The Quest of the Application

(An Epic Poem by Tom)

’Twas winter of 2009,
The days were short; the air was chill,
And high school seniors ’cross the land
From months of work at last were still.

For applications now were done,
And colleges, both far and near,
Would soon receive these many apps
To choose their students for the year.

One application there was come
By lightning speeds of cyberspace
To Richmond, Univers’ty fair
(A most unique and wondrous place!)

It came to tell a student’s tale,
To represent that student best;
Its purpose true was high and fair:
To stand out from among the rest.

The app was loaded down to a
Computer in Admissions’ care,
Was printed out on paper white
In jet-black ink, and, then and there,

A folder for it was created,
Of manila, thick but drab,
And, before the pace abated,
Was fixed a label to the tab

With student’s name and high school CEEB
And other sundry bits of fact.
The first main task was now complete:
It had arrived, and was intact.

The staff next took the file new
And placed it carefully away
In file cabinets tall and deep,
Where it reposed for several days.

’Twixt myriads of other apps,
In alphabetical array,
Our app made ready for the test
That was to come – quite soon – its way.

And yet it was not quite prepared
To face this next and higher test,
Until some allies came along
To aid it in its noble quest.

First came the transcript, stark and strong,
Wherein was writ in symbols plain
A record of the students’ work –
The courses and the grades explained.

And with it came a profile dense
To give the context of the school
With distributions, course descriptions,
And class rank (a helpful tool).

Next followed letters, warm and bright,
From teachers, counselors, and such,
Which made complete and gave the app
A personal and knowing touch.

The file complete, it was not long
Ere, hast’ning with no more delays,
’Twas taken from its drawer and placed
Before the regional reader’s gaze.

The app was ope’d, and then began
The thorough, careful, thoughtful read
Which ’compassed factors numerous
(O high school juniors, here take heed!)

For high school grades were first observed
And strength of courses whence they came –
The rigor and the outcome both
To balance was the reader’s aim.

And context here was giv’n much thought,
In which the noble profile true
Played vital part, and by its side
The counselor’s letter aided too.

The reader noted testing next
(The SAT or ACT,
Wheree’er the strongest scores were found)
And then proceeded on to the

Involvement beyond classroom walls
(Not just school clubs, but everything
To which the student time, investment,
And commitment true did bring).

A resume proved helpful in
Consideration of these facts,
As did a well-writ essay which
Did evidence, by thoughtful tact,

The student’s passions, dreams, and goals,
A sense of personality,
Experiences that shaped their life –
All in a word: identity.

The helpful letters (three at most)
Confirmed the picture, near complete,
Of who this student was, and what
Might earn them in the class a seat.

All this, and more, the reader saw,
And detailed notes were written out,
To highlight and to summarize
What made this applicant stand out.

’Twas not the best had e’er been read,
Nor yet the worst in any way –
But strong it told its tale unique
And held its own upon that day.

And soon a second reader gave
The file another thorough look;
Again a picture full was formed,
Again the careful notes were took.

Now read twice o’er, twice summarized,
The app returned to cabinets tall,
’Til to one final room it went
To face the highest test of all.

There, seated ’round a table wide,
The whole committee held its sway,
And heard the tales numerous
That came before its board that day.

Our app’s turn came, and first it was
By its first reader summarized:
The app described, the highlights shared,
The grades and numbers analyzed;

The strong involvement was discussed,
And portions of the essay quoted –
All the while, the second reader’s
Thoughts and comments too were noted.

Then came the questions, one by one,
From those around the table seated.
Thorough answers were supplied,
Before decisions firm were meted.

Each officer, with thought unique,
Did bring a different aspect to
Discussion of the candidate,
And time was taken for each view.

A truer, fuller picture thus
Was for the officers supplied,
And soon committee’s time had come
About this student to decide.

The grades were strong, the rigor too,
And strength did all the rest display.
Now came the moment long in store –
It was accepted! Joyous day!

Its quest complete, the app rejoiced,
And waited on financial aid,
Which quickly came, and soon enough
The student had deposit made.

And now the quest was truly done:
The app knew that its student fine,
Would join it there at Richmond fair
In August of 2009.


  1. Posted March 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

  2. Virginia Page
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Tom, you should really try to get this published somewhere. I’m sure any -ACAC newsletter would just love it!

  3. Silviya
    Posted March 7, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    that was great 🙂

    • Tom
      Posted March 11, 2009 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      If you enjoyed this creative take on the admission process, you can also check out last year’s first-person narrative Memoirs of an Application. It doesn’t rhyme, but it’s a lot less verbose!

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: