College of William and Mary Application Essay on Academics:This Is My Signature, This Is My Name

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Application Essay on Academics

"This Is My Signature, This Is My Name" by Caroline Fulford

Call me eccentric, but I've always thought libraries are some of the noisiest places on earth. The patrons may be polite and scholarly as they go about their business, but the books themselves make quite a racket. They whisper and murmur on the shelves, promising adventure, knowledge and the meaning of life to anyone perusing them. Their stories echo across time and space in the voices of their authors, the men and women who one day touched pen to paper and said to the world, "This is what I think."

Literature not only immortalizes the names of its authors, but their minds and hearts, in a way that no other art form can. When I open a book, the words I read flow from inside a person I have never met but can commune with, regardless of little things like death or distance. The author's thoughts exist in an eternal present, never to fade away like their mortal creator.

I remember the first time I saw my name in print. Under an amusing little poem I had written was typed my name, in small black letters with my graduation year. I flipped back to the Table of Contents page to see it again, listed alongside the works I had contributed. I smiled and blushed with pride. Granted, it was in a high school literary magazine, but the feeling was just as profound, I think, as if it had been in The New York Times. Even now, I look for that first issue in my school library and wonder if another girl, sometime in the future, will stumble upon my words and hear my voice, speaking to her from across time. My thoughts would gain new life in her, no matter how long it had been since I expressed them.

More permanent than a signature and more enduring than a headstone, literature allows the human heart and mind to express themselves and to forever nurture the hearts and minds of the future. To put one's thoughts on paper is to overcome death.

Caroline Fulford attends College of William and Mary.

Essay Review

Hearing voices in the library

For admissions officers reading essay after long-winded essay, Caroline Fulford's taut meditation on the printed word was undoubtedly a godsend. In her world, books speak—literally. Her essay is at turns playful and reflective, but it consistently highlights her reverence for books. She uses precise vocabulary without cramming in big words. The last sentence of her first paragraph is a beauty, but of the thirty-four words in it, the two longest ones are "authors" and "touched." Powered by verbs like "whisper," "echo," "flow," and "flipped," the essay forges ahead without unnecessary adjective detours. The point of the title becomes clear only at the end—a subtle touch that helps maintain interest.

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