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(People Magazine)   Here's the essay that got 17-year-old Kwasi Enin into all eight Ivy League schools. It isn't as action-packed as your own Big Bang fanfic attempt, nor does it finish with 'When I woke up, it was all a dream ... or was it?" but it's OK   (people.com) divider line 34
    More: Followup, Kwasi Enin, Ivy League, essays  
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7462 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Apr 2014 at 12:41 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-04 12:51:54 PM  
3 votes:
I read the first paragraph. His writing skills clearly played no part in the admissions board screening process.

///Writing isn't everything, I suppose.
2014-04-04 04:54:38 PM  
2 votes:
I think it is nice that he writes about why his teachers and friend admire him.

He seems a great fit for any of the Ivies.
2014-04-04 02:17:09 PM  
2 votes:
Lot of bitter white bread in this here thread.

[welcome to fark.jpg]
2014-04-04 12:57:41 PM  
2 votes:
That essay wasn't the reason Kwasi was accepted by all 8 Ivy League schools.
2014-04-04 12:56:48 PM  
2 votes:

Agnes Gonxha's Confidant: Affirmative Action in all it's Glory

As a former US Marine soldier, I cannot help to feel that its unfair, to allow this guy to get in into an Ivy school, when I fought for his freedom, in the Middle East.


It isn't just Affirmative Action.
2014-04-04 12:56:43 PM  
2 votes:

DerAppie: Maybe it is just me, but I'm not.seeing anything special. The required life changing event, the token trumped up community work and the mandatory "still learning and grateful every day". Just what is so special about this letter?


A few things actually.

1.  The fact that he is able to articulate, in English, the ways he can connect music with other academic disciplines would be impressive for anyone, let alone a 17 year old.

2.  There are no wasted words.  It's honest, and it's a person talking about what makes him tick.  That's what all college essays should be.  It successfully answers the question "Who are you?", it's polished, and it's to the point.

It's not a damn thesis, and it's not supposed to be.  But any college that read this would immediately want him as a student.
2014-04-04 05:29:09 PM  
1 votes:

JSTACAT: DerAppie: No wasted words? He used over a page yet actually says very little.

Correction; He says very little that you can understand.
Do yourself a favor, and study it well. Actually try to do what he did with his thinking.
It could be the hardest thing you've ever attempted.
Doing so could give you a whole new life, many times larger than what you demonstrate now.[img.fark.net image 500x373]


Okay, I'm no longer on the phone so I can do a decent reply now. Let's look at what he is telling us, okay?

First paragraph: My big life changing moment was learning music. I am an autodidact on this.

Second paragraph: Music allowed me to look at things in ways that aren't directly obvious. Also: playing music makes me better at playing music.

Third paragraph: Music helped me connect to the community by performing for them.

Fourth paragraph: Music helped me learn about teamwork, leadership and friendship.

Fifth paragraph: I think music is awesome and my world revolves around it.

Now all the things he didn't tell us, but which would have been way more interesting and informative than the general required tripe that can be written by anyone who has ever done a team sport / invested in getting good at something.

Paragraph 1: Why would his initial choice have ended the musical career? What did the teacher do to motivate him? What struggle was there to overcome? Why mention that he is an autodidact (I know, to show that he can motivate himself, but everyone is willing to do things they like. Even kids with ADHD who normally bounce of the walls can sit still doing something they find interesting)?

Paragraph 2: How did music help you look at things from different angles? Give an example how looking at thousands of combinations of notes helped with working around mathematical formulas. How did the combinations of musical options help find exits in undesirable circumstances? Hell, what kind of circumstances are we talking about?

Third paragraph: Okay, that is pretty clear.

Fourth paragraph: How did music teach him about leadership, teamwork and friendship? What were the troubles he ran into that made him become a good leader? What was it that music taught him about friendship that regular friendships (that is to say, friendships with non-musicians) couldn't teach him? What conflict did he need to overcome to learn these lessons? How did the group members react? Can he also handle conflict in situations where others don't share a passion for music with him?

What was the adversity he found in the high level pieces? Was it mere complexity? Did they need to learn new techniques, or was it just that they needed to polish the skills they already had? How did they overcome that?

Fifth paragraph: It was wise to turn down Music In Our Lives for your current course, but we still don't know what he did instead, what convinced him to do so or why he made the choice for the road travelled, or what he still expects to learn from music.

In the end I stand by my comment that he said a lot but told us nearly nothing. Everything he said was superficial and there is nothing in the letter about how it was specifically music that helped him become who he is. Or how he couldn't have learned any of the lesson from any other endeavour he most likely had next to his musical life. Hell, I could do a very minor rewrite without touching any of the motivations behind what he did (he didn't give any), and this would be about how StarCraft made him who he is.

