“A Dramatic Coup” by Fareez Giga - Talent

50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays - Tanabe Gen, Tanabe Kelly 2009

“A Dramatic Coup” by Fareez Giga

Stanford University

I sat there, stunned for an instant, and then jumped as high as I could and screamed as loud as my voice would allow. Blood rushed through my entire body, while the butterflies in my stomach finally flew away. I had just received my LAMDA Diploma with Honors, a task that has only been done by one person before me. LAMDA, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, comes to my high school, as well as others in the states, and gives what are essentially acting exams. In these exams, you must perform a series of monologues, and to receive the Diploma you must perform four five-minute monologues, one pre-1910, one post-1980, one Shakespearean, and one of your choice. I had worked for weeks on my monologues, perfecting them as much as I could, staying after school, working at lunch, even at home, despite the shouting by my sister for me to stop. When it came time to perform, I was incredibly nervous; however, after I came out of my performance, I lingered outside the theater, waiting upon my results, and when they came, I was astounded. not only was I able to pass my exam, but also I came out of it with greater knowledge of theater than I had when I started. I learned a great deal from taking these various exams, most notably the age old lesson that hard work does pay off.

The personal splendor I felt was one that I had never felt before, and I live to feel it again.


Fareez shares a meaningful accomplishment in a small space.

He effectively explains the significance of the LAMDA Diploma with Honors—an award that only one other person had received before him—and portrays a sense of jubilation which reveals to the reader his excitement. Fareez then describes how much work went into preparing the four monologues, each from different time periods. Plus he adds detail on how much he worked to perfect them, even humorously revealing that his sister begged him to stop. He concludes with the greater meaning that he learned from the experience, that hard work pays off.

In this limited part of the application, Fareez accomplishes a lot and touches on all the elements that highlight the achievement as well as positive aspects of his personality. It’s important to remember that admissions officers will not know the significance of most awards unless you tell them. Describe how few people receive the award or how selective the competition is. Briefly explain the amount of work that was involved or how difficult it was to prepare. Then, put the award into perspective. What did you learn from winning? How can you apply what you learned to your future endeavors? Why was winning important to you? If you write about receiving an award, it’s important to do more than just state that you did. You should also give context to the honor.