Posts Tagged ‘applications’
Hi, Jimmy. Please close the door.
I’ve been reviewing your essays for college admission, and we have a lot to discuss. As your guidance counselor, I feel a particular responsibility to make sure you have all the necessary information. But I’d like to begin by telling you what you might do differently.
You clearly are passionate about your opinions, and that comes through very well; colleges relish robust discussion of controversial issues. Where you would do well to alter your approach, however, is the whole subject of facts.
Facts, you see, are the lifeblood of real discourse – do you follow me, Jimmy? Good. It does not impress a college admissions board when an applicant asserts that Columbus should be credited with discovering America’s Funniest Home Videos. Nor that Hitler and Gandhi spent summers together in Vancouver. Or that the Titanic hit a giant iceberg lettuce. These are basic errors, Jimmy, errors you can avoid with just a little bit of fact-checking.
Yes, I know you feel pressured, Jimmy; who doesn’t? It can be a real challenge to complete these applications on top of all your regular school assignments and extracurricular activities. But that doesn’t excuse you from doing it right. Would the team coach say it’s OK for the quarterback not to make an effort to hit the open man because he’s got so much homework? Colleges don’t like to see applicants try to take an easy way out, and certainly not by inventing facts of their own.
Well, if that’s the case, Jimmy, you’re going to have to come to terms with something: playing video games and spending time on Facebook are not exactly “critical” activities. Leaving them out of your life for a little while will not result in your death or social impairment – somehow, the human race managed without either one for eons. I encourage you to see what happens when you disconnect the TV and Xbox in your room for a day or two.
As for the issue of facts, please do not plead ignorance. Wikipedia might not be the best source of information, but it is a very good starting point, so no one will object to looking things up there and using the source materials to which they refer. Oh, don’t look so surprised; celebrity bios are not the only thing it’s good for. This is called research, Jimmy, and colleges expect you to know how to do it. They don’t teach it to you; it’s one of the skills you were supposed to pick up during your time here, instead of, oh, figuring out the most offensive ways to misspell the principal’s name in bathroom stall graffiti.
I see we have an entitlement complex here. Jimmy, the world does not owe you admission to a school, be it a “party” school, as you seem to desire, or any other institution. The world owes you exactly nothing. This seems to offend you, as your parents have never disabused you of the notion that you can have the best of everything, with minimal or no effort on your part. The later you wake up to reality, the harder it will be to adjust. I suggest you do it now, before you finish college and discover that the world does not owe you a job, a good long-term relationship, well-behaved children, and physical or economic security.
Are you threatening me, Jimmy? That’s rich. If your father were as all-powerful as you think he is, we would not be sitting here reviewing your application; you wouldn’t need to complete it yourself. Your sense of entitlement seems to know no bounds. The truth, Jimmy, is that you can take my advice and do a bit of work, or keep doing things as you’ve always done them, and wind up as nothing more than a wannabe in a dead-end job, such as a high-school guidance counselor.
Please write a personal journal entry as if the date were Sept. 20, 2030. (St. Mary’s College, MD.)
It’s been a rough day, but no more than usual for a Thursday, I suppose. The air conditioner crapped out again, what with all the fuel shortages, and the smog making the solar panels all but useless. President bin Laden blames the smog and fuel shortages and pollution on the Zionists – as if there are any of those left. Whom does he think he’s kidding? It’s the Republicans we have to worry about. They’re the ones with their heads hopelessly stuck up their colons.
But I hate that my recent entries have focused so much on politics. I wish I could focus on my emotions, my reactions to everyday events, what I prepared for dinner. Somehow none of that really speaks to me now. Maybe I’m avoiding dredging up the painful memories of a time when there was more to eat than microwave Big Macs and Oreos. Or maybe it’s not so painful after all: I recall with fondness the chocolate covered almonds I had when I was young, before environmental cataclysm all but eliminated almond trees and cacao plants. Who can afford them now?
I remember the times my parents took us out to a restaurant – a real restaurant, with actual choices of different foods, like those places you can sometimes see in the movies, or where only celebrities are allowed to go now. My mouth waters at the mere thought of hot dog with sauerkraut – and if you knew, dear diary, how hot dogs were made, you would understand how far removed we are from that existence if I can now relish them. They were usually served with thin wedges of deep-fried potato called French fries, even though the French had nothing to do with them. And this wasn’t the deep frying that we know; no, the finer establishments made a point of using fresh oil every day, sometimes even replacing it more than once daily, to achieve a result that was crisp on the outside but never soggy. Can you imagine such a world, dear diary, in which the crops used to produce cooking oil were so plentiful? When people ate things that grew directly from the ground?
But the best part of the restaurant experience wasn’t really the food itself, though that was an important element: the individual attention, the staff’s writing down what I ordered and getting the people in the kitchen to prepare it, added up to the incomparable feeling that someone cared what I wanted. It gave everyone sitting there a sense of importance, however fleeting it might prove to be later.
I hold onto that feeling as I do life itself. Maybe one day we shall have such bounty again, such delicious choice, such variety of experience. That hope kept me going today. And with the help of Allah, when all infidels are banished from the Earth, it will be so again.