He should have given us less fluff and more substance. Work out a few subjects instead of giving us the bones of everything. That way we could have made an meaningful judgement about his character beyond the fact that:
1) He can get along with people with the same interests he has (music)
2) He is willing to spend time learning things he likes to do (music related activities)
3) He learned something about friendship and leadership and teamwork (yet we don't actually know what he learned except that he learned that a leader is also responsible for the social climate of a group)

Just enlighten me with your superior analytical skills if you think I'm wrong. Since you are so superior, and I'm just a little idiot who can't gleam meaning from a text, you should just tell me what the hell it is that is so impressive about what he wrote. What hidden depths did you find in the writing? What great insight into this person did they provide you?
2014-04-04 05:05:59 PM  
1 votes:

tylerdurden217: bucjeff: 2320 SAT 800 on both the Math 2 and Physics subject matter tests. By the time he graduates he will have taken 17 AP classes. Scored a 5 on all of the 10 he has taken so far. ranks 6th in class of 549. His 400 and 800 times would place him on Harvard's varsity team and this is without the benefit of any decent coaching. Dont get me wrong I think Kwasi is a fine kid and deserves to go to any of the schools he applied to.  I just don't understand how an essay like this so full of pandering BS was so well received. It is a perfect kiss ass essay and I give him credit for writing it but I think it is full of BS.My kid also played the lead in Grease and was in show choir but dropped it  because it took so much time and he wanted to take another AP class instead.

I apologize for my snark. That all is really honestly quite impressive and something to be proud of. The only thing I will say is that your son wants to go to those schools because they are very selective. (I'm guessing) I can understand the frustration, but there is a chance that his credentials still place him in the bottom 5% or not even. That's the crushing reality of those schools. From what I understand (and this comes from working a bit in Cambridge) kids go from being one of the smartest kids in their HS, to being below average. It's a shock even when they try to expect it.


The knowledge that they are of high-normal intelligence instead of a flaming genius just might be the most valuable lesson that they learn in those hallowed halls. Nothing like starting life after 4 years studying feminist puppet theatre and hip-hop musical theory only to discover that the only thing you are suited for is ..................grad school.
2014-04-04 02:18:22 PM  
1 votes:

Karma Curmudgeon: MJMaloney187: Just out of curiosity, why do you think this kid was accepted to every Ivy League school?

I can't tell you exactly, I don't have his admission file. But it's funny that you think you know based upon 400 words and a picture.

There's this from Ambitwistor's link:

For one thing, he's a young man. "Colleges are looking for great boys," Cohen says. Application pools these days skew heavily toward girls: The U.S. Department of Education estimates that females comprised 57% of college students in degree-granting institutions last year. Colleges - especially elite ones - are struggling to keep male/female ratios even, so admitting academically gifted young men like Enin gives them an advantage.

He ranks No. 11 in a class of 647 at William Floyd, a large public school on Long Island's south shore. That puts him in the top 2% of his class. His SAT score, at 2,250 out of 2,400 points, puts him in the 99th percentile for African-American students.

He will also have taken 11 Advanced Placement courses by the time he graduates this spring. He's a musician who sings in the school's a capella group and volunteers at Stony Brook University Hospital's radiology department. Enin plans to study medicine, as did both of his parents. They immigrated to New York from Ghana in the 1980s and studied at public colleges nearby. Both are nurses.

Being a first-generation American from Ghana also helps him stand out, Cohen says


THS.

A lot of subtle and not-so-subtle racism in this thread. That's too bad. I just emailed the essay to my 14-y/o (musician and honors student) daughter along with about 250 words pointing out all the problems with it. However, I prefaced my criticism with the observation that the kid's grades, test scores, and extra-academic activities are what make him an appealing applicant. If he were planning to major in literature, history, or even law, I'd like to believe that essay would be a major strike against him. But medicine? Meh.
2014-04-04 02:14:29 PM  
1 votes:

bucjeff: As a parent of a kid wailtisted at Harvard and Yale and denied by MIT and Princeton  this pandering BS essay ticks me off. My kid has better scores all around and plays 2 musical instruments, lettered in 3 sports for 3 years, student govt, president of the math club etc etc etc and is a national merit scholarship winner. I'm shocked college admission people wouldn't see right through that BS.


What does "My kid has better scores all around" mean? Better scores in what? And better than whom?

