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The best college application essay ever written

Famous College Essay

NYU received what would become the most famous college essay many years ago.

We’ve never written about this essay on our college admissions blog before. But we figured…why not? If one were to ask us what is the most famous college essay ever written, we know the answer hands down. It’s this NYU applicant’s essay from many, many years ago. To this day, it remains well known in the highly selective college admissions community. But, today, we’d like to discuss it. Look, it’s extremely well written. Rarely — and we mean rarely — have we seen students with this kind of writing ability. Did we say rarely yet? Because we do mean rarely. And it’s quite funny. The guy can make 30-minute brownies in 20 minutes.

And while it was a great essay at the time and the writer definitely has a sense of humor, we strongly discourage students from writing essays in this style. For one, every single admissions officer — from the ones who are first out of college to the veterans of the departments — will know from where you’re taking inspiration. Also, this essay is kind of mocking the entire college admissions process. The writer is essentially saying that he has done all of these amazing things in life and he hasn’t even yet gone to college. Sure, it’s written tongue in cheek but, at the end of the day, the essay says little about the actual applicant. Because, presumably, little or none of it is true. That’s the whole point.

Look, this was a great essay all of those years ago. There’s a reason it’s a famous essay. What we’re saying is don’t even think about taking inspiration from it or writing anything stylistically similar because that is not a good idea for you. Here’s the essay:

“I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.

Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing. I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook 30-minute brownies in 20 minutes.

I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello. I was scouted by the Mets. I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire.

I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life, but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven.

I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But, I have not yet gone to college.”

What do you think about this college essay? Let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you! Oh, and if you’re a rising high school senior, now is the time when you should be working on your college essays. So contact us today to get started!

10 Examples of Great College Essays (With Links)

In a way, it can change your life forever, by giving you access to some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world. Just imagine stepping into one of your dream colleges, thinking about your future, and the amazing things you’ll do.

If you want to write a good essay, you should carefully study the list below, and draw inspiration from other successful students.

There are many factors that determine if you secure your spot in college.

Your high school grades are important. Your test scores play a big role as well. The letters of recommendation, athletic achievements and the extracurricular activities you participated in can all impress the college admission committee.

But in this article, I’ll share some specific examples of great college essays. While compiling the list, I chose the ones which actually worked (meaning – they got the students into colleges and universities).

Many of them come with additional comments to help you learn what made them so effective. Let them inspire you and help you to develop your own unique story. Also, if you need more examples (24 to be specific), you can check a book like College Essay Essentials or an essay editing service like EssayEdge.

This is a great service that will help you polish your essay to perfection. If you want to make sure that your essay is ready to go, I highly recommend using Essay Edge as an editing service.

10 Best Examples Of College Essays

These essays were selected by the editorial reviewers from NY Times (so they have to be good, right?). The topic here is work, money, and class.

Once again, the team from NY Times selected the best college admission essays from high school students. Out of more than 300 submitted pieces of work, only these five ultimately made the cut. Read them and see why.

The essays from this list are not your usual literary masterpieces, but they did the job and allowed students to get access to some great universities such as UC Berkeley, Stanford or Harvard. Read just a couple of them to fill your inspiration tank.

Here you can find some nice examples of eight essays of successful applicants to Hamilton College. They were selected by Hamilton Alumni Review Magazine and showcased with the permission of the students from various backgrounds.

This essay was written by an anonymous writer. It’s important that you read it, however, because, in the end, there’s a nice commentary which describes the strengths and weaknesses of the work.

The critique is broken down into four parts – introduction, body, conclusion, and the overall score. Look at your own essay in that way and make sure it has all the right ingredients.

And here’s another example like this with additional comments.

Every year, the admissions committee selects some of the best and most creative essays that allowed students to get enrolled in the university.

As stated on the page, the most important thing about creating your statement is originality, and the ability to share your own story in a unique way. Demonstrating your precocious thought-process is what matters the most.

You can find more examples from JH University from the class of 2019 and 2020.

The best thing about these lists is that below each essay, you can find the actual comments from the admission committee.

For example:

We liked Stephen’s essay because it catches your attention right away and continues to demonstrate critical thinking, initiative, and problem-solving. His personality comes through as he naturally conveys humor. Through his anecdotes from growing up, we got a sense of how he might approach his studies here at Hopkins.”

Here’s another edition of examples which ultimately helped to enroll the students in the University. This list is really great because it comes with videos, where the members of the admissions committee discuss different aspects of each essay and about what made them so great.

Writing a college essay may seem like a scary task, especially if you’re still don’t know where are you going to apply.

You need to check some examples of inventive statements just to get a feel of what is expected. Then you can make up your own mind and base your work on your unique circumstances.

This is one of the most successful essays of all time. Why? Because it grips you from the very first sentence and tells a true story of sorrow and pain.

Talking about your deep emotions and painful memories is never easy, but it can make a huge impression on the readers.

You can find the full profile of the student who wrote it here (along with their other achievements and profiles of other successful students).

And here you can find six more essays that got students into Harvard.

This is not an example, but it’s still worth a read as it will enable you to see essays from the admission officer’s perspective. Follow their suggestions and you can’t go wrong.

I really hope you enjoyed this list and that you’ve gained some valuable information from it.

Applying for college and writing your essay is always a bit stressful but hopefully, now you’re prepared. Please let me know about your struggles in the comments section below.

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I’m a full-time blogger, educator, digital marketer, freelancer, editor and content manager. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to achieve freedom from 9-5 through online creativity. My site is a one-stop-shop for writers, bloggers, publishers, content enthusiasts and freelancers who want to be independent, earn more money and create beautiful things. Feel free to check my archive containing over 400 articles and reach out if you need anything. Ah yes, and stay awesome!