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Erica DeMichiel Headshot

Common-App-enstein

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Night after night, I spent countless hours staring at a blank computer monitor. Why did I want to go to these colleges? They were in locations I quite frankly dismissed. Although they all offered interesting courses, there was nothing that especially intrigued me. But my parents and guidance counselor insisted I needed more options and that these schools could provide fantastic opportunities for me. I would have none of this.

One night, I snapped. In my fit of stress, I vowed to create a monster that could be programmed as the ideal college applicant: diligent, cerebral, outgoing, and, of course, very persuasive as an essayist. Never again would I suffer from writer's block!

With my advanced laboratory skills, thanks to my science research teacher, I set about building the monster. After weeks of my tinkering and assembling into the wee hours of the night, it was finally ready to be brought to life. For good measure, I pulled an Ivy League sweatshirt over its perfectly coiffed hair, and I gave it a pair of incredibly intellectual-looking glasses. I flipped the switch, and I stood in awe in front of my creation.

It was about six feet in height, with extremely wide, hypnotizing eyes. But the eyes weren't even its most striking feature. Its posture was absolutely stunning, just like any overly-confident college applicant's should be. It stuck out its hand to grasp mine. Naturally, it had a perfect handshake. If only it could have been there to help me prepare for my first college interview.

Once it let go of me, it crossed the room and sat at my computer. Peering over its shoulder, I saw it quickly type in a URL that was all too familiar to me: www.commonapp.org. To my surprise, it immediately started filling out every single one of the supplemental essays I had been puzzling over for the past three months. It worked rapidly, yet its grammar was impeccable. Somehow, I had endowed it with a supernatural knowledge of every college campus in the United States. Silently, I wondered how it knew the names of all the college founders when, in fact, it had never experienced a college information session or campus tour before. Once it had its fill for the evening, it slumbered on my closet floor, using an SAT book as its pillow and stacks of looseleaf paper as its blanket.

A week went by without a hitch. But I quickly noticed a flaw in its design. It lacked the ability to trust. More specifically, it lacked the ability to trust me. After accessing my Common App account and all of my accounts associated with it, it changed my passwords. I was cursed with guilt, and I no longer had control over the only college application process I would (hopefully) ever go through. I worried that my parents would find out what I had done. Would they be impressed by my newfound engineering skills, or terrified by my creation?

I was determined to deactivate the monster. Thinking quickly, I remembered the one academic talent I had failed to bestow upon my creation: the ability to do math. I grabbed my TI-89 calculator from my desk, crept over to where the monster slept, and woke it up. Handing it the calculator and my math textbook, it attempted to do the problem I had shown it. To my excitement, its systems were overwhelmed, and the beast spontaneously combusted.

With a glance at the smoldering embers, I realized I still didn't know any of my passwords.