Essays

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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