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College Essay

By Ramsey Daniels


1) Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


When I joined the basketball team Freshman year, I was very nervous. I had only played a few games of pickup, and I was much shorter than the towering Seniors. I thought: “Am I good enough?” “Am I going to fit in?”

Then I remembered the words of the great Muhammed Ali, who said: “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Keeping the words of my hero in mind, I laced up my new shoes and took my first confident step onto the basketball court.

Things weren’t easy at first; there were the missed free throws, the botched lay-ups. But I kept with it, and slowly things started to come together. There was my first 3-pointer, my first game-winner. Then there was the practice when I missed a shot and my ball bounced into oncoming traffic; ill never forget the screams! Those ragged, blood-curdling screams… the limbs hanging like so many ornaments upon the tree, and of course the blood, oozing like molasses down the tilted street.

Who was the poor victim?, you must be wondering. Who might have been driving by the school towards the end of basketball practice? Well, unfortunately, it was our dear college admissions counselor, Mr. Bertuzzi, an outstanding academic who I believe you knew fairly well. He certainly claimed to know you guys well! So well, in fact, that he once told a lanky, doe-eyed Freshman that if he played ball and kept his grades up he could ‘definitely’ get him an athletic scholarship to hoop for the Crimsons. This didn’t come to fruition, but we all make mistakes, and along the way he taught me a great many valuable SAT words, such as the one you’ll find earlier in this sentence!!

Of course the guilt of what I’d done ate me up. But perhaps worse still were the rumors- you know how us high schoolers love to gossip! People said such hurtful things- “I saw Dexter out at a party the next night!” “Dexter doesn’t even look sad!” “I saw him standing on the sidewalk with a basketball in his hand waiting for Mr. Bertuzzi’s car to pass!” “They didn’t even have practice!”

And sure, maybe it was less of an “accidental bounce” and more of a “premeditated toss,” ‘premeditated’ being another one of the SAT words ol’ Mr. Bert had me memorize. Bet he never thought it would come back to haunt him; without that word I wouldn’t know how to plan. And sure, if it weren’t for the basketball, we might instead be talking about how a pipe bomb decimated in Mr. Bertuzzi’s car or how cyanide traversed into his Harvard mug. The possibilities are multifarious!

So I write you this, my new admissions essay, in the hopes that you’ll consider my re-application. My original application did not represent me, but the delusions of an under-qualified ego-driven admissions officer, a man careening off the rails in what would turn out to be the twilight of his time with us. I also realize that I misspelled “dunk” in the original, which I’ll take ownership for.

I’ve dreamt of attending Harvard ever since I watched Elle Woods zip up her pink pleather skirt and step into its hallowed halls. And just like Elle after Warner dumped her at the restaurant, I will use my admission to enact a gleeful, satisfying revenge.

Go Crimson!

Dexter Finnegan

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