Costco Essay

Costco Essay College: Unlocking the Doors to Academic Success


The Common App Article, often known as the personal statement, is a requirement for many universities and is undoubtedly familiar to you whether your child is applying to colleges now or in the future. You may have heard of the renowned “Costco essay,” which helped a student gain admission to many elite universities.

Let’s review the goal of the Common App Essay first, though. Your child can demonstrate their personality through this essay, which goes beyond their grades, extracurricular activities, or ACT or SAT results. Furthermore, your child can write about any topic because the Common App Essay topics are so open-ended.

Many parents believe children should boast about a notable achievement or a significant obstacle they’ve conquered in their statement. We’ve put up a guide that answers all those queries and many more on writing a fantastic Common App essay.

However, we want to discuss one unique approach to the Common App Essay here because a successful essay can also be about anything as essential as a person’s love of Costco, as one high school applicant demonstrated.

After being accepted into Stanford and several other highly elite universities, Brittany Stinson’s Costco essay went viral in 2016, and she was accepted into five Ivy League colleges: Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell. When people discovered Stinson’s unusual essay topic was her years of Costco shopping, they became even more interested.

Following her acceptance to Yale, Carolina William’s “Yale pizza essay” went viral online a year later. Writing about something you love to do was the essay prompt. William decided to think back on his Papa John’s pizza order.

Following those essays, parents have questioned us a lot about whether or not that degree of quirkiness is necessary for a successful personal statement. In summary, your child won’t benefit from copying the Yale pizza or Costco essays, but both can be examples of unconventional personal statement writing.

We adore these essays because they validate what we have been teaching our students for more than fifteen years: that applying to prestigious colleges doesn’t always require boasting or boasting and that admissions authorities prefer to see students expressing themselves.

We consider every topic our students write about, from grilling foods to their passion for the New England Patriots, to be their own Costco essay. As a result, our students have been accepted into their favorite institutions.

Charm, wit, and insignificant behaviors can all be fantastic pathways to your child’s ideal educational institution.

What Makes the Costco Essay Effective 

Selection of Topic

The fact that Stinson’s article offers a novel perspective on a shared experience contributes to its success.

You could understandably worry if you were Brittany Stinson’s parent and found out she intended to publish a post on Costco. This could be a bland topic. This issue cannot highlight your child’s intelligence, accomplishments in school or extracurricular activities or both.

You might also question if this was a sufficiently “personal” decision for a personal statement, given that practically everyone has gone grocery shopping, even if we don’t all own Costco memberships. Why, then, did you select this subject? For Stinson, how did it work?  

According to Stinson, she chose Costco as her potential Common App Essay topic because she and her friends used to joke that she spent so much time at Costco that she might have lived there. “If your friend finds your essay on the ground and it has no name on it, they should be able to tell that it’s yours just by reading it,” Stinson wrote, paraphrasing a remark she had previously read.

Costco shopping was the ideal topic for Stinson since she felt such experiences to be particularly meaningful, even though they might only be appropriate for some.

It’s also important to note that Costco served more as the essay’s framework than its primary focus. She lists a wide range of additional interests, which could have been included in a more conventional college essay, such as dancing, cross-country running, and scientific research.

However, Costco offers a surprising and modest approach to such subjects. Although Stinson utilizes her essay to demonstrate her writing skills and intellectual interest, it is not focused on a particular experience or event that highlights her brilliance or accomplishments. Instead of worrying about the status of her writing, she just wrote about what she truly enjoyed to accomplish.

Stinson accomplished one of the tremendous potential achievements of personal essay writing by using her genuine enthusiasm to turn what could have been a broad, universal topic into a tale that is unique to her own life.

If your child is a humanities enthusiast, you may want to suggest that instead of having them browse through the numerous Common App essays that are available online, they read excellent personal articles by authors such as Joan Didion, Anne Fadiman, David Foster Wallace, or James Baldwin, or essays that are published in magazines like The New Yorker or The New York Times. Your high school student will be motivated to read more deeply and avoid clich├ęs by these authors.

Finally, Stinson admits that expressing oneself with 650 words is impossible. Regarding the personal statement, one of the most significant errors parents and students make is thinking it must be an autobiographical declaration or a narrative of a powerful epiphany.

Stinson Demonstrates Maturity by Limiting her Speech

Underlying Idea

Although Stinson’s essay appears to be about Costco, she uses the subject to highlight her interest as a thinker. “I contemplated the philosophical: If there exists a thirty-three ounce of Nutella, do we have free will?” is one of the most memorable quotes.

