In 2016, Brittany Stinson's Costco Essay got her accepted into five Ivy League Colleges: Columbia, Yale, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell. She also got into Stanford University, which is arguable even more difficult to get into than any Ivy Schools.
Pay special attention to the fact that Brittany was not admitted as a Creative Writing or Philosophy major. Today, she attends Stanford as a Molecular and Cellular Biology Major which will allow her to one day apply for Medical School. When you read the essay itself, notice that it does not directly talk about her interest in biology or becoming a doctor and saving people. Yet the reader clearly does get the impression that this is a very intellectually curious individual and a critical thinker. She shows critical personally traits rather than stating them and has a fresh, non-cliche approach towards her essay. These are critical to a good application essay.
Finally, it is important to note that Brittany did not only get in from this essay. She also had one of the top GPA's in her high school and high test scores. She was involved in the math league, Science National Honor society, and cross county team. Her essay was the cherry on top that made her stand out from the crowd of thousands of high GPA, extracurricularly involved students. It did not replace getting good grades or working hard during high school.
Read her full essay here.
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