You are about to write your future college roommate a letter. Please provide the roommate with a personal story that will give him/her some insight into your personality. (St. Mary’s College, MD)
I know your name probably isn’t Rex, but the application people insisted I write you a letter, and they refused to provide a name. If your name is Rex, well, one thing you must assume about me at this point is that I’m clairvoyant. Keep that in mind if you ever consider messing with my possessions and not telling me. I know everything, Rex. Everything. Yes, even that time you thought no one was looking this afternoon when you picked your nose and wiped the snot on a lamppost. I wasn’t even there, Rex, but I saw. And the deed did not find favor in my eyes.
Fortunately, I am not the vindictive sort. Protective, yes, but that means you should strive to stay on good terms with me. As an aside, I like Godiva chocolates.
I hope your habits are an improvement over the last roommate I had. My previous roommate – we were forced to share quarters for more than a decade – was a real complainer. He had a thing about not showering. Not that he never showered – he did so nearly every day, in fact – he had issues with my not showering very often. Mom never believed him, fortunately.
Now, although my hygiene might not meet your exacting standards, Rex – and yes, I know all about your creative uses for used razors – I am something of a stickler for privacy. You might have a great body – I am not a good judge of the male form – but I do not wish to behold it in all its glory. The Lord created undergarments and bathrobes for a very good reason, Rex: my objections to exhibitionism. If you like, I can show you the underwear trick that I learned at camp all those years ago. It involves changing one’s shorts and/or underwear without removing the upper layer. Just let me know and I’ll give you a tutorial.
Though I might be gifted in the vision department, I must admit my olfactory abilities fall far short of most people’s. I can be standing atop the world’s largest pile of festering, fermenting, sweaty socks, and be blissfully unaware until it evolves a nervous system of its own and begins moving (that happened just the other day, in fact). So I will need you to tell me if the garbage requires removal; I cannot on my own determine at what point the burrito leftovers become intolerable. The same thing goes for the bathroom facilities – I can tell easily if the bowl needs a good scrubbing, and will be happy to assume that, uh, duty if required – but I confess that I am unable to detect any lasting effect from poor urinary aim. I do not mind cleaning up, but I require someone else to alert me to the need. Considering how groggy we will both be during the wee hours (ha!) and in the morning, I do not think we can assume that the perpetrator will always be aware just how far droplets splatter. I appreciate your cooperation, and so will you.
I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time together once we settle in, set up our computers and ignore each other. Here’s to the opportunity.
If you have ever, or will ever, apply to college, you will spend quite some time writing essays. As a service, I have provided some excellent selections upon which to base our work. This will be the first in a series.
You have just completed your 300-page autobiography. Please submit page 217. (University of Pennsylvania)
in debate with 9/11 “inside job” conspiracy mongers, which held about as much appeal as walking on my tongue through a sewage treatment plant. Twenty-five years, not a shred of evidence, and they’re still at it. I marveled at the lifelong dedication to stupidity that their cause represented, and came away with a newfound appreciation for the human capacity to find patterns where none exist.
This theme repeated itself the following month when the Podunk press went gaga over the appearance of the Virgin Mary in a local kitchen. The vehicle for this visitation was none other than the previous Tuesday’s cheese sandwich, which as we all know, affords the ideal environment for supernatural phenomena. Ironically, the only voice of reason throughout the debacle was the pastor, who subsequently left his position in the community and took a job as a chaplain at a home for the deranged. The residents there made more reasonable demands on his time.
But by far the most depressing, at least to me, episode in that vein spanned decades, and as of publication, still obtains: the cynical, yearly cycle of Chicago Cubs fans being made to believe that their team stands a chance to win it all. The local media, the team ownership, the political establishment and myriad commercial entities continually conspire to milk the Illinois citizenry of every spare cent, alternately nursing and dashing the hopes of millions that their team might take home the trophy. My heart aches for those poor Chicagoans, but only to a point: they did have Michael Jordan, which, in my assessment, is equal to about forty baseball championships. I did once share that observation with a friend from the Prairie State, who thought for a moment, then punched
What do you think people who know you would be surprised to learn about you? Limit your response to one page. (Rice University)
I’m not really human. I’m more of a superhuman. At least in some locations.
I discovered this quite by accident – only last week, in fact – when I was the only adult at the local McDonald’s who weighed less than 250 pounds. I could practically fly compared with everyone else around me! I could bend down without grunting. I could let my arms rest against my sides at less than a forty-five-degree angle from my body. I could occupy less than a full square yard of seating space. Was it Earth’s yellow sun? Was it a freak genetic mutation?
Curiously, however, this clear superiority did not present when I visited the library. Indeed, I was no swifter than anyone else, and enjoyed no more freedom of movement than the others present. This phenomenon warrants further study: why do I experience it at McDonald’s, the International House of Pancakes, Denny’s, O’Dwyer’s Sports Bar and Jeff’s Video Arcade, but never at Barnes & Noble, New York Sports Clubs, or the local basketball court?
My preliminary hypothesis holds that certain parts of Earth’s surface are uniquely situated vis-à-vis certain astronomical constellations, such that my particular genetic makeup reacts in a certain way. The implications of this hypothesis, if it proves correct, are astounding: that plate tectonics might play a role in the future disposition of these superpowers; that others might be similarly endowed, albeit in different locations; and that this set of abilities might have military, civic or law enforcement application.