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'Back to Adam' - Vassar Supplement: Walking Backwards

dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 30, 2009   #1
Right now, my essay clocks in around 800ish words, and I would love to cut it down. All comments and suggestions are welcome, and I'd be happy to return the favor! :)

Prompt: How did you learn about Vassar and what aspects of our college do you find appealing?

"Here, walk backwards with me!"

I thought my tour guide, Adam, was kidding. He wasn't. This was not exactly how I anticipated my first ever college tour to be conducted.

I'd been interested in visiting Vassar ever since I encountered a Vassar Representative at a fall college fair at Nassau Coliseum. The photos showed a beautiful campus, and the curriculum fit me like a glove, but it was the representative's enthusiasm for the school that sealed the deal. I have often imagined myself being as in love with a college as she seemed to be and knew in an instant that a visit was in order.

Back to Adam.

It was a crisp wintery day when I ventured to Poughkeepsie, and Vassar's grounds looked like something out of a Thomas Kincaid painting. When I met Adam, I learned that he had grown up one town away and enjoyed an animated chat about Long Island. When the rest of our group arrived, Adam began the tour and I couldn't help but stare, wide eyed, as he turned to face the assemblage to walk backwards! I looked at the other guides and each one was doing the same thing. Better yet, every guide was walking backwards while it was snowing!

I found myself immediately worried for Adam's health. He was detailing campus highlights, meanwhile the only things I could think of were the potential hazards Adam would face. What would happen if he unwittingly stepped on a patch of black ice? What if he slid, fell and hurt himself? He wasn't even wearing boots or sneakers! Who gives a college tour wearing dress shoes when it's snowing? If that wasn't bad enough, Adam was facing into the wind and blowing snow. What if a wintery gust blew right in his face as he was walking backwards, he became disoriented, tripped over his sneaker-less feet, fell, and hit his head? I was going to have to keep close tabs on Adam.

He regaled the group with Vassar's colorful and extensive history while I watched his feet. He told a colorful tale about the freshman experience while I concentrated on the pavement behind him. Suddenly, he stopped and I nearly knocked him over. What happened? I looked up to find his blue eyes locked on mine as he uttered the fateful phrase: "Why don't you just walk backwards with me? You might actually enjoy it!"

Had he actually just singled me out in front of the group? He had and, in doing so, he knew I had no choice. The rest of the group looked on skeptically, my fellow prospective students sizing me up, as Adam turned me around. "Trust me." He resumed his relay of all things Vassar as I struggled to walk backwards using his voice as my only guide. My cautious initial steps led to countless stumbles, and it took every ounce of my resolve to not look over my shoulder. I had to trust Adam, a student who I had only met ten minutes prior. Why do these things only happen to me?

As I slowly let my eyes shift focus from the pavement to what was directly in front of me, it was an entirely new perspective. I imagined the various fragrances and picturesque view of Shakespeare Garden in the spring enveloping me as Adam described it in full detail, and pictured flowers blooming with each passing step. I experienced Adam's wonders of Vassar from his unique tour guide perspective. And then we were at College Center! Due to the inclement weather, the Center was the most active part of campus. I, the novice backwards walker, was being aided and waved to by other students. I couldn't help but feel like I already belonged amongst this eclectic mix of Vassar residents!

The one part of the tour that stopped me in my [backwards] tracks was the library. From a young age I've devoured books of all kinds and entering the Vassar library proved moving and magical. The gothic architecture, Cornaro Window, and the endless tomes all left me light-headed. I had found Nirvana. The proverbial deal had been sealed.

The subsequent colleges that I visited bore the great disadvantage of having to measure up to Vassar. Sadly, no other library felt magical. No students randomly waved at me. Not one guide invited me to walk backwards. No one painted as inviting a college portrait as Adam had. Not only was his tour spectacular, but he also managed to teach me the true meaning of going against the grain. I know that I want to be in Adam's position come next year to such an extent that I have been secretly practicing walking backwards. Oh, and should I be conducting a winter tour, you can be sure that I'll be armed with ice melt!

Thanks again!
bc2010 1 / 4  
Dec 30, 2009   #2
Your essay is amazing! Honestly, your writing style is sophisticated, your word choice is divine, and I really got a sense of who you are from your essay (even though that wasn't really the point), which is just great. You list numerous specifics about Vassar, answering the part of the prompt, "what aspects of our college do you find appealing?" and connect everything back to why you want to go there. I think you display a great amount of interest in the school and that's what every admissions person is looking for. So what its a little on the long side who cares. It's easy to get through because its light and funny. Great job!!!

