January 15, 2021

The Best College Application

This really has nothing to do with anything of importance, and you would probably be better off re-reading Chaplain Mike’s excellent discussions so far this week on the Gospel. But seeing as it is back-to-school time, and seeing as I thought we could all do with a bit of a laugh, and seeing as I have nothing else to write about, I offer this to you—the very best college application of all time. Enjoy.

“In addition to the information on this application form, what other factors would you like the committee on Admissions to consider in evaluating your candidacy? Feel free to include some of your important accomplishments, your goals, or ideas about education.”


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 heat retention. I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row, conditioning my body for absurd physical exertions.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike piano playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook “Thirty-Minute Brownies” in twenty minutes. I can lecture for hours on any topic. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

I am fully licensed to operate a crane; I am a gourmet chef. 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. At nights, I play my cello, and by day, numerous documentaries and television movies are made about me. 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, and yet, I receive fan mail. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal force demonstration. I am capable of raising astronomical sums through school bake sales. 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 all in the same day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room set that evening. I know the exact location of every item in the supermarket. I have performed covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week, and when I do sleep, I sleep in chairs. While vacationing in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

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 been known to make extraordinary four-course meals using only a colander and a toaster oven. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and I have earned trust in the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken to the Pope.

But, I have never gone to college.


  1. Sounds like the “Most interesting man in the world” has a rival on his hands. I don’t often drink beer but when I do I prefer Dos Equis.

  2. I make my living as a writer, but I now realize that I’m not a real writer. This guy is!

  3. Were this a novel, it would be a front-runner in the annual contest for worst opening lines ever (sorry, the contest name escapes me at 0630)

    • Isn’t it the Bulwar-Lytton contest?

      • Here is a sample of a Bulwar-Lytton “winner”:

        The camel died quite suddenly on the second day, and Selena fretted sulkily and, buffing her already impeccable nails–not for the first time since the journey began–pondered snidely if this would dissolve into a vignette of minor inconveniences like all the other holidays spent with Basil.

        –Gail Cain, San Francisco, California (1983 Winner)

        • My all time favorite opening line is from a book entitled “Savage Run” by CJ Box (at least I think it’s this book):

          “On the third day of their honeymoon, infamous environmental activist Stewie Woods and his new bride, Annabel Bellotti, were spiking trees in the forest when a cow exploded and blew them up. Until then, their marriage had been a happy one.”

  4. My favorite line is, ” Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.”

    Jeff, do you know who wrote that?

  5. OK, I answered my own question. From the Urban Legends website:

    “Analysis: This satirical essay, or a version of it, was written in 1990 by a high school student named Hugh Gallagher, who entered it in the humor category of the Scholastic Writing Awards and won first prize. It was subsequently published in Literary Calvalcade, a magazine of contemporary student writing, and reprinted in Harper’s and The Guardian before taking off as one of the most forwarded “viral” emails of the decade.

    Though this was not Gallagher’s actual college application essay, he was ultimately accepted at NYU, where he graduated in 1994. Since then he has worked as a freelance writer. His first novel, Teeth, was published by Pocket Books in March 1998.”

  6. You know, Jeff, we had a rough evening, but this definitely helped me to start my day off smiling. You, sir, are da man.

  7. I saw that essay in the 90s in Saudi Arabia!
    A colleague at work handed it to me.

  8. I want to thank JoanieD for answering her own question. I actually thought for a moment it might be John Belushi’s college application because Jeff included his photo at the top. I do earnestly repent, and will try to be less literal in the future.

  9. Randy Thompson says

    So, did they give him a full scholarship?

  10. Randy Thompson says

    By the way, here’s a suggestion for the next time you’re bored and blocked: Letters of recommendation.

  11. This essay made the rounds at our school last year — it’s still hilarious! Reminds me of an email forward I got from my sister about a new computer virus and all the mayhem it could cause.

  12. “While vacationing in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery.”

    The negotiations were brought to a successful conclusion when the terrorists were finally convinced that “Bank” was spelt with an “N”.

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