The Best College Essay Ever

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Playing a crudely fashioned bamboo pipe, in the midst of sullen inmates—this is how I envision my grandfather.

Never giving up hope, he played every evening to replace images of bloodshed with memories of loved ones at home.

Unsatisfied, I would scamper away to find his battered bamboo flute, and this time, with my eyes, silently beg him to play.

Although I struggled to communicate clearly through Chinese, in these moments, no words were necessary.

With the top applicants from every high school applying to the best schools in the country, it's important to have an edge in your college application. Because to me, there was only one "it," and "it" was a little less than two thousand miles west, an unassuming little office building located amidst a cluster of similarly unassuming little office buildings, distinguishable from one another on the outside only by the rusted numbers nailed to each door.

These are 10 Harvard application essays and profiles from students who made it in. Inside, crude photocopies of students' artwork plastered the once white walls.

Indeed, not only does this essay document Bobby’s development from child to young adult, but Bobby’s art also matures from something orderly and superficial to something abstract and deeply meaningful.

What separates Bobby’s essay from a well-written story, however, is the subtextual narrative it provides the reader.

Though, on the surface, Bobby’s essay explores the contrast between the abstractness of his art and the order of rest of his life, it also mirrors the history of art itself.

Just as Bobby the old artist had “the proportions just right, the contrast perfected” in his sketchbook, so too did the painters of the Renaissance work tirelessly to master perspective—to make art seem as realistic as possible.

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