View Full Version : Poker and College Essays

11-28-2004, 06:30 AM
Anyone think it's a bad idea to write about playing poker in your college essay?

11-28-2004, 06:33 AM
I do

La Brujita
11-28-2004, 11:07 AM
I think it is a pretty bad idea. If the essay gets in the hands of someone who doesn't like gambling your chances of acceptance have gone down.

If you write about how you love to mow the grass there is a much lower chance of it being read by a grass lover who hates grass cutters.

11-28-2004, 11:59 AM
FWIW I am doing my dissertation next year on game theory and will no doubt bring poker into it a fair bit. Though not about my playing.

11-28-2004, 02:11 PM
Very funny and good response, Brujita.

11-28-2004, 02:26 PM
I think writing about poker is probably -AV. At the very least it's bound to increase your variance.
You don't at all need to write about how amazing you are. I wrote about missing my grandmother's tasty cooking. And yes, I got in.
Whatever the colleges may say, I think for most of them your grades & scores are more important. The interview also matters, and you'll have to talk about your essay...so whatever topic you choose, make sure it's one you can talk about with enthusiasm and clarity, and without sounding like an [censored].

11-28-2004, 03:29 PM
Depends what school you're applying to. If you've got a 4.0 and a 1400 and you're applying to some crap school, you could write about how you like to play your penis as a guitar and most likely they won't even read your essay. However if you want to go to a good school I'd stick to some inspirational bullshit as a story.

11-28-2004, 03:45 PM
If you were talking about a college entrance essay -- it seems people here are thinking so -- I would think about doing something related to charity or community mindedness. Especially if you can make it not tiresome but have a feeling of being committed and excited. Charity and such are HUGE to a lot of people, defining in their minds a whole different and superior class of people, and will make many people have a high opinion of you whether they even like the essay or not. So it's a double whammy in your favor. It's a lot harder to look negatively in any way at your essay when they like or admire you already, and have already set you apart from the pack in their minds. Being a dedicated carebear is very, very +EV. As long as you don't sound too much like you're giving one of those inane "Miss America" speeches about how we should all come together and learn to love wildebeests or something.

11-28-2004, 03:53 PM
Terrible idea. What does you playing poker contribute to society? In the eyes of colleges not frickin' much. Furthermore, they could construe it as even taking away from other things you could be doing like studying, participating in campus groups, volunteer work, etcetera. Now we all know there is plenty of time in the day for you to do poker as well as these other things if you put your mind to it, but these are the kind of things they'll be thinking about. Would you write in your essay about how much you love video games?

You would have to have a helluva damn good reason to find a spot for poker to fit into a college entrance essay.

11-28-2004, 07:55 PM
Depends what school you're applying to. If you've got a 4.0 and a 1400 and you're applying to some crap school, you could write about how you like to play your penis as a guitar and most likely they won't even read your essay. However if you want to go to a good school I'd stick to some inspirational bullshit as a story.

[/ QUOTE ]He is already in college.

If you are writing about poker in general, its not a bad idea, if you are writing about you playing poker, then it would be a bad idea depending on who your teacher is.

11-28-2004, 07:58 PM
If he's already in college than I think its definitely teacher dependant. I've written about it in the past and its been fine.

11-28-2004, 08:12 PM
I have also written about me being a poker player for college and the professor was very intrigued by it.

11-29-2004, 01:02 AM
actually for clarification this is for admissions

11-29-2004, 01:40 AM
From what I was told during the application boot camp my prep school put us through, the essay can't help you that much, but it can hurt you.

Unless you have a great story to tell about saving a building full of nuns from a fire or feeding orphans or something, writing a bland essay that shows you can put a sentence together is better than writing about something that could make admissions officers nervous.

Incidentally, Scrubette's younger brother was telling us about a talk that Stanford's dean of admissions gave his RA group last week during Thanksgiving, and he said that the admissions director claimed that one of the main uses of the essay was to help "identify potential wierdos." I think she was talking about kids who wouldn't be able to handle the social aspect of college, but a potential gambling problem would probably fall in there too...


11-29-2004, 02:13 AM
There is one advantage to writing about poker that many of you have overlooked. That is the fact that you enjoy it. Alnog with the fact that you will probaly enjoy writing about it more than say... an essay on punctuation marks and their place in proper english. I have always found that when I write about topics I'm interested in my finished product is of a much higher quality. Now, I'm not saying your professor will approve of your topic, but am saying that it will more than likely be of a satisfactory composition.

11-29-2004, 02:28 AM
Well, there's certainly a risk involved with writing about poker, but there are definitely ways that you can make it very pleasing to an admissions director. Before I go into my explanation, let me preface this by saying that my college essay was about how James Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" gave me a love of learning. So don't let anyone tell you that a bullshit essay won't help you get into the school you want. As long as it's written well and doesn't SOUND like bullshit, it should be good.

Anyway, there are definitely aspects of poker playing that a college admissions officer would like to see in a potential applicant. If you write "I play poker for hours a day. I spend most of my free time thinking about poker, and how I can improve my play and make more money," they're probably not going to like it. If you can say "Poker has taught me more than anything else that life is full of disappointment. There will be times when you do everything right, you do everything as best as you possibly can and things won't always turn out for the best. It has taught me however that in life, you'll run into these roadblocks, but if you are persistent, keep doing things as best as you can and don't let these little defeats phase you, you'll be a winner in the long run. This has helped form me into the ambitious young man that I am." I wouldn't make poker the basis of your essay, but if you use it as a way to show that you're persistent, hard-working and undeterred by defeat, you can make it a great essay.

The Dude
11-29-2004, 05:51 AM
As far as an admissions essay goes, I think it's probably a bad idea. Now when it comes to class project or essay assignments, it can be a lot of fun. I went to a Christian University and used to use gambling in my assignments all the time. It got a lot a fun attention.