This is an actual essay written by a college applicant to New York University in response to this question:
IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO KNOW YOU, THE
APPLICANT, BETTER WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:
ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE REALIZED THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A PERSON?
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations
on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban
refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.
Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and god-like trombone
playing, I can pilot up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook thirty-minute brownies in twenty
minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love and an outlaw in Peru.
Using only a hoe and a glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin
from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of
numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban
hang-gliding. On Wednesdays after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line
of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller
number nine and have won weekend passes. Last summer, I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal
force demonstration. I bat .400.
My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.
I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick
and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the
exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA.
I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated
with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. I balance, I weave, I doge, I frolic, and my bills are all
paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full contact origami. Years ago, I discovered the meaning of
life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster
I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka and spelling
bees at the Kremlin.
I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.
But I have not yet gone to college.