Actual College Essays I’ve Had to Read, and Grade

Actual College Essays I’ve Had to Read, and Grade

1.     An argumentative research essay on why Bigfoot exists. This student sought to use two dissertations from the Pacific Northwest and about 35 hours of footage from some Sci-Fi show to prove once and for all that she had no social life.

2.     A “how-to” essay on making open-faced sandwiches. I’ll save any witty commentary about No Child Left Behind to simply say reasons three through five basically consisted of pouring crumpled up Lays potato chips onto slices of bread.

3.     A review essay on hair straighteners. I gained valuable insights into the furious passions of 19-year-old former J.C. Penney’s models when I mistakenly asked how her essay on “curling irons” was going. “Straightener!” She barked and then tragically shoved her Rose Art folder onto the ground.

4.     An informative essay on why George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” is Satanic. This essay was actually a lot more boring than one would initially expect, until she put out there the surprising revelation that “Hari Krishna” is actually a demonic spirit who preys on 14-year-old girls with a taste for 1970s singer-songwriters.

5.     A literacy narrative on under-age drinking. This one could be an insider’s paradise, but the title “literacy narrative” would (you’d think) tell the students that the essay should somehow involve WORDS. In the second draft, this student included an interesting bit about reading the back of a Coors Light can to bring home his run-of-the-mill-binge-drinking story’s connection to the development of language skills.

6.     Analysis/synthesis of why global warming is a HOAX. Bore. Next please. Medical marijuana, anyone?

7.     A two-page, hand-written screed on why America is a Christian nation. “Don’t have access to a computer, huh?” “Nope.” “Oh ok. Didya know Jefferson owned slaves? Is that a good Christian thing to do?” “Well, he’s only one of the Founding Fathers.” “Aha, right. Valid point. Please don’t shoot me.”

8.     A personal narrative on “Sunday Night Softball League.” Fascinatingly, in the epic conclusion, after flying through McDonald’s drive-thru for his kid, getting to the game on time, playing shortstop (!), and winning the championship (!!!), he GOT TIME TO FINISH HIS CHEMISTRY HOMEWORK!!! OHMYGOD@#%!! (Fake crowd noise)

9.     A formal business report on how to fire former Vikings Coach Brad Childress. This guy, unfortunately, was serious. He even laminated the fucking thing.

10. A review essay on the benefits of Scandinavian death metal that slowly, but surely turned into a reductive denunciation of everyone on the planet’s taste in music, save for a few rogue, sallow-eyed skinheads sucking flesh in some Oslo basement. He had actually gotten into the college class as a freshman, so after some stern talking-over about “academic tone,” “focused thesis statements,” and “not bringing your guitar to class cuz it takes up much-needed desk space,” he formally dropped the class, but continued showing up every morning at 7 to keep learning/scare the shit out of me.

Dunstan McGill