Auntie SparkNotes: Exclamation Point!

Auntie SparkNotes: Exclamation Point!

By kat_rosenfield

Dearest Auntie,

Last weekend I visited my absolute favorite, canthisberealit'ssowonderful college! It was awesome (again) but through the admissions session a bombshell was dropped on me, shattering everything I've held to be true in my short 18 years!

The admissions woman, dream killer that she is, read aloud part of an essay that she considered to be "wonderful." Yes, she called it ideal and said it drew her in. Naturally, my ears perked up, I listened hard in order to hear this miraculous essay that would get me into DreamBoatCollege!

I don't want your ears to bleed or bile to rise in your throat so I will not write exactly what this essay was, but needless to say it was oh so contrived, filled with disgusting excessive description and really, (and I mean REALLY) bad metaphors, that were so obviously just made to sound smart but really were just simply BAD writing. ("He was the Churchill to my Roosevelt, against Hitler, my bike." GAH BLAGHGHHHGHG.)

Well, you may say, now you know what you have to write to get in! Well that's just the problem! I cannot!! I hold my own writing too dear, and my principles are too set to even consider it! If that is the kind of writing that will get me in, I am not going to get in because I cannot even begin to fathom HOW to write that poorly without throwing up on and shorting out my computer. So Auntie, please help! I cannot bow down to the man and write like this travesty-against-writing writer did, but if I don't I'm afraid I'll never be accepted to college!

First things first, you guys: from here on out, I'm going to enact a rule about the use of exclamation points in the letters you send me. Which is to say, the only time you should use them quite this much is if you're writing to alert me that my apartment/brassiere/cat is CURRENTLY ON FIRE. Okay? Okay. Please. My nerves, you know.

And now, o exclamatory Sparkler, allow me to put your mind at ease: just because one admissions officer was duped by the vomitorious prose of some wannabe Jonathan Franzen, that doesn't mean that everyone in the department thought that essay was fabulous. And just because one admissions office described one vomitorious essay as "ideal," that doesn't mean that she can't or won't appreciate the work of applicants who don't write so... vomitoriously.

Which is to say: take a deep breath, crack open a (preferably noncaffeinated) beverage, and for God's sake, give your poor exclamation pointer a well-deserved rest, because you're freaking out for no reason.

And despite your worst fears, here's the real, unadulterated deal: you're going to get into college. You are ALL going to get into college. Maybe not your first choice, and maybe not even your third, but each and every one of you who wants to go to college will, in fact, end up there. And you'll do it without resorting to deception, subversion, or ethics-compromising essay-writing, because colleges don't want their freshman class to be a uniform group of overachieving automatons; they want students with a wide variety of strengths, styles and interests. Which means that while you might end up sitting next to he of the vomitorious essay at your freshman orientation, on your other side will be a student who writes like Hemingway. Or like my great-aunt Myrtle. Or like a sixth-grader on a Sharpie high. Because diversity!

So, rather than trying to write your way into the heart of the vom-loving admissions officer—and compromising yourself in the bargain—just try this: your best, whatever it is. And if the best essay you can write is wrong for the college of your dreams? Then the problem isn't you; it's that the college of your dreams doesn't appreciate you in reality. And good riddance to 'em, because the one that's right for you will.

Got any calming words for our letter writer? Leave them in the comments! Please! Immediately! And to get advice from Auntie, email them at

Topics: auntie sparknotes, college applications, college admissions, essays, college life

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