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Why Are “Good” College-Application Essays So Awful to Read?

For many, our education in first-person writing begins with the college application essay, which rewards uplifting narratives with neat-bow conclusions. This is a bad thing.

I started thinking about the Common App essay when I was in my sophomore year of high school. I can’t remember who—my parents, my English teacher, a copywriter of fear-mongering college emails—but someone had told me it was never too early to begin brainstorming, and so I set out to choose a topic.


Be warned

School of Rock the Musical


School of Rock

School of Rock


If I take a bad experience and fashion it into something valuable, then it will all have been worth it.School of Rock