Feel free to read mine! :)
OP dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 30, 2009   #3
Thank you!

Are you sure there's nothing I can fix in this, or anything I can omit?
shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 30, 2009   #4
woah- do not submit this.

I can tell that you are a skilled writer, HOWEVER you really aren't answering the prompt.
First of all, how did you learn about Vassar?
And, besides for a couple things you saw on the tour, what aspects of our college do you find appealing?

the story about Adam has nothing to do with what theyre asking... they want to know why vassar- what stands out to you about it and what will you pursue there, not the details of the tour

i would love if you commented on mine because you are such a good writer :)
its called: youth and government intellectual vitality PLEASE HELP
OP dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 30, 2009   #5
Hi Shannon, thank you for your response!

A couple of things:
-I talked about how I learned about Vassar through a college fair. I know I didn't make it a significant part of the essay, but the tour played a much larger role in my desire to apply.

--I somewhat understand what you're saying about the "Why Vassar" part, but it was my experience and how different it was that made me want to apply. Adam's quirkiness (I'd hate to use that word, but oh well) made me see Vassar in a light that I'm not sure I would have been able to see had I walked regularly. The prompt is left up to more interpretation with regards to the angle of response, but what stood out to me the most was, essentially, everything that I experienced on that tour. Especially the library. I suppose I could add a bit about research, since that's one of my primary concerns, but it wasn't such when the actual tour took place.

Thank you for the compliment. I'll stroll over to your thread and comment. :)
shannon92 15 / 74  
Dec 30, 2009   #6
hmm well i think you dont have to take out the Adam story but i think it is much too long seeing as it doesnt exactly relate (and you can convey is quirkyness in much less words)... also i would add about what youre interested in at the end :)
bc2010 1 / 4  
Dec 30, 2009   #7
I agree when Shannon says you could add a little more about what aspect about the academics you're interested in at Vassar - of course that's what the admissions people really care about the most - and maybe a little less about Adam. The paragraph that begins with "I found myself immediately worried for Adam's health," could definitely be either shortened drastically, or entirely omitted. That makes me somewhat sad because I thought that was the funniest, lightest paragraph in your essay and that it would truly make your admissions officer laugh, but if you're really looking to maintain focus and succinctly address the question, deleting it probably has more pro's than con's. But honestly, other than that, I think this is still very well done!

Ah, and I also encourage you to read https://essayforum.com/undergraduate-admission-essays-2/vassar-supp lement-vassar-13876/

Although this is sort of like cheating, this is someone else's Vassar supplement from this website. You might want to look at it...it could be helpful - but not in a plagaristic way of course!
bc2010 1 / 4  
Dec 30, 2009   #8
Oh, and I posted a second essay, so since your writing skills are so divine, I'd love for you to read it if you have a few minutes!
poisonivy 14 / 102  
Dec 31, 2009   #9
oh my... I really love this.
This is very original, fun, passionate. The only flaw is that it is a bit long, maybe you could cut some sentences?
Many congrats, I hope to meet you at Vassar this fall :)

Could you please help me with my essay?
OP dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 31, 2009   #10
Thank you so much, Poisonivy! I'm slowly (but surely) beginning to take out some sentences, so we'll see where it takes me, hahah.

That would be fantastic if it happened, right? Hahah. :)
OP dramacratic 6 / 27  
Dec 31, 2009   #11
Thank you so much! I made the changes, and I'm thinking I'll submit in a little while.

Any other way you think I could improve it?
Ivy_Equestrian 13 / 55  
Dec 31, 2009   #12
Lauren, it's wonderful, and you're a goddess. But you know that anyway.
And since I promised to reread it, I'm going to give you my comments here, but go look at my Yale supplement in return, babe. ;)

"I'd been interested in visiting Vassar ever since I encountered a Vassar Representative"
IMO, encountered reads a little awkwardly. You could go with the much easier 'met.' Encountered makes me feel like you're talking about a wild animal hahaha.

I also think you can just take out "Back to Adam." completely. It's totes unnecessary, we know where you're going with the story from your intro, so save yourself some of the word count.

"we enjoyed an animated chat..."

Better yet...hmm. I'm stuck on this. I like it, but I don't love it. And I don't really love 'to my surprise' as a replacement. I think that's going to have to be your call.

I'm just being nitpicky. You know I worship the paper you print on. And Adam sounds cute. ;)

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