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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
    More: Followup, Kwasi Enin, Ivy League, essays  
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7545 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Apr 2014 at 12:41 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Archived thread
2014-04-04 11:28:29 AM  
9 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 03:38:34 PM  
2 votes:

Agnes Gonxha's Confidant: JSTACAT:
Everyone who knows me figures me to be college educated, when i want to blow someone's mind, i tell them i never finished Jr high... went to work instead, learning the whole time, and learning still.

You sound isecure


You sound semiliterate.
2014-04-04 01:41:05 PM  
2 votes:
Dear Harvard

I the liutenant of a 3 man Rapid Tactical Force Team, in one of the nation's largest indoor retail shopping centers. My job job is to defend and protect the lives of the many shoppers who currently vist this center, and in my line of work you cannot be too careful.

I am in a high-risk job. It is not the Mall of America, but Ill tell you what its no podunk mall either.I am a responsible citizen who has made the choice to carry at all times. I defend others. If something happens at the Mall then I would be the hero, not those of you who are making fun of me for no reason. Yes Im not a Green Beret but guess what neither are you and unlike you I have to face unruly shoppers every day.My REAL problem is that, like any LEO, I have enemies because of my job. They may have access to high-powered rifles. My job starts and ends at the same time every day. Although I use four rotating routes to drive to and from work, I am still vulnerable during the walk to and from my car. This is the time that I load up on the trauma plates because I DO NOT WANT TO BE SHOT DEAD!Also, someone said that my Tac Team doesn't get training. Not true. We meet at the range every night and shoot 400 rounds each through weapons that closely resemble our duty setup. We also practice unarmed combat. I am a Master of three martial arts including ninjitsu, which means I can wear the special boots to climb walls. I don't think any of you are working as hard as I am to be prepared. I asked a serious question about tactical armor and I wanted a serious response. If you want to laugh at somebody, try laughing at the sheep out there who go to the mall unarmed trusting in me to stand guiard over their lives like a God.

Hugs
MN
2014-04-04 01:15:42 PM  
2 votes:
I applied to Dartmouth with a essay discussing spitting in urinals.   I attended a state school.
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 12:10:15 PM  
2 votes:
The details of my life are quite inconsequential ... Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15-year-old French prostitute named Chloé with webbed feet. My father would womanize; he would drink; he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament ... My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon ... luge lessons ... In the spring, we'd make meat helmets ... When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds - pretty standard, really. At the age of 12, I received my first scribe. At the age of 14, a Zoroastrian named Vilmer ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum - it's breathtaking ... I suggest you try it
2014-04-04 06:10:26 PM  
1 vote:

tylerdurden217: 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.


Did you even play sport in HS?
2014-04-04 05:29:09 PM  
1 vote:

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 04:46:29 PM  
1 vote:

kc278: Huh. Well, my SAT score put me in a slightly higher percentile than Mr. Enin and I graduated second in my ~650-student high school, so if I really thought it was relevant I could make an argument that he's not "very likely more intelligent" than I am (or was -- that was a long time ago). I subsequently graduated cum laude with a bachelor's in literature, made a meager living for a few years as a songwriter, went on to manage a magazine for ten years, and now work in "information resources" for a top-50 architectural/engineering firm. So I flatter myself into imagining that I'm reasonably capable of evaluating a short essay.

As to "living vicariously" . . . through whom, my daughter? Who'll be writing her own university admission essays in a few short years? Heaven forbid I use a current event to attempt to illustrate 1.) the value of extra-academic activities (I did mention she's a musician, right? Like the kid in the story?) and 2.) what a generally poor essay looks like and some suggestions on how it could be improved.

tl/dr: Lighten up, Francis.


The fact that you felt the need to critique Kwasi's essay and ultimately trash it as a "generally poor" example says something. Though you insist that "something" is that you are helping your daughter, I have my doubts. Why? Well, because you had to trot out our high school transcript and your bland resume in some attempt to prove your bona fides. No one cares about your SAT score anymore, or your BA in literature. You're an adult now. Maybe you should act like one. Can you also throw that pigskin a quarter mile, Uncle Rico?

The admission essay is more about the story than it is the mechanics and syntax. The purpose of writing in this case is to move the audience, not to show adept sentence structure. Prose can be perfectly constructed and bore the reader. That's one reason why Kwasi will attend the University of Whatever-he-wants and you didn't. Your advice can probably only take your daughter as far as you went... not that there's anything wrong with that, but don't lie to yourself and suggest that Kwasi did it wrong and you know better. Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, et al. seem to disagree.
2014-04-04 04:02:37 PM  
1 vote:
Reading this essay made me realize I could never be a college admissions officer.

/He is a fine fellow, I am sure.
2014-04-04 03:55:22 PM  
1 vote:

kc278: Huh. Well, my SAT score put me in a slightly higher percentile than Mr. Enin and I graduated second in my ~650-student high school, so if I really thought it was relevant I could make an argument that he's not "very likely more intelligent" than I am (or was -- that was a long time ago). I subsequently graduated cum laude with a bachelor's in literature, made a meager living for a few years as a songwriter, went on to manage a magazine for ten years, and now work in "information resources" for a top-50 architectural/engineering firm. So I flatter myself into imagining that I'm reasonably capable of evaluating a short essay.


www.mbird.com
/im sorry, I agree with your point, but...couldn't...resist!
2014-04-04 02:46:53 PM  
1 vote:

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.


Yeah, well, just about every kid nowadays plays six instruments, runs a soup kitchen, can run a 4 minute mile, and is a member of the chess, horology, and ancient Egypt clubs. Is your kid a member of a doo wop group? No? Well, that's where you failed as a parent...
2014-04-04 02:18:22 PM  
1 vote:

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 02:17:09 PM  
1 vote:
Lot of bitter white bread in this here thread.

[welcome to fark.jpg]
2014-04-04 02:10:49 PM  
1 vote:

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.


Looks like the University of Illinois Florida
2014-04-04 01:42:26 PM  
1 vote:

Agnes Gonxha's Confidant: MrKevvy: jso2897: They don't teach you that in the Core.

But they do teach you that it's Corps.
(Pronounced like "core" not "corpse" unless you want to make someone very angry.)

[encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com image 256x192]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlkK65y_-T4
cdn.frontpagemag.com
Rotten to the corpse
2014-04-04 01:21:36 PM  
1 vote:

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.
2014-04-04 01:06:54 PM  
1 vote:
Pffft, I wrote my national merit essay on bass fishing.
2014-04-04 01:01:22 PM  
1 vote:

andyofne: 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.


They don't teach you that in the Core.
2014-04-04 01:00:12 PM  
1 vote:

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 12:59:45 PM  
1 vote:
1.bp.blogspot.com
2014-04-04 12:58:31 PM  
1 vote:
I liked the part where he talks about loosing his virginity to a prostitue on his 14th birthday.
2014-04-04 12:57:41 PM  
1 vote:
That essay wasn't the reason Kwasi was accepted by all 8 Ivy League schools.
2014-04-04 12:55:18 PM  
1 vote:

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

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


Violist, not violinist, actually.

/guess what they say about black guys is true
2014-04-04 12:51:16 PM  
1 vote:
tldr
2014-04-04 09:44:42 AM  
1 vote:
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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