In the end, the "writing test monster" was defeated, and my students faced the test with confidence and the tools they needed to be successful. I am proud to report that 17 out of my 18 students passed the writing test that year, and there was great jubilation in the classroom. The one student who didn't pass the test wrote to the state to ask for an explanation of her score. She received a detailed response and with a little more practice she passed the writing test on the next round. I am very proud of all of my students, and I feel honored to have played an important part in their successful graduation from high school. For many of them, these very basic writing skills provided a foundation with which to develop more advanced skills in college, and to ensure future success in their careers.
Not just humor, but the overall tone of your application essay is remarkably important. It's also difficult to get right. When you are asked to write about your accomplishments, those 750 words on how great you are can make you sound like a braggart. Be careful to balance your pride in your achievements with humility and generosity towards others. You also want to avoid sounding like a whiner -- use your essay to show off your skills, not to explain the injustices that lead to your low math score or failure to graduate #1 in your class.