Application Essay

Dear Sabina, age 10,

I know you’re frustrated right now—you fight with your friends weekly, you would give anything to quit swim team, and school is so easy and boring that you fake sick to stay home and read. You just want to be in the real world; you crave change and understanding.

In the next few years, you will begin to experience that exact thing. You’ll skip sixth grade and go straight to junior high; it’ll shock your peers—one of them will even tell you that you don’t deserve to be there—but your success will prove all their doubts wrong. Once you get to seventh grade, junior high academics will be easier than you think, but you’ll encounter tough and unfamiliar life situations. One of your classmates will die of brain cancer, and you’ll struggle to see the justice in the world when you get to celebrate Halloween with your friends and she doesn’t. You know 12-year-olds aren’t supposed to die, that’s supposed to be for old people who’ve lived their lives. But you will realize that you have to take risks and make the most of everything. She’ll inspire you to do a season of basketball, which you’ll be awful at. You’ll go home crying three days in a row, but you won’t quit, which will pay off because you will grow to like it and even become somewhat decent. Just don’t be so afraid to mess up. I know you’ll want your team to win, but take that shot in the last twelve seconds of your final game instead of passing the ball because you could have made it.

Even though it’s a source of tension in your friendships right now, continue to be outspoken. Your peers will begin to lose their personal values and become identical to the people they spend time with, but you don’t need to. You are an individual. Your favorite word is no, and you’re so stubborn. Stay that way. As you get older your stubbornness will turn into determination and serve you well.

Try not to worry so much. Sometimes it’s better to just let things happen. That being said, though, continue to pursue your ever changing interests. While your parents reprimand you for quitting everything you start, I know you’re just trying to figure out what you love. You’ll try guitar, writing, dance, tennis, stage crew, painting. None of them will fit perfectly, but through a combination of each of their good elements you will get closer and closer until you eventually discover what makes you happy—working with kids.

Ten-year-old me, you’re a lot luckier than you think you are. Try to remember that; I know it won’t be easy.

Best wishes,

Sabina, age 16

Age 10

This letter served as my application essay for college. It’s an untraditional format, but hey, the risk paid off. 

Today is the first day of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here

66 thoughts on “Application Essay

    • Probably very similar, actually. I think I’d still give myself more or less the same advice. My letters to my future self change much more often than my letters to my past self.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It definitely did ease the boredom of school, and frankly I look back and think that it was probably worth it socially, too. I ended up with some amazing friends that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.


  1. I don’t even remember if I had to write an essay when I transferred from Berkshire Community College to UMass–Amherst. The schools has a transfer agreement, so pretty much anyone who graduated BCC was automatically admitted into UMass, provided the paperwork were sent. Though I do remember practicing writing college entrance essays in my English AP class.


    • We did the same in my AP class, which I think is a good system. I had actually written this piece junior year (for a different assignment), modified it slightly and turned it in senior year for the college essay assignment, and then send it in with my app. I got a lot of mileage out of that first assignment!


  2. Great letter. I understand all about the boredom of school. I do think skipping a grade must’ve been challenging socially indeed. Your parents might not have liked your stubbornness. Ultiately, it paid off though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great essay. I am pretty sure that colleges still like to read the unconventional application essay. You figure that when they are reading thousands upon thousands of essays, the few that stand out will get more attention. I’m not surprised this one did.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My application letter and subsequent interview to get in to college got very interesting, and led to some really awkward (but apparently rewarding, I got in…) conversation. But now I kind of wish I could just go with what you did… too late to bandwagon this one, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant–the idea, the letter itself, and using it as a college application. Loved it! And now you got me thinking… What would I say to my 10-year-old self? (Once April is over maybe I’ll explore that ;) )

    Thanks for stopping over at Quiet Laughter earlier; I’m really looking forward to your feedback as a linguistics enthusiast. Papiamentu fascinates me because of its mélange nature… And how cool is it you’ve actually been to Curaçao? And to dive! So few people I talk to have even heard of this island that hearing you’ve been here totally made my day :D

    Liked by 2 people

    • It could also work for older ages, but when I wrote this piece originally I was 15 and 10 was the closest milestone age. But it’s a fun prompt regardless and you should try it! I’m happy I found your blog today! I apparently had found your Twitter earlier this week but didn’t make it to your blog. A happy accident I suppose!


    • I’ll be 19 in June, so she and I are about the same age! I wonder how your older daughter’s advice to her sister would be the same/different as her advice to her younger self. Good luck on A-Z! I’ll drop by at some point tomorrow :)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Right on! That is an incredibly mature piece of 16-year-old writing, and I love, love, love the photos at the end.The part about taking the risks and making the most of everything is my favorite part, and what a last line!

    (By the way, I started right after myself on the list this morning, but David started up here because you are our earliest appearing friend, unless we missed someone. I am trailing him tonight and trying to get in sync so we’re visiting at least some of the same blogs, and trying to get through the first hundred as quick as I can. ;-) )

    Always about the world domination :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That is an amazing application essay for college. I would have accepted you, too! Fantastic. My own was not as fun…. sort of a summation of a life lived on the road for a year, whatever, and my fascination with kanji characters. I remember having to redo the essay because a side reader asked if the application was for ME or my FATHER… :D I’d realized I’d spent more time talking about him than myself, haha!

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    Out of Print, Fiction authors and their shorts

    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent! My college application essay was a fictionalized account of “a day in my life”.. I may have to give sharing it a try some time.
    I can see why yours worked! Very nice!


    • You absolutely should! Yes, it’s in April every year. There’s also NaBloPoMo (the blogging answer to November’s NaNoWriMo) that I participated in last year and intend to this year as well :) it’s a lot of fun!


  9. Pingback: On The #AtoZChallenge | Victim to Charm

  10. Pingback: The Prompt Box | Victim to Charm

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