The Common Application and most other applications have a space where you can upload or type in something additional in case you feel you haven't been able to accurately represent yourself. I was thinking about submitting something like this. Specifically, I'm targeting MIT if it makes any difference.
Here's the text...
I'd like to use this space to drop the formalities and do a little bit of straight talk, because that's what I do best. I hope that you can take what I say at face value, and that this doesn't constitute some sort of admissions suicide. I'm a person, not a paragraph.
When I look around myself at school, I find myself surrounded by "model students". They are the students with perfect SAT scores, with 4.0 unweighted GPAs, and with lists of extracurriculars so long that they make your eyes bleed. They spend all their days going through the motions of high school. They work like slaves to earn little numbers. They join every club they can just to get it on their record. They study day and night to earn perfect scores on standardized tests. At the end of the day, they come out of high school with stellar scores and pristine transcripts to hand to you, the admissions officers.
I haven't done all these things. I haven't worked my rear off to earn amazing grades just for the sake of earning them. I haven't jam packed my weeks with clubs and extracurriculars that I don't care about. I haven't spent hours studying for the SAT. That much is evident enough to anybody looking at my statistics. My numbers are good, but they're not perfect, and not really amazing for the area that I come from.
I spent my time in high school learning. I spent it pursuing the things I loved, and doing everything I could to find out more about them. I didn't earn great grades in science and math classes because I spent inordinate amounts of time studying. I earned them because I have a great talent and love for math and science. I didn't join science olympiad and build a robotic arm that took 6th place in states (and will do even better this year) so that it would go on my transcript. I did it because I love working with robotics and building something with my own hands that can accomplish a task. I didn't teach myself the contents of AP Calculus BC over the summer because I thought you might be impressed by it. I taught it to myself because Calculus BC was a prerequisite for Multivariable Calculus, and I desperately wanted to be in that class and learn everything that it had to offer. I didn't pour 40% of my summer into writing Minecraft server plugins because it showed my programming skill. I poured that time in because I have a deep passion for programming, and there wasn't anything else I would have rather spent that time on.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is something like this: at some point in this whole admissions process you (or one of your colleagues) is going to have to make a choice between me, and a "model student" with all best scores, the best grades, the best extracurriculars, and maybe even some special connections. The only thing I have to put against him is me as a person, the one who is still talking straight to you 4 paragraphs later. I love what I do, I'm incredibly good at what I do, and I want to keep doing what I do.
I remain humbly,
If you know you won't get in based on your scores, it can't hurt I guess. I loved reading it and it definitely showed your passion.
No, I don't have bad scores, just not perfect or astounding ones. Same for grades. I feel as if I'm borderline, and I'm hoping something like this could kick me over that line.
i loved this essay because it was so personal, but I don't know how if admissions will like it. it is a hit or miss
From what I know, admissions generally do not like essays like this because it sounds too much as if you're trying to make yourself look good, rather than genuine. I personally loved it though!
@yuzec95 Remember, this isn't taking the place of an essay. This is going in the "something extra" space.
It's a really great essay, but one thing to keep in mind is that admissions really don't like having to read any extra materials.
honestly it is a hit or miss. butit is just soooo good!
If I have anything to say about it...I think you're going to shoot yourself in the foot if you send this in.
Your description of the "model students" seems more like a diatribe against the people who have better grades than you over anything else. You generalize them to be GPA "slaves" who "join every club they can just to get it on their record" and who "study day and night to earn perfect scores on standardized tests." That seems a little ignorant to say, don't you think? And plus it does not tell me at all that you're going to be a good fit in a community like MIT where the majority of the students there are the "model students" you just antagonistically described.
Remember: grades aren't everything. Admissions officers know that. They have enough sense not to admit students based solely on their GPA or SAT scores.
Everything after that is awesome, though, and I'm sure you can make one heck of an essay out of it if you haven't already.
Yeah, it was a bit of a diatribe. And it wasn't really a generalization. That is seriously what I see of most of my classmates: people who go through the motions of high school and wind up taking away very little other than their numbers.
In any event, thanks for the feedback. I've revised that second paragraph to be less antagonistic and inflammatory.
I've thought about writing something like this for some of my supplements but didn't do so because I got better ideas (in some cases) and was advised not to by a couple of my friends in the colleges I'm applying to. As some of the comments already said it really is a hit or miss but if you plan on submitting it (and to be honest this little voice inside me wants you to) I suggest you change your tone. When I read the part where you talk about other students I got a sense that you hated them or were jealous of them or thought you were better than them etc... and admissions officers really don't like that. Try and sound a bit more genuine and focus on yourself rather than the others in your class. I hope it's a hit and I wish you the best of luck
Can you please take a look at my Uchicago supplement? I'd really appreciate it!
You are taking a bit of a risk by writing differently, but I think that 99% of the colleges who read this are going to like it. This essay really sets you apart from the others (which was your goal) and you were very passionate.
However, I felt that you were being a bit too aggressive/arrogant in your last paragraph, namely these sentences
"at some point in this whole admissions process you (or one of your colleagues) is going to have to make a choice between me, and a "model student" with all best scores, the best grades, the best extracurriculars, and maybe even some special connections. The only thing I have to put against him is me as a person, the one who is still talking straight to you 4 paragraphs later."
I see what you are trying to say and it is a good start, but others may take it the wrong way.
In all honesty, I was deeply inspired by this essay, probably because just like you I come from a school that is infamously known to stress mainly on grade and cutthroat competition.
Good Luck :D