University admissions officers love to talk about the "Cookie Queen." Although the option to create something interesting with an eight-and-a-half by 11-inch piece of paper has been removed from the University's application this year, admissions officers said this week that they can easily recall several unusual applications to the Class of 1994. And one of the most memorable, according to Christoph Guttentag, director of staff for undergraduate admissions, was the early application of the the girl who admissions officers called the "Cookie Queen" -- Virginia high school senior Elizabeth Brinton, who appeared in several national magazines including People when she was 14 years old after selling the most boxes of Girl Scout cookies in the nation -- over 16,000 in one month. With her application, Brinton sent a portfolio of articles written about her, some showing her with former President Ronald Reagan, to whom she said she had sold boxes of cookies. She also said she sold cookies to then-Vice President George Bush. The fact that Brinton sold cookies to these customers showed that she had a knack for "persistence," Guttentag said, but that type of feat alone does not qualify such "compelling candidates" for admission. "No matter how special these people are, there's absolutely no question that they are completely qualified to do the work," Guttentag said of the accepted applicants. Another memorable application came from former tennis star Kathleen Horvath, who beat Martina Navratilova in the 1983 French Open. Horvath recently ended her career, during which she had earned over half a million dollars, to attend college. The 24-year-old Floridian applied to the University early decision and was accepted, but not on her tennis merit alone. According to a November 1989 article in the St. Petersburg Times Horvath had numerous academic accomplishments including achieving a score of 1300 on her Scholastic Aptitude Test the first time she took it. "I'd had enough," Horvath said yesterday of her tennis career. "I'd always wanted to go [to college] sooner or later." "I figured, well, I'll go to Stanford or Harvard, and then I realized I wanted to be on the East Coast, but [when I visited] I couldn't stand the attitude at Yale and Harvard," Horvath said. Horvath, who said she is interested in going to medical school, said she found the people at the University very "friendly" and "enthusiastic," while at Harvard's information session, "this guy was just sitting there going, 'well, I had a great time a Harvard'. He had no personality." Horvath said that though she wants to be involved with tennis at the University, NCAA rules forbid her from playing on the team because she was a professional. Another athlete, a Latin American triathalon champion from Brazil who received all 'A's except one in the last three years of high school, was also admitted, but said she is uncertain about whether she will attend. And there were many more applications from unusual or outstanding students. One came from the county champion capon raiser in a rural Pennsylvania county. Other "special" candidates, according to Guttentag, included the leading male rider of the National Equestrial Team for the United Arab Emirates; a student who started his own ecology club in school, began a recycling program, and ended up having his program used as the plan for the entire state of Tennessee; a Californian who is ranked third in the nation for fencing in the under-20 category; and a student who has been building houses for the poor with the Habitat for Humanity organization. Notably absent from Guttentag's pile of memorable applications were students from famous families. Although Guttentag said that some may attend, "in the end, we evaluate them on their own accomplishments rather than the accomplishments of someone they are related to." He did admit, however, that applicants with famous names might at first "get a closer look." Guttentag said that the admissions office holds programs all over the country for prospective applicants and matriculants. Two will be held in Illinois today, he said, and two were held in Florida over the weekend. "Sometimes we find them, sometimes they find us," Guttentag said. Though students sometimes in their applications are "afraid of coming on too strong" and appear to brag, Guttentag said, the admissions office advises against not revealing a good deed. "It's one thing to not sound conceited, but it's something very different to not share an accomplishment," Guttentag said.Comments powered by Disqus
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