Unless they're a practiced YouTube star, going viral can be a terrifying experience for a high school student. The infamy, the notoriety--knowing that millions are now aware of something you did, something you said.
It could end your career before it even gets started.
Your chances at getting into the school of your choice might be over.
For years, it'll be the top search engine result every time someone searches for your name.
You'll never live it down.
Thankfully, high school senior Brittany Stinson went viral for all the right reasons. The Concord High School student learned April 1st she'd been accepted to five ivy league schools, thanks to her creative, eccentric admissions essay.
Yale, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth and Cornell ALL said yes. So did Stanford. The acceptance rates of these schools range from 13.96% to just 4.69%.
Now, it wasn't just her essay, of course. Her SAT scores are in the high 90s percentile, and she's set to graduate as class valedictorian. But plenty of other students are academically outstanding candidates, as well.
Still, the sweeping acceptance by top schools threw Stinson right into the middle of the raging holistic admissions debate. Should factors like cultural identity, background and perceived character be considered alongside more traditional metrics like extracurricular involvement, grades and test scores in admissions? Some have panned Stinson's essay, even calling it ridiculous or silly, holding it up as an example of the inefficacy of holistic admissions.
Stinson isn't too bothered, telling Quartz, "I thought that this essay was a genuine representation of myself: I'm a sarcastic, dorky weirdo with a passion for science and I tried to demonstrate that I'm the kind of person who finds meaning in seemingly ordinary things."
Obviously, the college admissions committees saw the potential in bringing a "dorky weirdo" (who also happens to be an academic and extracurricular overachiever) into their folds.
Online audiences have loved the essay, too. Since it was posted on Business Insider, Stinson's essay has been read over 1.4 million times and shared on social channels by over 77,000 people.
So what was all the fuss about? Well... it's an essay about Costco. Not a business case, mind you. It's a story about Stinson's experience as a young girl, shopping with her mother at Costco. It begins:
"Managing to break free from my mother's grasp, I charged. With arms flailing and chubby legs fluttering beneath me, I was the ferocious two year old rampaging through Costco on a Saturday morning. My mother's eyes widened in horror as I jettisoned my churro; the cinnamon-sugar rocket gracefully sliced its way through the air while I continued my spree. I sprinted through the aisles, looking up in awe at the massive bulk products that towered over me. Overcome with wonder, I wanted to touch and taste, to stick my head into industrial-sized freezers, to explore every crevice. I was a conquistador, but rather than searching the land for El Dorado, I scoured aisles for free samples. Before inevitably being whisked away into a shopping cart, I scaled a mountain of plush toys and surveyed the expanse that lay before me: the kingdom of Costco."
Seriously, it's pretty awesome. I think it's way more creative than your run-of-the-mill college admissions essay.
But is it admissions material?
Read the full essay at Business Insider and let me know what you think: should college admissions committees consider factors outside of grades, test scores and extracurriculars as they decide which students they'll invite into their hallowed halls? Sound off in the comments.