College application essay questions can be weird. Students’ answers? They can be weirder. Some people have a way of turning the simplest questions into unexpected essay answers. That’s called creativity. In most cases, it works. Admission essays should never be boring. To make essays impressive, you have to think of an unusual answer to the question hundreds of other students are answering. Let’s go through few of the weirdest college admission essays that worked, shall we?
Benjamin’s 20 Questions Essay
At its official website, Johns Hopkins University published the top 5 admissions essays from the class of 2012. The one that’s featured first is also the weirdest one. Benjamin answers unusual questions, such as these:
- Is it bigger than a breadbox?
- Does it strive to learn?
- Is it driven?
- Does it think deeply?
All answers are yes, along a brief explanation of the answer. He is talking about himself as the it—a student with versatile interests and strong determination to grow. The admission committee? Impressed.
Josh Mahoney’s Essay about Football… And Law
This essay is featured at the website of University of Chicago Law School. At first, it seems pretty standard: Josh is talking about a passion – football. Then you wonder: wait, isn’t this an application essay for law school? What’s with the football?
Well, Josh writes about his injury; the moment that pushed him towards exploring other aspects of life. His intellect, mainly. Finally, we see why he decided to apply to law school. He connects college football, passions, weaknesses, and solutions into a single decision: entering law school to become a stronger person.
Although the essay seems disoriented and irrelevant at first, you can’t stop reading it. It’s one of the rare cases when a too long introduction to the point does work.
Joseph Poirier’s Common App Personal Essay
“When problems arise, I solve them using copper fittings.”
That’s how this essay starts. Joseph explains his fascination with copper during childhood. Then, he talks about his failures. Then, he returned to his primal interest: copper. Failures and copper, failures and copper… is that what this essay is all about? No. Somewhere along the way, you realize it’s about learning to grow from failure.
Although it’s an unusual personal statement, to say the least, it worked for the admissions board at Tufts University. In fact, it’s featured at the website as one of the best ones.
Ahmad Ashraf’s Application Essay for Connecticut College
“Mum, I’m gay.”
That’s how the essay starts. It’s bold. It’s weirdly brave. Also, what’s with the mum? What’s informal language doing in an admissions essay?
This essay defies rules. It’s exactly why it works.
Nathaniel Colburn’s Essay about the Homeless Lady
This one is featured at the website of Hamilton College. When you’re asked to write a personal story about a defining moment, the last thought of your mind is the memory of a homeless person. Well, that’s exactly what Nathaniel thought of.
A homeless person changed his point of view. He explained that moment beautifully in this application essay.
Ahmed’s #BlackLivesMatter Essay
This has to be the weirdest one. Ziad Ahmed got into Stanford with an application essay that wasn’t an essay at all. He said he didn’t think he’d be admitted to Stanford. It looks like he wasn’t even trying. To the prompt What matters to you, and why? Ahmed wrote nothing but the hashtag, 100 times.
It worked. For Stanford!
Brenden’s Essay that Got Him into Yale, Columbia, MIT, and University of Virginia
Wow! Is it possible to get into so many first-class universities with a single essay? It’s almost impossible, but Brenden Rodriquez did it. What’s the essay about? Music and math.
The sentences are long. The paragraphs are long. The entire essay goes against the simplicity tips you get from any writing guide. That’s why it’s unusual. The difference is that this student can write long sentences. Although the essay has chunky paragraphs, the reader’s attention is not lost. Plus, he talks about math being present in music. And football. How cool is that?
Before you start the process of creating an admissions essay, you should first read some successful examples. What did you notice about the ones we featured above? They were some of the weirdest college admission essays, weren’t they? Being unusual works sometimes. It’s always good to be brave. However, you have to find the good weird way to write the admissions essay.
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