My two UNC Chapel Hill Essays:

I’ve already submitted them so it’s too late to change anything, just looking for thoughts.

250 Word essay: The philospher Will Durant said, “Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” What do you hope your education will enable you to discover about your own ignorance?

My brain and my stomach are engaged in an ongoing battle of wills. No matter how insistently my brain tells me that I need to set up an interview or follow up on a lead, my stomach throws a fit. The contrasting elements of debilitating shyness and a deep love of journalism are an unfortunate combination for me. Every time I sit down with someone for an interview, I struggle furiously to keep my hands steady and my voice level, all the while attempting to ask the question I need answered.

An important part of my education has come through working on my school’s newspaper, where I am forced to transcend my self-imposed, artificial limits. Despite three successful years in the program, I’m still terrified of looking stupid or letting my fellow staff members down. Yet every month I’m getting the stories and running the paper, despite the perceived risks. I hope that my education will teach me that I’m ignorant about how far I can go to become a great journalist.

My ignorance comes from not knowing how much more I can learn; how fine a journalist I can be. My education will provide me with the answers to these deeply personal questions, the skills I need to achieve my professional goals, and the confidence to trust that I can overcome my innate shyness. I know that, for the sake of my conscience, I will do everything in my power to accomplish my very worthy goals.


500 Word essay: Robert Frost said, “You are educated when you have the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence.” Please tell us about an experience - either yours or someone else’s - that either supports or contradicts Frost’s statement.

My fingers tremble as I reach for the sleek black receiver. The person on the other end of this phone is not going to like what I’m about to say to him. If I get through the call without being yelled at, it will feel like a small victory.
Ring, ring.


“Hi, my name is Andrew Danies, and I’m volunteering for Brian Cronin in his District 19 State House of Representatives campaign.”

“…Brian Cronin? Is he a Republican or Democrat?”

“Well, he’s a Democ-”


This exchange was repeated over and over while I was on the campaign trail for the first political candidate for whom I’ve ever believed in enough to volunteer. Brian Cronin is an energetic young communications director with an idealistic spark in his eyes and an infectious smile. I first heard him at a Young Progressives Club meeting, and I was instantly inspired to do everything I could to get this man elected. I realized this was Idaho, and he had relatively no chance of winning, based on the simple fact that he came with a “D” behind his name. It didn’t matter that he’d been working in public service for years or that he was a respected philanthropist and effective communicator. As long as he was a Democrat, he was never going to be elected in Idaho. However, I felt I had a moral obligation to do everything I could to champion his worthy cause.

My hair is still growing back in places where I had ripped it out, infuriated that no matter what I said or did, some people were totally unwilling to listen. I was talking to an entire population of brick walls. Just when I was about to give up hope on the entire state, something occurred to me: If someone called me endorsing a Republican candidate, would I listen? I was so dedicated to Cronin’s cause that I had lost the willingness to see the other side of the issue. I went from righteous fury to devastation in seconds. I stared at the next number on my list for what seemed like hours. I felt like such a fraud. How could I possibly tell these people to have an open mind when I was completely unwilling to hear the other side’s argument?

As I sat contemplating my own failings, I realized that I was not as educated and open-minded as I believed myself to be. I had thought of myself as some great informer who was enlightening the mindless masses, truly believing that anyone who disagreed was either ignorant or heartless. Robert Frost was right; I was not educated because I couldn’t listen to anything that disagreed with what I believed without losing my temper or my self-confidence. I realized that instead of telling people what they should think, I should try to understand what they do think, and why they think the way they do.

I picked up the receiver and dialed the next number. I don’t remember if I was able to convince the voter that Brian Cronin was the right candidate, but at least I now understood that if I couldn’t, I knew exactly why.

