Letter to future roommate: a creative take on supplement essays

Click-clack goes the sound of my tippy-tappy typing. When you work fifty, sixty, and even seventy-four hours a week during the whirlwind that is college application season, “why school” and “why major” supplement essays can sometimes begin to look virtually identical as you scurry to meticulously edit a plethora of essays for each student, each with lifelong hopes of joining the official ranks of their dream school.


The lines, literally and metaphorically, begin to blur as students aim to meet the requirements of each school’s essay prompts while trying their hardest to stand out from the crowd of literally millions of college applicants — 20 million to be exact.


Sometimes seemingly formulaic essays, while chock-full of commendable content lack that certain “je ne sais quoi” — that special something that grabs your attention like the latest ear candy from your favorite pop artist.


But every once in a while, an especially interesting, intriguing essay wiggles its way into your brain (and heart). One such supplement essay to Emory University detailed a student’s unique interest…or perhaps talent (?) for ASMR in an introductory letter to his future roommate, titled “Hey, Roomie!”.


What is ASMR? And what exactly is an “ASMRtist”? I had no clue.

A quick Google search provided some context: autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is the tingling, yet calming sensation triggered by soft whispering, lip smacking, nail tapping or scratching on hard surfaces, or brushing sounds over highly specialized microphones. Apparently, it’s a growing trend. According to a study in ScienceDaily on the physiological underpinnings of ASMR, there were over 13 million published videos on YouTube alone as of 2018.


Somewhat mesmerized by the student’s fondness for falling asleep to his favorite ASMRtist’s “relaxing superpower” as a “homesick” student, who faced “sleepless” nights when first coming abroad, made me think, well, this certainly isn’t something you read about everyday…


While I found this topic a bit “peculiar” — perhaps because I was simply unfamiliar with it — the way in which the student wrote about ASMR mimicked the methods in which it puts people into an almost trancelike state of slumber.

The college-bound essayist described how he’d “suavely whisper” James Bond’s famous lines while tapping a “golden (toy) gun” (a cheeky nod to Ian Fleming’s posthumously published novel, The Man with the Golden Gun) across a Yeti microphone on his exclusive ASMR channel to “create enjoyable, stress-relieving triggers” for his audience.


Using his unique interest/talent, this student transformed what could have been a potentially underwhelming, atypical supplement essay on introducing oneself to their future first-year roommate into a memorable letter welcoming that roommate to put in a request for their “favorite sounds” complete with a customized ASMR video made just for them!


The beauty of this essay is that it invites readers in, using auditory and visual sensory details that pack a punch in a mere 150 words that essentially express how this student will benefit Emory’s campus community.


So, who wouldn’t want to become this creative collegebound ASMRtist’s “roomie”?


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