Last time a batch of college admissions essays leaked online, from Columbia University, everyone was embarrassed, mostly because they were forced to remember their own adolescent humblebrags disguised as thesaurus-fueled philosophizing. But it’s hard to feel bad for Kwasi Enin, the 17-year-old Long Island student who was accepted to every Ivy League school, and whose own essay is now public, thanks to the New York Post. It is very much a college essay — flowery language, Big Ideas, lessons learned — but it also worked.
Enin writes about his love of music — he plays violin, bass, and has a good voice, too — stretching the refined extracurricular into a story about leadership, community, and bringing joy to the world by singing and dancing in a production of Guys and Dolls. “Music has become the spark of my intellectual curiosity,” he writes. “I directly developed my capacity to think creatively around problems due to the infinite possibilities in music.” (Don’t be jealous.)
“The self-guided journey known as music in my life excites my mind every day,” Enin concludes neatly in his fifth paragraph. “My heart sings every day because the journey is already wonderful.” It’s well organized (by the numbers) and touching (sappy) — the guy, along with his 2,250 SAT score, is obviously going places. But the question remains: Why do we make kids do this to themselves?