An essay by faculty member Robin Romm appears at Gulf Coast:

Recently, I was talking to my friend, Camas, at a party when the subject of our college admittance essays came up. I haven’t done a lot of thinking about this particular bit of writing in the past two decades, though at the time, it certainly loomed large. Camas and I had the same English teacher our senior year. Ms. Barbini was a rail-thin woman whose life had dealt her many blows, all of which she told us about with alarming forthrightness and frankness.  One of the most severe tragedies Ms. Barbini had undergone was the loss of her sister and brother-in-law in a car accident.  Though she already had a disabled son, she became the guardian of her traumatized niece.  This niece, we were told as we sat in that classroom, waiting for the ding of the buzzer to release us, while many things (a musician, artistic, resilient) was not a good student.  She had outsized ambitions, Ms. Barbini felt, for getting into college. She had her heart set on Reed. With her grades and her SAT scores, she would need to write the end all be all of college essays in order to get in.
I’m going to take a risk and actually tell you what Ms. Barbini told us. You might find it repellent, but the truth is often repellant and writers must be brave.

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