Wake Forest University Admission Essay: about Academics

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Essay Topic: Academics

Essay by Anne R. Sykes

What would you do if you were given a year to spend any way you wish?If I could have an entire year to do anything I pleased, I would spend it indulging myself in every book that years of required reading have prevented.

I have a long history of sneaking my pleasure reading; as a tenyear-old, my parents often caught me awake long after bedtime with a flashlight and an Anne of Green Gables book. More recently, my mother, knowing my weakness, actually bribed me with a stack of books from her book-club list—one book for every college essay I finished. With a whole year to read the books I choose, I could finally be open about my "habit."

Reading provides me a way to learn and to escape. I can read Reviving Ophelia and learn about the development of adolescent girls, a subject that fascinates me. I can read Anna Karenina (which I've been trying to finish for the last three years) and be transported to 19th-century Russia. I can finally find out why my sister laughs out loud when she reads David Sedaris's latest collection of stories. It's thrilling to me that just by opening a book, I can visit a faraway place, learn something entirely new, or simply forget the details of my everyday life for an hour or so.

While I don't deny that I've gained much knowledge through the reading I've done in school, with a year off to read the books I want I could not only expand my mind further—I could finally find out what happens to Anna and Count Vronsky!

Anne R. Sykes attends Wake Forest University.

Essay Review

A Clinic on How to Be Concise

The ability to write to a word limit can be an important skill in college admissions, and author Annie Sykes offers a superb example with the following essay. The question is Princeton's and calls for a "brief essay of about 250 words." In a mere 254 words, Annie gives a real sense for her love of reading as she packs in specific references to a variety of books and authors. Her kicker to end the essay is particularly deft; Anna and Count Vronsky are characters from Anna Karenina, a Tolstoy novel generally considered superior to his more famous War and Peace.

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