I came across these examples of admissions essays at Johns Hopkins University a while ago: http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/essays.html
They are interesting, engaging, witty, nicely written. But frankly, I’m glad we don’t make our applicants submit essays. I think I much prefer our Admission Information Form. Much more brief, to the point, quicker to read (sort of what an engineering report should be).
I know from other reading that there are various concerns with these college admission essays. How much of it is the work of the applicant, versus parents or admissions consultants? Was it purchased or plagiarised from somewhere? (There is a Turnitin for Admissions service that some universities use to check for that.) Does a good essay translate into a good engineering student? Lots of questions, and not so many answers.
Some of our applicants complain about having to fill out our AIF. I suspect that they would like submitting an essay even less.