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College Admission Real Sample Essays

The Coolness Factor Essay

Nov 01, 2022

We believe there are four main types of essays that every college bound teen needs in their arsenal. The “Who Am I” Essay, the “What Am I Good At” Essay, the “Coolness Factor” Essay, and the “Academic Future Connection” Essay.

Today we are breaking down the “COOLNESS FACTOR” Essay.

Your Coolness Factor is likely something you’ve been doing forever. Something you love doing, and because it’s just what you do. You’ve never even thought it was super cool. It is not always something you officially do, like through clubs or organizations, (although it can be) 

For example, if you were elected Youth and Government Governor, or if you made a short film for film class, then you submitted to a local contest and won, if you led a school walk out over gun control, well hello these are wonderful examples of coolness factors!

However, MOST coolness factors are something you just love doing. 

After considering these some options, narrow down to a topic that you may want to write about. 

1 – What is YOUR Coolness Factor?

2 – WHY you should write about your coolness factor 

3 – HOW do you write about your coolness factor

There is an essay that epitomizes the “coolness factor” that we are going to break down today, the famous Taco Bell Essay. Ironically enough, this essay is not just about fast food. It’s about so much more than that… and we learn through the author’s words why and how fast food became a staple in his life. 

Think about these five questions as you read the Taco Bell essay (one of my favorites! Because who doesn’t love Taco Bell?). 

Questions to Consider:

What do you remember?

What stands out?

What tiny details could you picture?

What did you learn about this applicant?

Why does this work?

Sample Essay:

Today I will be facing my biggest challenge: the Taco Bell menu. A place that can be compared only to Frankenstein’s laboratory for its reputation for the strangest menu in all of the fast food kingdom, I was both looking forward to, and apprehensive about, the adventure I was about to undertake. “You want to get that? Just don’t come crying to me when you have a stomach ache later tonight,” my dad responded with a smile and a familiar rustle of my hair as I made my demand: two Doritos locos tacos and an enchirito. “Are you sure you don’t just want a regular burrito or taco?” My silence gave him my answer.

         Getting teased about my attraction to the strangest items in all of fast food wasn’t new in the slightest. Hooked from my very first bite of a Wienerschnitzel mini corn dog at the age of 5, I had made it my mission to try as much fast food as possible. My family didn’t seem to understand my obsession, but that didn’t matter to me. Fast food was my way to experiment with my developing taste buds as a kid. Spicy, sweet, sour, savory, a combination of it all; I craved the endless variety of flavors and choices listed out on each restaurant menu.

         The sharp contrast between the crisp bun and soft, warm chili and cheese on a Wienerschnitzel chili dog, the juicy patties and the savory aroma of a Five Guys burger as its alluring aroma wafts past my nose; I can’t help but lick my lips as I describe some of my favorites. From scraping the bottom of the bowl trying to get every last bit of crispy lettuce from a Panera Bread salad to getting the last grain of rice hiding in the corner of a Chipotle burrito bowl in a hopeless attempt at trying to avoid my zealous fork, how could I choose a favorite? By the age of ten, I was looking for the most peculiar things to dig my mouth into, from fried mac n’ cheese to jalapeno-stuffed burgers. Discovering secret menus at twelve only increased these desires as I hunted for new flavors like a wolf. This continued trend greatly confused my family. As my appetite for the unique only increased, so did their joking. “The kid with the iron stomach” became an informal nickname attributed to my ability to eat virtually anything that was placed in front of me.

         I found my fascination with the fast food kingdom to be my own unique way of being curious and adventurous, while also opening me up to trying new things. I perceived myself as a professional food critic, constantly in search of that perfect combination of flavors as I visited countless fast food chains and ate all kinds of food. Even though my habits seemed strange to my family, I found joy in my personal experiments with the foods that I enjoy the most.

         My love for fast food has not dwindled whatsoever at the age of seventeen. While I, the well-respected family fast food connoisseur, still love experimenting with new foods on a weekly basis, fast food is much more than just my favorite guilty pleasure. Over the years, fast food has become synonymous with being together with my family. Sharing an hour together in front of the television every Sunday evening, laughing and catching up over a good meal, I have fast food to thank for many of the warm memories I have of spending time with my loved ones. Nothing in the world can compare to enjoying a meal with those who care deeply about you and love you for who you are. From burgers and fries to soup and salad, fast food brought my family together in a way that no other food could.


The Taco Bell essay is the perfect example of a story that keeps the reader interested and engaged from start to finish. The goal of the essay is to make the reader feel like they know you. 

What do you remember?

  • Frankenstein’s lab 
  • Taco bell
  • Lots of fast food 
  • Stomach

What stands out?

  • He’s obsessed –
  • Doing this since young 
  • His crazy parents let him be / do / try 
  • “Fast food connoisseur” 

What tiny details could you picture?

  • Talk about the 5 senses – this essay is wrought with smells and sights – and what is genius about it – is that almost anyone and everyone who reads this essay has had at least one of those food items. 

What did you learn about this applicant? 

  • Stomach of steel
  • Curiosity 
  • Adventurous 
  • Independent 
  • Loves family
  • Fun 
  • Personality  -- fun / happy / doesn’t take himself so seriously 
  • Close with father 
  • Weekly Sunday dinner with family 

Why does this work?

  • First of all – this is a highly competitive applicant 
  • He needed something that was different about him and NOT about his accomplishments 
  • Highly relatable 
  • Highly likable 
  • Highly memorable 
  • Different – plain and simple – never read in 20 + years – read an essay on this topic.

This essay stands the test of time because, as a reader, you feel like you know this person, or at least you want to know him. You can imagine him on the campus as a roommate, a student, a friend, and you want to hang out with him. 

You CAN write an essay like this, just take the time to think of what YOUR coolness factor is, and WHY you should write about it.

Remember, the goal is not to write about why you are the BEST and Most Accomplished applicant, a college admissions counselor can find that in the transcript and resume section. 

The only goal of the essay is to write an engaging and compelling story that only YOU could write. This is a story someone cannot find anywhere else in the application. 

What is YOUR Coolness Factor?

Looking to jumpstart your essay writing journey? Click Here!

I’ve got the scoop!

Dr. C