Okay, perhaps flawed is a bit harsh but it’s still better than “inadequate,” “damaged,” and “defective.” The point is, take note of this quote from Amy Gutman, President of UPenn that appeared in Time magazine, April 18, 2016: “Our admissions officers are looking for something that is authentic and imperfect.”
I heard about a parent who spent weeks researching the rules of grammar to determine whether or not her daughter’s essay required a colon or semi-colon in a specific sentence. She actually sought out and paid an author of a well-known grammar book for her expert advice.
I was giving a presentation on the essay process in Westport Connecticut when a father took offense to my explanation and philosophy about the common application failure prompt. He actually stood up and told me it’s ridiculous to tell a college his son has ever failed or showed any signs of weakness or immaturity. Unfortunately, this was before Ms. Gutman’s profound statement so I could only think to myself, “You’re a moron.” I would have loved to quote the president of UPenn with a subtext tone of “in your face.”
I also wish I was armed with Frank Bruni’s brilliant New York Times article dated January 16th 2016. Harvard University conducted a massive study of college admissions across all tiers throughout the country. They came to the realization that “Colleges recognize that they have contributed to warping the values of students…” Drawing students into a competitive frenzy and manic résumé padding. “Colleges recognize the need for less emphasis on…standardized test scores…more than just a few AP courses - Not impressed by the 7 AP courses taken in a year.”
Colleges….from Harvard on down the line are looking for “authentic” and “imperfect.” They are looking for real passion, not window dressing. They are more impressed by your part-time job at an ice cream shop than by the one summer trip to save the Rain Forests of Costa Rica.