A couple of years ago, the New York Times published an article claiming students were cultivating summer experiences such as expensive internships or exotic travel experiences "with the goal of creating a standout personal statement." Quick, buy a ticket to Shanghai! NOT! Some form of this urban myth wanders through the hallways of high schools across the country during essay writing season.
This "strategy" couldn't be more wrong-headed. Or, as a former admission officer on Robin Mamlet's staff at Stanford put it -- more colorfully --in an email to us, "YUCK. That should be YUCK in all caps, bold, italics, the works. With many, many exclamation marks."