Select viewing preference

Ask the AdCom: How to Get Your Application Trashed

November 12, 2013 :: Admissionado Team

We here at Admissionado don’t like to lecture. We detest finger wagging and speaking in condescending tones. We know that the technique of angrily “trying to teach you a lesson” just doesn’t work, and we’ve got the emotional scars from our third-grade teachers to prove it.

Instead, we’re all about positivity. Rather than lecturing you with a list of everything naughty you shouldn’t do in the application process, we’re going to try something different. We’re going to tell you everything you SHOULD DO… if you want to get your application trashed!*

1. You should definitely… plagiarize.

Let’s face it. Admissions committees (AdComs) have a tough job. They’ve got to sift through thousands of applications in a matter of weeks, painstakingly reviewing each one to figure out who should earn a spot in next year’s freshman class. You can make their job a whole lot easier by just plagiarizing in your application. Steal from wherever you want: works of literature, academic publications, or even this terrific eBook. This way, the AdCom doesn’t have to waste any time on your application. No debate or careful consideration, just a one-way ticket to the garbage bin!

But seriously, plagiarism should be avoided like, well, the plague (think of it as plague-arism?). Even on the smallest level, using words that aren’t your own shows a lack of good judgment and immediately calls your conduct into question. Some applicants think it’s okay to copy and paste a description from a course they’re excited to take into the body of their essay. It’s not. The bottom line is this: all words and thoughts in your application need to come from your own brainbox. If you absolutely must use a quote from somewhere else, make sure to cite the source and give proper credit. On a final technological note, pretty much all applications are submitted electronically, and software that weeds out plagiarism is incredibly effective. So if you decide to plagiarize, don’t plan on getting away with it.

2. You must use… a ghostwriter.

You consider yourself more of a math-minded person and less of a wordsmith. When you write—from research papers to birthday cards—you know the final product is subpar. The best thing to do? Hire someone to do that pesky writing for you! Why should you slave over your essays, when you can just pay someone to do the heavy lifting, and you can get back to what’s important: spending 18 hours a day playing Battlefield 4. By the time the AdCom gets your application, you figure they’re not going to closely read your essays anyway. They’ll probably be too tired and just accept the fact that you’re a genius and you deserve to be accepted… case closed.

But seriously, AdComs are really good at spotting ghostwritten essays; they have a sixth sense for it. They can easily tell when the content or writing style doesn’t match the applicant—i.e. if you’re a math/science person and your essay is written in perfect iambic pentameter. If you’re not super confident in your writing, consider working with an application consultant, like one of your friends here at Admissionado. We won’t write an essay for you; instead, we’ll teach you how to write a compelling essay, and that’s way more valuable.

It’s just like that adage about teaching a man to fish. If you write an applicant’s essay for them, you’ll help them get it tossed in the trash. But if you teach the applicant how to write a great essay, you’ll help them get accepted. See? Same thing as the fish saying.

3. Your letters of recommendation… must not be authentic.

Getting a teacher to write a recommendation on your behalf is really hard! You’ve got to instruct them on how to submit it, let them know when the deadline is, and even write a thank you note after it’s done. UGH! Who wants to go through that rigmarole? The best thing to do is have someone else write it and submit it on the teacher’s behalf. It can be you, a paid service, one of your parents, or even your Aunt Sally. She has loads of good stuff to say about you. When the AdCom reviews the recommendation and realizes that it’s inauthentic, not to mention full of embarrassing personal information, they’ll have no choice but to toss it in the trash. Win!

But seriously, we cannot stress how valuable a genuine recommendation really is. It’s the chance for an adult to vouch for how great you are, and they’ll likely be able to give insights into your character that you alone could not. Just like with ghostwritten essays, forged recommendations are easily spotted by AdComs. They see thousands of them each year, with high numbers coming from foreign applicants. So do yourself a favor and get a teacher, mentor, coach, or boss to write a genuine recommendation on your behalf… and don’t ask to read it, either.

Thanks for checking out these semi-sarcastic Admissionado tips! We sincerely hope your application ends up here and not here.

*DISCLAIMER: We’re clearly being clever here (or trying hard to be). You should obviously do the opposite of the main three points.


By Stephen Black, Admissionado Senior Consultant