Ridiculous College Essays

Take a look at the grisly acceptance rates: Harvard, 6.2 percent; Columbia, 6.9; Yale, 7.4; Princeton, 8.4; Brown, 8.7; Dartmouth 9.7; University of Pennsylvania, 12.3; and Cornell, 18.Even a school like San Diego State—best known for its beer and basketball-loving student body–saw its acceptance rate plummet to a jaw-dropping 10 percent. Furda, admissions dean at the University of Pennsylvania.

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For high-school seniors, the stress level of the past two weeks hit an all time high last Wednesday when Ivy League decisions came out.

You've probably heard by now that for many schools, this year was the toughest college admission season on record.

One kid wrote about why men shouldn't wear "jorts," which I guess are jean shorts. A young woman wrote that she took a summer course and she meant to say in 'organismic biology' but she wrote 'orgasmic biology' and went on to say it was the best course she'd ever taken.

We didn't reject her for that outright, but it makes you look twice."• Top state school admissions officer:"We had a few people camp out in our lobby and they refused to leave.

With so many students applying, it's no wonder that some of the rejections feel arbitrary and whimsical. Adds Jim Miller, an admissions officer from Brown University: "The truth is that the differences are ludicrously slender and it's very hard to say to a kid why their candidacy played well or didn't play well."The Daily Beast caught up with a number of exhausted deans and admissions officers from top colleges around the country to get a glimpse of what happened behind closed doors.

What follows is the good, the bad and the ugly of this year's red-hot admission season, as told in the admissions officers' own words.I just thought, ' Wow, I hope it works out for her.' I didn't go look her up to make a statement one way or the other."• Admissions dean at a top liberal arts school:"We received pies this year, two from the same person. Unhelpful Teacher Evaluations• Ivy League admissions officer:"Pick teachers who know you.She was trying to say she's not an athlete, but a really great baker. Sometimes teachers will damn you with faint praise.I am not opposed to profanity and sometimes it can work. Otherwise, he would have gotten in.""We received pies this year, two from the same person.We didn't take her, but we ate the pies."• Admissions dean at a top liberal arts school:"The tone of the essay matters a lot. Things Raising a Red Flag• Ivy League admissions officer:"We had one great line.Getting accepted at any of the schools we talked to required stellar SAT scores, solid grades, a tough curriculum and a whole lot of luck.Some deans and admissions officials preferred not to identify themselves, or their universities.1.In the toughest college admission season on record, acceptance rates plummeted at many schools, including the Ivy League.Kristina Dell explores some of the arbitrary and whimsical reasons that applicants were rejected.It's all subjective."• Top state school admissions officer:"We end up with a lot of essays that sound like they were written by people who were prematurely middle-aged."8. Furda, admissions dean at the University of Pennsylvania:"When you are admitting [12 out of 100 students] there is no one who is a shoo-in anymore.There is no foregone conclusion about a student being admitted.

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