Stinson uses a straightforward object a jar of Nutella to consider a philosophical issue in this phrase playfully. Her actions imply that she is a reflective, interested individual who will pose thought-provoking queries both within and outside of the classroom. They also pave the way for the essay’s last section, where Stinson introduces her subject and demonstrates how her visits to Costco have shaped her identity as a curious person even outside of her Nutella purchases.

Stinson describes how she has used the type of exploration she undertook at Costco in her other “intellectual endeavors” in the penultimate paragraph. She says, “I explored the fields of history, dance, and biology, just as I sampled buffalo chicken dip or chocolate truffles, all in pursuit of the ideal cart one bursting with hypothetical scenarios and thoughts both severe and ridiculous. I tried my hand at scientific research, cross-country running, and calculus.

She adds later in the paragraph that she has also attempted “dancing in front of hundreds of people, learning how to chart blackbody radiation using astronomical software, and aerial yoga.” This passage tells the story of Stinson’s current and future selves as a college student by making her love of Costco relevant to the rest of her life.

Stinson uses her Costco shopping to demonstrate her intellectual curiosity and makes a clear connection between her topic and the remainder of her application when she lists her hobbies and interests. As a result, the essay contributes to Stinson’s overall narrative or story, which the admissions counselors probably recalled as they went through the rest of her application documents and continued the admissions process.

Writing Caliber

This essay is an excellent example of Stinson’s writing style as well. Her opening line, which journalists refer to as a “lede,” is a gripping story of a “ferocious two-year-old rampaging through Costco.”

She keeps her writing anchored in certain moments and images throughout the essay after moving past that incident. Her essay embodies the “show, don’t tell” adage in writing. This strategy helps to keep the reader interested in the essay by drawing them in.

The Costco essay likewise extensively uses dynamic word choices and lively vocabulary. Churros by Stinson are “jettisoned” as opposed to “dropped.” However, Stinson also avoids using SAT terms or formal language in every phrase. “Who needs three pounds of sour cream?” is all she asks. Stinson uses traditional and informal vocabulary to demonstrate her comfort level with her writing voice.

Before submitting her applications, Stinson did give an English teacher a final draft of her essay. Your child should discuss their essay with a teacher, counselor, or trusted reader. Spelling and grammar mistakes can be highly unprofessional to admissions committees, and electronic spell checkers may need to correct some errors.


Stinson has a lighthearted, friendly writing style. This article has a lot of humor, and it feels conversational. In this sense, the Costco essay helps paint a picture of her personality by hinting at what kind of person she would hang out with in the dining hall or after class.

According to this essay, Stinson looks like the kind of person who would instigate lengthy debates about philosophy in the residence hall, urge her physics study group to take a fifteen-minute break for an unplanned dance party and organize a weekend trip to Costco. Stated differently, her essay makes the case that she will blend right in with her collegiate community.

Stinson, meanwhile, avoids making the mistake of seeming overly informal in her Common App Essay. Her writing contains intricate, skillfully constructed phrases and thoughtful word choices. She doesn’t make grammatical mistakes or utilize slang.

The essay is just the right amount of formal and informal. Although striking this balance can seem challenging, Stinson’s report provides an example of how to do so.

FAQs for Costco Essays

Is It Required to Name the Particular Costco Essay Location?

Examine whether your essay would benefit from mentioning the Costco Essay location. Recognize when and how to include location information for optimal effect.

How Much of Myself Should I Put in My Costco Essay college?

Strike a balance between being too personal and too intimate. Develop the skill of sharing close details without crossing lines.

Should I Get Advice From Others While Writing Costco Essay?

Learn about the advantages and possible drawbacks of getting input from others. How outside feedback might improve the caliber of your Costco Essay?

How Significant is My Costco Essay Connection?

Examine the importance of your relationship with Costco Essay. Learn how to provide a distinctive story while exhibiting your connection in just the correct amount of balance.

I Want To Talk About My Many Costco Essay?

Handle the issue of combining different Costco Essay. Learn how to skillfully connect a variety of interactions into a coherent and captivating story.

Which Tone Should I Use in My Essay for Costco Essay College?

Examine the best writing style for your college Costco Essay about Costco. Recognize the fine line between formality and genuineness to ensure your voice comes through.

Last Words

The Costco Essay serves as a helpful reminder that your child’s college essay doesn’t have to be a detailed account of your child’s journey toward an academic or extracurricular accomplishment or a narrative about overcoming hardship. Any topic can be used to help your child persuade an admissions committee that they would make a valuable contribution to the student population, provided it is done carefully.

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