Want to know what Jeb Bush wrote in his college application essay? (Hint: it wasn't that he wanted to major in Latin American Studies to pick up chicks.) What about Bernie Sanders? Did he warn admissions officials that their tuition dollars would be going up in smoke (feel that burn)?
This college admissions season, we asked the 2016 presidential candidates to share with us the talking points from their own college application essays. They declined, so we made it up. It's a rare glimpse into the mind of a young Mike "the Huck" Huckabee or the legendary one man campus security force known as New Haven's Big Ben. It was before these wannabe world leaders took to the campaign trail, when "double down," "hashtag" and "spin room" had a very different meaning for them.
It's no surprise that Trump used his essay to proclaim he would MAKE THIS COLLEGE GREAT AGAIN (bold, all caps, 36 point font, endless army of exclamation points). When asked his intended field of study, he wrote "Trump."
Clinton boasted of her extra-curricular activities - running (unsuccessfully) for class president every year of high school. She even used her essay to announce her candidacy for president of her college freshman class.
Bush's application bears a huge green sticker on the front marked "Automatic Admit - Legacy." Confronted with this on the trail, he said, "It's just more proof that I am my own man - I mean, I went to University of Texas instead of Yale, for crying out loud!"
Ben Carson promised to use his bare (and gifted) hands to take down any campus threats. He also threw in his belief that single-sex dorms turn students gay.
Rubio was clearly interested in studying abroad (for all four years), and even questioned how often he'd have to show up for class.
Cruz excoriated elites in higher education and the corrupting force of the academy. He enrolled at Princeton, naturally.
Fiorina wrote an inspiring essay about her meteoric rise from band mascot to valedictorian in just four short years. She also expressed an interest in Film Studies as a major.
Rand Paul claimed to be the "real" Doogie Howser in his essay for Duke Medical School. Word is he tried this on the campaign trail, until some drunken Iowans shouted, "Didn't Doogie go gay?" Must have been the single-sex dorms.
Huckabee wrote of his difficulty finding a school with his intended major: Western Civilization (Decline of).
Unlike the Supreme Court, where all nine justices studied at Harvard or Yale law schools (Justice Ginsburg started at Harvard but graduated from Columbia), our current field of presidential candidates attended a broader array of colleges. This sends the right message to students - you don't have to go to Harvard or Yale to become president (just to sit on the Supreme Court!). Heck, you can go to Ouachita Baptist University (Huckabee) or study horseshoeing at Montana State University (Chafee) and run for the highest office. Jindal studied at Oxford, which is an odd choice for someone who constantly reminds us of America's singular exceptionalism.
Speaking of Jindal, his intended major was pre-med, until he switched. "I wish I had stayed pre-med," he told reporters. "Turns out it helps in politics."