Monday, December 19, 2011

Two more essays to go... blah

I think I've written on this before, but I would just like to say one more time for emphasis - college essays suck. How do they suck and why to they bother you so, you ask? Let me count the ways, or at least give you my top ten.
  1. Believe it or not, not everybody is a writer or finds writing a great outlet to express themselves
  2. Essay topics such as "what do you think is great about this school?" invite nauseatingly suck-up writing - painful to generate, painful to edit
  3. College application time is emotionally fraught to begin with - putting yourself out there for acceptance or rejection - in this state hardcore editing to make a polished essay often leads to tears. I am tired of being the enforcer for other people's stupid rules and making my children cry. Tired, tired, tired.
  4. Why do different colleges have similar essay topics with vastly different word count requirements - it's impossible to use anything over when the word count goes down to 25% of the original, or do you really want to go under the word count by 75% if you try to share the essay that way?
  5. How the heck are they actually using these essays to make judgements anyway? If they're looking for that "stand out" essay, not everybody is a wild extrovert (see reason #1 for a similar concept)
  6. No matter how much time you put into essays there's some sort of guideline someplace that says you should have put in more time. There's only so much pushing for get it done early so we can edit, edit,edit...yuck
  7. Really, being able to hit submit and say done is worth a lot. How many revisions can you stand?
  8. Did I mention that not everybody is passionate about writing? Let's have everybody submit an imaginative solution to a geometric brain teaser with explanatory illustrations. Seem a little unfair to the non-math types? Logical thinking and proof construction seems like a reasonable thing to ask to me and HSS would blow the competition out of the water.
  9. Eight applications is not excessive with two safety, two reach and four that seem like a good shot. Close to fifteen finely crafted and well polished essays is excessive.
  10. By not getting together and coming up with a reasonable number of common essays like the Common App these schools are playing some sort of ego-trip, how-much-do-you-love-me game because you have to spend more time on some essays than others. It's hard not to get pissed at the schools with the most off-the-wall essay requirements

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