Burned in Essay Hell

college application essay

Image by Jim Cooke Via Gawker


I don’t know how I missed this. In April, a batch of nearly 70 college application essays written by the incoming class of 2017 at Columbia University were made public. It was quite the scandal. Many of the students who shared their essays among their peers, not expecting they would be shared with the world, felt they were being mocked and ridiculed. Some bloggers did have a grand time poking fun of their topics and language.

The exposed Google folder is no longer available, but you can still read various blog posts that quote from some of the essays. I actually liked many of the topics and snippets of writing (in the Wordle image above). It showed the vast range of subjects you can write about and various approaches. To me, they can help spark ideas for your own essays, and see how you are not alone in your struggle to dig deep into your self and recent past for meaningful stories to share with strangers who will decide your future.

Here’s what J.K. Trotter wrote about the uproar on The Atlantic Wire: (more…)