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Essay #1: Why Have You Chosen to Write this Application?
Because once you’ve finally, actually gotten into college, the first thing on your mind is running that gauntlet all over again.
I think there’s something to that, though. When I finished AP European History, which was the first AP class I ever took and is still considered by myself and my classmates our “baptism by fire,” I didn’t want to throw the books away. I suggested that our class get together to burn them, but that just seemed wasteful. And possibly a little over-the-top.
The more I thought about it, the gladder I was not to have sacrificed my awkwardly paperbound companion to the flames. I kept it on my bookshelf as a point of pride, and every so often I’d remember a piece of trivia relating to the Habsburg dynasty and I’d pull the textbook off the shelf to get the specifics.
I think a lot of it was just a feeling of pride at having sifted through all of that information and somehow having reached a level of knowledge on the subject that standardized tests rated “well qualified.” And possibly most importantly, now I could take that book down from the shelf and just read it for pleasure (or at least, I could idealize my ability to act on that motivation), without the sense of a looming deadline or assessment. It was cathartic, in a way. I was taking ownership of the information and releasing myself from enslavement to it, subverting the previous balance of my relationship with the history of Western society.
So I guess that’s why this is fun. Writing a college application in retrospect means being able to make light of past situations that may have been uncomfortable. And that’s an important step in the growing process. It means I have perspective, maybe. Well, at least enough perspective to revisit what once was an incredibly stressful time in my life and reassign those stimuli to more lighthearted contexts, possibly symbolically letting go of that stress and becoming a person better equipped to deal with college and adult life as a whole.
Or maybe I’m just screwing around. But, as I’ve learned to stress less about life in general, I’ve learned that there’s merit in screwing around, too.
Essay #2: Describe Some of Your Interests and How You Would Use Them to Contribute Positively to the College Community.
I’m interested in getting into college. I’m also interested in finishing college with the required number of credits in a given concentration to satisfy a degree program that I’m not entirely sure of but that will hopefully provide a buffer against homelessness. I’m very interested in getting a paying job fairly soon after I graduate, and working at a paying job until I die.
At some point along the way I am interested in developing “interests,” other than those listed here. None of these interests would have any place on a professional resume, but I expect them to develop a personal significance to me even though I won’t pursue them as careers because they don’t align with my interest in a paying job.
I can use my interests to contribute to the community of others with similar interests, because I’ll be able to commiserate with them about how distasteful all of our interests are.
Okay. I honestly am interested in people. That’s why I want to get to know them through classes and extracurriculars. That’s why I’m majoring in psychology, to understand their stories, and filmmaking, to tell them. That’s why I’m writing this application in retrospect, so they can see that everything you go through in life, you come out the other side with a wider and more mirthful perspective on. Mirth and girth. That’s what you gain. That’s what I want to gain. That’s what I’m interested in, and that’s what I want to bring to the community.
- Decided to apply to college. That’s not something everyone even has the courage or resources or support to do.
- Opened this application and wasn’t totally daunted by all the information I had to fill in. I didn’t even know there was this much information about me.
- Graduated high school. College is just another four years, right? With more freedom? (Since this is written in hindsight, I can answer that question: yes. With more freedom and different laws of physics that allow time to go faster than you’d believe.)
- Did at least a minimal amount of research on colleges – and on myself. What am I interested in? What can colleges offer me? What kind of experience do I really want to have, and how can I make sure not to idealize either myself or my college on the way to making that happen?
- No, seriously, I was way more adult about this whole process than I’ve ever given myself credit for. The introspection! The foresight! The humanity! The mistakes. The oversights. The underestimations. All of it. It was trial and error, and getting accepted to college was just the beginning of my journey into Figuring Things Out For Myself.
Standardized Test Scores
AP English Lit: Will never matter again in your life.
AP Euro: Will never matter again in your life.
AP Calculus: Please stop putting this stuff on your resume.
AP Psychology: Seriously, grow up.
AP Environmental Science: You will do so many bigger and better things than taking this test.
AP English Language: Congratulations, you comped out of about three credits, if you’re lucky.
AP Chemistry: Nitric Oxide.
SAT: Seriously please never mention this after you graduate high school. The only 8-0-0 you’ll ever need to worry about again is the time of your 8am class.
Anything Else You Think We Need To Know?
It’s not that all of these experiences are meaningless. These efforts, these quantifiable achievements, the hours spent racking them all up. They were important. But they won’t be forever. They’re destined to be forgotten. They did, however, equip me to create something that won’t be.
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