The Car Ride To College

Matt Pakkala, Staff Writer

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Appearance, it’s first thing that people see, it’s how people differentiate amongst each other, it’s the way that people formulate their first impressions. When you’re choosing a new book to read, do you pick the flashy red, white, and blue cover or the bland black and white one? Most people go for the patriotic and flashy theme. Even though they say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” we often do. So how do we break the mold? How do we see more than just the exterior? We need to dig deeper. Can we judge a book based on its contents? Obviously. A review of a book wouldn’t be considered credible if the reviewer hadn’t at least read it. When you’re reading, you can’t see the cover anyway, so why would it matter to you what the cover looks like?

Think of college applications as a book, the cover being your grade point average and test scores, extracurriculars, the index, the title, your name, and the author… you. But where’s the text, the story? The story is the five hundred words on a prompt you don’t care about, the paper that you write October 31st, the writing that you submit at 11:59 PM just hoping that your internet is fast enough to turn it in on time; the story is the essay.

Nowadays, almost all college applications require an essay or some kind of personal statement, supposedly to help them distinguish between similarly qualified applicants, kind of like how we try to choose books based on their covers. The problem is, most students hate writing, and it shows. So instead of using their essays as a paradigm or platform to broadcast their diligence, dedication, and devotion to education, many just try to meet the word requirement.

It’s easy to understand why students might find it egregarious for a college to have the audacity to ask them for a few hundred words about something. They claim that the essays are a “waste of time” and some even declare that they’re “insignificant” because everybody is required to write about the same prompts. These beliefs have led students to neglect their essays, when in all actuality, they should be embracing the opportunity to flaunt their flowery writing, illustrate their intelligence, and commemorate their commitment to something. However, instead of doing this, students often find themselves bringing an apathetic attitude to the table, showing an ignorance to the influence that words. There’s a reason that many claim that the printing press has been one of the most imperative inventions of the last few hundred years; it allowed people to communicate, it allowed people to progress, and it allowed people to understand, all of this accomplished through the elegance of language and the sophistication of literature. Why would someone ever overlook the potential impact that his/her writing could have on someone? An essay explaining why you’re unique or how you keep yourself busy could be the difference between you receiving an acceptance letter and you being denied. Essays can provide students with the vehicle to drive themselves to opportunity, to colleges, to their futures. All they have to do is put the keys in the ignition.

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