Chances Schmances

<p>I went to the communications high school of the Monmouth county vocational school district in NJ. They called it a "career academy" and made it seem prestigious. In fact, every report card said, "All students accepted via a competitive application process and follow the same rigorous course of study…All courses are taught at an honors level." Personally, I didn't think the classes were very difficult and always pointed out that an honors class can only be honors when compared to non-honors classes and that since all of our classes were honors they really weren't honors at all.</p>

<p>I got a 1260 on my SATs and my cumulative GPA for all 4 years was 92.045. (92 or above was an A+ in our classes.) They didn't do class rank, so I wouldn't be able to say how I compared to my peers. I was, however, VP and co-president of my student council and wrote for the school newspaper. I graduated in 2005.</p>

<p>Instead of trying hard in school, I focused on becoming a humor writer. I had a zine, was profiled by the local newspaper, was published online, and was featured in The Best of McSweeney's Humor Edition by Vintage Press. At 17 I started interviewing comedy makers about making comedy and would go on to have my work featured online and in print in such venues as Time Out New York, NY Press, Philly City Paper, and Pittsburgh City Paper. In 2007 my work was nominated for an award in the field of best comedic commentary by the Emerging Comics of New York. I am currently in the process of branching out from entertainment writing to socio-political and cultural commentary, investigative reporting, and the sort of pieces where one has experiences and writes about them, like Hunter S. Thompson or David Rakoff. I think I'd make a good contributor to a school's news and humor publications.</p>

<p>During my time away from academia, I took a humor writing workshop, performed stand up, took Improv classes, and produced a comedy show. I got a lot of first hand experience that was useful in my writing and provided me with invaluable contacts.</p>

<p>Last year, at 20, I started going to community college. I'm a philosophy/creative writing double major, but I'm holding off on creative writing classes until I get to a 4 year school since I don't want to give feedback on stories about wizards that are illustrated by large-breasted anime vixens. My GPA is 3.88 and I take mostly philosophy, honors classes, and independent studies. I'm 21 now. I have been on the dean's list for both the spring and the fall (they don't have it during the summers). I am also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honors society for 2-year colleges. I think I would be a good contribution to a school's philosophy and creative writing department.</p>

<p>I did a co-op in the fall semester for an entertainment oriented website as well, conducting interviews with many irrelevant celebrities both famous and non-famous, including Ashley Simpson, Lewis Black, and Dave Navarro. I also got to speak with a lot of people I personally enjoyed, despite the fact that readers had never heard of them, such as Saul Williams, Mike Patton, Daniel Johns from Silverchair, Spike Feresten, and Crispin Glover.</p>

<p>I am also a first generation American, with my parents emigrating from the Soviet Union in the late 80's.</p>

<p>I feel that these reasons as well as my ability to discern when to use emigrating rather than immigrating make me a good transfer candidate for an institution such as Columbia School of General Studies. What thinks you?</p>

<p>Hi Keith,</p>

<p>I wasn't sure whether or not your post was part of your GS essay. If not, it should be! That is the kind of stuff they eat up. You've done all sorts of interesting things. I'd been a secretary for years and got back into writing, photography and added web design through working on my own sites. I talked about how I knew it was time to pursue a BA in writing at Columbia (following in the footsteps of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston (Barnard) and the Beats) because people wrote to thank me for writing on certain topics and I received feedback from as far away as the United Arab Emirates. So I knew I had something to say and people who wanted to hear it.</p>

<p>I recommend polishing this post and using that as your essay, if you have not already written it. You have done some interesting things, to say the least, and you'll bring interesting perspectives to your work at Columbia (stand up/humor, first generation American, language, philosophy, etc.). You're exactly who GS wants.</p>

<p>I wish you luck and feel free to write me privately if you have any questions.</p>

GS'06 Alum</p>

<p>I meant to mention that Hunter S. Thompson is a GS alum, so if he's one of your heroes/inspirations, by all means, mention that.</p>

<p>ColumbiaInsider: I'm impressed -- a 2006 graduate who knows about Johnny Mathis. (Although the song's line is "awfully good" and not "pretty good," it is close enough.)</p>

<p>Can I post my essay? I wanted to, but was uncomfortable.</p>

<p>David Rakoff is also a graduate! I didn't include that one part in my essay! :-(</p>

<p>Maybe I should do a piece on my attempts to get into U Penn and Columbia for a newspaper.</p>

<p>Do not post your essay or any other sensitive on this sight! People will steal your idea. PM it to someone like a parent to read but not just any random person. That person has to have had a history of good background on this sight (i.e. helping others with essay, giving great advice etc.)</p>

<p>Good suggestion. I already sent in my Columbia essay, but not my Penn one. Thanks for some nice comments!</p>

<p>I just got a phone call that said that I was admitted! Hooray. Now let's see how much money I don't get. I had a dream where they said, "You were accepted, but tuition is a million dollars." I asked if there was any financial aid, but they said at that high a price it wouldn't matter.</p>