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Sample Cornell Application Essay – Personality & Childhood Anecdotes – UNEDITED

Note: This essay appears unedited for instructional purposes. Essays edited by EssayEdge are substantially better than this essay. For samples of EssayEdge editing, please click here.

Prompt: Please define your current personality with anecdotes from your childhood.

By unlocking the door to (name) past, one sees his thoughts and actions when they first took hold of his persona. This essay serves as a key to that door and to my current personality.

The first beloved books in my life were the Sesame Street Encyclopedia volumes. At three, I wasn’t old enough to read them, but I always wanted to have them read to me. In fact, I memorized the ten volume set so when my parents would skip some pages I would ask them to read what they skipped. After learning to read on my own, my favorite book became the anatomy volume in the Charlie Brown Encyclopedia. Courtesy of a supermarket book offer, I was the only kindergartner who knew about fertilized egg cells. As I grew older, I continued to read largely because reading taught me so much outside of what we learned in school.

Since kindergarten, my extensive reading also originated my various interests, especially in science. Living within walking distance of the library, I went there every day, enabling me to dabble in a different subject during each visit. By the fourth grade, I had read all the chemistry books containing fewer than 200 pages, by the fifth grade I was reading about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. During that time period, I became so interested in astronomy through Odyssey Magazine that I sold holiday cards door-to-door in order to buy a telescope.

Reading also helped me in school. A little ingenuity didn’t hurt, either. For example, as part of my third grade reading grade, I needed to do some independent reading. Every sixty pages in a book counted for one star of credit and in order to get an “A,” I needed fifteen stars. I was greedy and saw this as an opportunity to shine far above the rest of my classmates. Instead of reading many short books, I devoured 300-page sagas by Laura Ingalls Wilder. When everyone else got eighteen stars, the little banana with my name on it had 45. This inner drive and competition still motivates my work today, but unfortunately, no one gives out stars anymore.

Despite this desire to do my best, I was quite normal, except for a slight perfectionist’s twist to everything. I too owned a cabbage patch doll, but it was taken away because I cared for it excessively. On one Halloween, I dressed up as Dracula just like a dozen other kids, but I wanted my hair to look so realistic that it took a week to wash out all the gel I used. Finally, much like any other child, I fantasized about adventures, but I took fantasizing one step further. I recorded my make-believe adventures on tape so they could be critiqued afterward.

One of the few things I was not a perfectionist at was my writing. Due to a lack of self-confidence, I would plan papers well in advance but put them off until the very last minute. This habit continues today, accounting for the transition-lacking stream-of-consciousness style found in almost all my writing. I just hope it appeals to Cornell admissions officers.

Comments

This writer undoubtedly made an impression as a child with his voracious reading skills. He is unfortunately a little too aware of this throughout the essay. His attempt to make himself appear driven and ambitious ends up coming across as a bit over the top, and one wonders how such an extreme perfectionist will be able to take the pressures of college life. He could have also done without the bashing of his writing skills in the last paragraph. This display of insecurity undercuts the overconfident tone of the rest of the piece, making the reader suspect that it might have been more bravado and a desire to impress than his true voice. The last paragraph reads like a disclaimer. This is not a good essay. A little editing would have saved this applicant a rejection letter.

Note: This essay appears unedited for instructional purposes. Essays edited by EssayEdge are substantially better than this essay. For samples of EssayEdge editing, please click here.

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