A lot of kids play multiple musical instruments. Nearly everyone I knew in HS that played one instrument, played more than one... and they did it well. Playing piano and french horn isn't exactly going to make your kid Harvard material. Lettering in more than one sport is equally unimpressive because HS athletics are a bit of a joke. Someone who is faster than 95% of their class means and marginally taller than average will probably make the varsity track, baseball, basketball, whatever, and still be relatively mediocre at any individual sport. Student council and club memberships are great, but getting into prestigious universities isn't a matter of checking boxes. The admissions office has a mountain of applications from students who all think they have the minimum requirements to attend America's finest universities. The reality is that Harvard, MIT, and Yale are better at selecting talented kids than you are at raising one worthy of attending. Maybe your kid (and your bank account) will be better served if they attend a state university and major in engineering, graduate with a BS in 3.5 years and get into the work force.
2014-04-04 01:59:59 PM  
1 votes:
What kind of narcissist applies to every ivy school?
2014-04-04 01:52:44 PM  
1 votes:

MJMaloney187: Just out of curiosity, why do you think this kid was accepted to every Ivy League school?


I can't tell you exactly, I don't have his admission file. But it's funny that you think you know based upon 400 words and a picture.

There's this from Ambitwistor's link:

For one thing, he's a young man. "Colleges are looking for great boys," Cohen says. Application pools these days skew heavily toward girls: The U.S. Department of Education estimates that females comprised 57% of college students in degree-granting institutions last year. Colleges - especially elite ones - are struggling to keep male/female ratios even, so admitting academically gifted young men like Enin gives them an advantage.

He ranks No. 11 in a class of 647 at William Floyd, a large public school on Long Island's south shore. That puts him in the top 2% of his class. His SAT score, at 2,250 out of 2,400 points, puts him in the 99th percentile for African-American students.

He will also have taken 11 Advanced Placement courses by the time he graduates this spring. He's a musician who sings in the school's a capella group and volunteers at Stony Brook University Hospital's radiology department. Enin plans to study medicine, as did both of his parents. They immigrated to New York from Ghana in the 1980s and studied at public colleges nearby. Both are nurses.

Being a first-generation American from Ghana also helps him stand out, Cohen says


And as far as his essay, I'll just say this:   the precise whats and hows of the writing are less important for an entrance essay than the topic and how personally invested he is in it.  It's also much better as an application than he's getting credit for in this thread.  He takes an abstract concept: music, and gives several examples of how its pursuit has given him benefits that are applicable to other areas of life: leadership, creative thinking and community, specifically, and lists several notable achievements in the are without being overbearing about any of it.
2014-04-04 01:45:35 PM  
1 votes:

MJMaloney187: MrKevvy: Agnes Gonxha's Confidant: Affirmative Action in all it's Glory

As a former US Marine soldier, I cannot help to feel that its unfair, to allow this guy to get in into an Ivy school, when I fought for his freedom, in the Middle East.

It isn't just Affirmative Action.

Yes, it is.


The soft bigotry of low expectations. You can't determine an AA admittee from someone from the same social pool who wasn't an AA admittee.
2014-04-04 01:40:34 PM  
1 votes:

bucjeff: As a parent of a kid wailtisted at Harvard and Yale and denied by MIT and Princeton  this pandering BS essay ticks me off. My kid has better scores all around and plays 2 musical instruments, lettered in 3 sports for 3 years, student govt, president of the math club etc etc etc and is a national merit scholarship winner. I'm shocked college admission people wouldn't see right through that BS.


You sound white.
2014-04-04 01:40:00 PM  
1 votes:

MooseBayou: rumpelstiltskin: It's gotta be a hoax. You can't start the third sentence of your essay with a conjunction and still get into Harvard, can you? They would have stopped reading right there.

His essay employs weak grammar and usage.  Unfortunately, that is probably the best you will see from the current crop of snowflakes.

The recipes for proper writing have been placed on the back shelf of the library.

[2.bp.blogspot.com image 850x1223]
This is such a simple, elegant cover for a simple, elegant book.


This book was required reading for my senior year AP English class.  Obviously, writing isn't one of this kid's strong points.  Thankfully it sounds like he is going pre-med instead of anything involving real writing.
2014-04-04 01:33:17 PM  
1 votes:

Barry Lyndon's Annuity Cheque: Gunny Highway: MJMaloney187: Karma Curmudgeon: MJMaloney187: Yes, it is.

Well, there's my answer.  And not it's not.

Yeah, it is. It must be extremely embarrassing for the Ivy League schools, too. Had one or two picked this kid up, it wouldn't have been news, but they all picked him up. Flat busted.