<p>good luck at UNC. great school. love your 2nd essay, i didn't read the first b/c i'm applying to UNC and didn't want to see what you wrote for that! im weird...haha.</p>

<p>Your second essay is quite engaging. The small section of dialogue is perfect as is the constant action as opposed to discussion of ideas (this is lacking the first one). If you are looking for confirmation that your essays are great...well, they are!</p>

<p>"If you are looking for confirmation that your essays are great...well, they are!"</p>

<p>Thank you very much! I agree that the second essay is stronger. 250 words is not a lot to tell a story, so I had much more trouble with that.</p>

<p>Okay, with those two essays and these stats:</p>

<p>White, Idahoan male</p>

<p>GPA: 3.972 (On an unweighted, A = 4 scale. Basically this means I've had one B in all of high school, damn Algebra)</p>

<p>Class rank: 13 of 417 at a large, well regarded public high school.</p>

<p>SAT: 1300 Math: 570/Verbal: 730(First try, I'm taking it again on Nov.6 and once more on Dec. 4)</p>

National Honor Society
Young Progressives Club (President)
Newspaper (Editor-in-Chief)
Earth Club
Japan Club (Vice-Prez)</p>

<p>AP Classes:
AP US History (5)
AP English Lit/Comp
AP Macroeconomics
AP American Government</p>

<p>Also an avid cyclist who has ridden the Seattle to Portland (200 miles in 2 days) Bicycle Classic the last two years.</p>

<p>Does anybody think I have a shot at getting in?</p>

<p>I definitely think you have a chance in getting in, although perhaps get the SAT score to 1400? Otherwise, I think you are fine. Are you in-state?</p>

<p>No, "White, Idahoan male"</p>


<p>You're from Idaho!!! BROTHER!!!! where do you llive? i live in Idaho Falls!</p>

<p>Im applying to UNC also!</p>

<p>your gpa is a lot higher, but my SAT is a tiny bit have excellent essays! i hope we both get in!!</p>

<p>I go to Eagle, live in Meridian. That's so cool that we both want to go to UNC. IF? Awesome, we love beating you guys in sports!</p>

<p>I'd love to see you in Chapel Hill if I get in! Good luck!</p>

<p>lol. yea same to you! (just wait. we will beat you. i will play singles or something in tennis, and win state...)(not)</p>

<p>Bump, if anyone wants to take a look and give me their thoughts, feel free.</p>


<p>Good? Bad? Otherwise?</p>

<p>i like your essays. they are way good! You will have to read my rewrites of my essays when i am done with them. :-)</p>

<p>Thanks. My neighbor is a Prof. at Albertson's College of Idaho (well, not right now she just had a daughter) and she said she'd read all my essays for me. Her comments were excellent, I definitely reccomend giving your essay to anyone who will take it.</p>

<p>I feel kinda dirty bumping my own topics all these times.</p>

<p>Oh, well...</p>

<p>Last bump, I promise!</p>

<p>Generally the 1300 would be too low for an out-of-state student, but the Idaho thing could make a big difference.</p>

<p>I liked both essays. You are a good writer. However, I would not dwell too much on the word 'ignorance' as much as you did in the short essay.</p>

<p>"My ignorance comes from not knowing how much more I can learn; how fine a journalist I can be."</p>

<p>I don't understand it either. How about making it a positive message.
How about:
"I would like to explore myself as an individual and look at areas where I think I need reinforcement; for example, my shyness which tends to overcome me at times. I would like to think that there is no limit to what I can do when I am determined to do it."
Then the last few sentences after that make sense. I would remove the words 'my very worthy' from the last sentence. You should let your readers determine if it is a very worth goal.</p>

<p>The last sentence of your long essay does not make sense. It needs more explanation.</p>

<p>Well, I take that back; it makes sense but it would be nice if you could be more explicit.</p>

<p>One more comment about the short essay:
"I know that, for the sake of my conscience, I will do everything in my power to accomplish my very worthy goals."</p>

<p>I don't understand why it is for the sake of your conscience. I would just remove the entire sentence. It does not add anything of value to the essay.</p>

<p>Anyway, good luck, you are a good writer and I liked your essays!</p>

<p>Good luck Andrew..its really hard to get in from out of state so make sure you pick a lot of other schools as its tough to get in. You do have an advantage being male but unless you have a hook you will really need to bump up that SAT alot.</p>