No you idiot of course he didn’t get in, he titled himself the “Prince of Maths” for fuck’s sake. Would you want the Prince of Maths attending your college? No, because it’d make everyone else currently enrolled look stupid, just like how you wouldn’t want the guy who wrote “I LIKE MATH” in red crayon all over his application to be accepted.
Now, whether or not these are truly the DUMBEST things ever submitted as college applications remains to be decided, however if you ask Reddit…yeah, they’d confirm they’re pretty bad:
I used to be an administrator in an admissions office and would read applications before passing them on to the people who make the actual decisions. My favourites included:
• Someone’s personal statement that said “I think so far outside the box, there is no box.”
• The person that included a copy of their Pleasure Boat driving licence.
• The “Prince of Maths” who included a 45 minute DVD of himself solving equations interspersed with dance routines.
• The guy that submitted his personal statement showing the tracked changes, including comments such as “THEY CAN NEVER SAY NO TO YOU” and “Summon the Tiger within”
• and the many, many people who offered me bribes despite explaining until I was blue in the face that I had no effect on the decision. And also it was illegal.
I almost forgot one of the best. A guy applying for a post-grad course who had fantastic grades up until his last semester, submitted extensive documentation about how his grandfather had been ill and how this had affected his performance. One of the documents was a breakdown of what was in his grandfather’s poo.
I’ve seen two essays written by parents. Not just essays where you could tell from the writing that it was written by an adult, but essays by mothers written in first person about their sons.
Needless to say, neither got in – and one probably would have otherwise since he had the grades.
My sister wrote her MIT essay about how she games a large department store’s pricing inconsistencies to turn a profit. (Buy on sale, return at regular price, etc.) She had a pretty complicated system going.
She essentially wrote about how she steals from department stores.
She got in.
She also discussed the ethics of it, and at the time we were pretty poor, but yeah.
I got into my selective college based on my essay and ACT score because my HS grades were shit.
Anyway, my essay was called “Romancing the Secretary” and it was about all the school secretaries I knew growing up and going through school. I was a weird kid with a host of issues, so I spent a lot of time in the school offices, getting to know the secretaries. They were lovely women who got to know me and protected me from bullies and some of the teachers who hated me. Whenever I couldn’t deal with class or was having a bad time, I’d go see the secretaries and they’d cheer me up, excuse me from class, and make me feel like a valued human being instead of like a worthless piece of shit. I didn’t really have friends in high school, but I had the secretaries and also the janitors, and they protected me and kept me sane. They were the only people to ever acknowledge my birthdays or even sign my yearbooks.
I met the guy who read my essay and he said it made him cry, cause he was the weird kid once, too. He said he put my application on the top of the stack and knew that I had to go to that college, because he knew I would find my people there, and sure enough I did.
I processed applications for a grad school admissions office when I first started working at my university, and until a few years ago a lot of paper application materials were still being mailed in so I opened some doozies.
1. Math Ph.D. applicant’s essay literally said “I LIKE MATH” in red crayon. I think he figured his 4.0 GPA and awesome GRE quant score was all he needed. He didn’t get in.
2. International applicant sent in a photo of them conducting a military band in a chicken suit. I have no clue why. It went up on the Wall of WTF in our office.
3. My favorite. A disturbed, paranoid woman applied to Ph.D. in Psychology in person by coming to the admissions office and hand filling out one of the rare few paper applications we still had lying around, then promptly pulled a letter from a recommender form her pocket that was on a folded up piece of paper, not in a sealed envelope or anything. We explained to her it’s customary for such documents to be in a sealed envelope with a signature across the seal to show it hasn’t hasn’t been interfered with by the applicant. She demanded an envelope, which she shoved the letter in, licked, sealed, then wrote her name across the seam. She came by a handful of times after that to hand deliver documents for her application as she didn’t trust the US postal service and said it would deliberately lose her letters because the governement doesn’t want people of her race to get higher education. My favorite was when a letter of recommendation arrived for her, this time in the mail in a sealed envelop sent by the recommender himself. It said, and I quote. “The only way X should be admitted to the graduate program in psychology is as a patient.” The recommender was a pastor. And when she finally received her inevitable rejection from the Psych program she mailed the graduate school an itemized bill for her application and GRE fees, gas for all her trips to the university, and stamps (for things she never mailed us through the racist USPS) because she wanted us to reimburse her.
I work with adults with special needs and we had one person participating in the program who had what we would have referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome. Nice guy, very sharp. He was writing an essay for admission and he asked me to read it over.
He started it with “I am qualified to be a part of your institution because I survived.”
I was ready to roll my eyes but I read on and damn, this kid rolled four 1’s for every stat during character creation; he’d been hit by a car, electrocuted, nearly drowned, and been hospitalized six or seven times for various infections over the years. He wasn’t stupid and his family weren’t monsters, he was just possessed of a preternatural ability to attract bad events and then to survive them. The universe had tried very, very hard to kill this kid and he somehow managed to dodge the overwhelming majority of it.
I told him not to change a word. He got in.
My friend worked admissions for a fairly prestigious school. He once got an essay from a brony about his love of My Little Pony. Kid had great grades and had extracurriculars but didn’t get in because of that essay.
So a few days ago, someone from the CSU system came to my high school to talk about essays. One example was a girl who apparently decided her topic was on a Korean boy band.
Or more specifically, how obsessed she was with it.
She pulled all-nighters to make some fan-website that became popular to the point of the band noticing, went as far as to learn Korean because screw english translations, and said that despite seeming really crazy, it was proof that she was very dedicated to whatever she did.
The admission guy said he approved her.
When a student is dismissed for poor grades, they’re usually given a second chance if they ask for it, often with some sort of probation/limit on credit hours. If they still can’t get their GPA up to their college’s minimum requirement they’re encouraged to do a semester or two at a community college until they get their GPA up. So this kid sends a readmission essay saying “please let me back in, here’s an unofficial copy of my transcript, look at all these As and Bs.” Looks good on paper, so they tell him he’s all set as soon as the other college sends the official copy of the transcript. But when they get it? Fs across the board. Like, did you really think that would work?
Not quite as bold as this, though. A young woman says her grandma died mid-semester, and the hardship on her and her family caused her to fail classes and drop out. She attached a copy of the obituary with the date as proof. These things happen, so the committee shows sympathy and readmits her. But next semester her sister is also applying for readmission, claiming that the sudden and recent death of her grandmother caused her to fail her classes. And wouldn’t you know it, she attached a copy of the obituary. But some of the committee members recognized the picture, so they went back into the files to look at the other one and found out the dates didn’t match. Somehow (probably Google) one of the committee members found out the grandma had died years prior and both girls altered the dates on the obituary photocopies. The second request was denied and the first sister was dismissed.