Just out of curiosity, why do you think this kid was accepted to every Ivy League school?

Lots of reasons.

He's basically the definition of Ivy League admissions bait, but I don't think a first generation kid from China with the same qualifications would manage to go eight for eight


There are already plenty of Asians in the Ivy Leage schools, that's why. It's all about diversity.
2014-04-04 01:32:27 PM  
1 votes:
Serious question: Does anyone in admissions actually read the essays?

I had a friend a few years ago who worked in the admissions office for the faculty of medicine at a university up here in Canada. At the time part of the application package was a one page "life history" essay. Her job was to go through all the applications and reject any that deviated from the application protocol. According to her the sole purpose of this essay was to ensure you followed the instructions. Any deviations from format and your were rejected: Skip the essay? Rejected. Write five pages when they asked for one? Rejected. The theory being that if you can't follow simple instructions you're not suitable for med school. It was a simple method of weeding 1000's of applications down to a manageable number. Likewise spelling: Any spelling mistakes anywhere in the application? Rejected. After that transcripts and references determined who got interviews, and the interview was the final hurdle.
2014-04-04 01:32:22 PM  
1 votes:

rumpelstiltskin: It's gotta be a hoax. You can't start the third sentence of your essay with a conjunction and still get into Harvard, can you? They would have stopped reading right there.


His essay employs weak grammar and usage.  Unfortunately, that is probably the best you will see from the current crop of snowflakes.

The recipes for proper writing have been placed on the back shelf of the library.

2.bp.blogspot.com
This is such a simple, elegant cover for a simple, elegant book.

And ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carden_Method

Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
Throw the cow over the fence some hay.
2014-04-04 01:29:10 PM  
1 votes:

ArkAngel: 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 oven. I breed prize-winning 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.


What is "Early 90s internet flotsam that I somehow still remember?"

/always be sure to wear suncreen
2014-04-04 01:15:21 PM  
1 votes:
great. Another loser musician.
2014-04-04 01:12:32 PM  
1 votes:
More his picture got him in than anything.
Except that name.
2014-04-04 01:07:52 PM  
1 votes:
Good for him.  I hope he goes on to do something great.
2014-04-04 01:03:50 PM  
1 votes:
He would have written a longer letter, but he had to be at the gym in 26 minutes.
2014-04-04 01:02:48 PM  
1 votes:

MrKevvy: Agnes Gonxha's Confidant: Affirmative Action in all it's Glory

As a former US Marine soldier, I cannot help to feel that its unfair, to allow this guy to get in into an Ivy school, when I fought for his freedom, in the Middle East.

It isn't just Affirmative Action.


Yes, it is.
2014-04-04 01:00:51 PM  
1 votes:

DerAppie: Just what is so special about this letter?


Those two words there at the very top.
2014-04-04 01:00:12 PM  
1 votes:

Agnes Gonxha's Confidant: Affirmative Action in all it's Glory

As a former US Marine soldier, I cannot help to feel that its unfair, to allow this guy to get in into an Ivy school, when I fought for his freedom, in the Middle East.

/not racist


A former marine who can't use commas right.
2014-04-04 12:56:35 PM  
1 votes:
In before

Agnes Gonxha's Confidant: Affirmative Action in all it's Glory

As a former US Marine soldier, I cannot help to feel that its unfair, to allow this guy to get in into an Ivy school, when I fought for his freedom, in the Middle East.

/not racist


Or maybe not.
2014-04-04 12:51:16 PM  
1 votes:
tldr
2014-04-04 12:50:42 PM  
1 votes:
Maybe it is just me, but I'm not.seeing anything special. The required life changing event, the token trumped up community work and the mandatory "still learning and grateful every day". Just what is so special about this letter?
2014-04-04 12:48:34 PM  
1 votes:

Alonjar: Radak: Inconsistent use of Oxford comma.  -5 points.

Black violinist with an extremely "ethnic" name:  +30 points.


You're off by several orders of magnitude.
2014-04-04 12:45:41 PM  
1 votes:

Radak: Inconsistent use of Oxford comma.  -5 points.


Black violinist with an extremely "ethnic" name:  +30 points.
2014-04-04 12:09:40 PM  
1 votes:
Inconsistent use of Oxford comma.  -5 points.
2014-04-04 11:28:29 AM  
1 votes:
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 godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles 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 large 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 the 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 dodge, 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 oven. I breed prize-winning 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.
2014-04-04 09:44:42 AM  
1 votes:
It's gotta be a hoax. You can't start the third sentence of your essay with a conjunction and still get into Harvard, can you? They would have stopped reading right there.
 
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