Choosing your college essay topic can seem like a difficult decision to make, but it doesn’t have to be!
Though some college admissions essays will have a prompt for you to follow, you’ll still need to take the topic to a place that makes it your own.
Think you don’t have enough experience to make your essay unique and interesting? You’re wrong!
There are plenty of things for you to write about, and plenty of ways to make your essay stand out from the pack. Here are some tips for choosing a college essay topic that will help you get accepted:
1. Brainstorming can inspire you.
In ten minutes, come up with a list of ideas for your college admissions essay. Write down anything that comes to mind — what was the best day of your life? The worst? What’s something unique that has happened to you? What is the best thing your parents have taught you?
The possibilities are endless! Don’t hold back — this list of college essay topics will give you something to work with.
2. Clichés are lame.
When applying to college, many students write about the same old things. Look at your list. Are any topics on your list redundant and overplayed? If you wrote your college admissions essay on that topic, do you feel as though you’d just be repeating what everyone else has already said?
If the answer is yes, then choose a different essay topic. You want to stand out, not blend in. Writing a clichéd essay is not the way to do that.
3. Pity parties will get you nowhere.
When writing about an event that’s changed your life, naturally the obstacles that you’ve had to overcome are what primarily come to mind. While those often make for great college essay topics, you have to have the right approach when you write about them.
Write your college admissions essay from a place of strength, and use your experience to highlight your positive characteristics, rather than simply forcing the reader to sympathize with you.
4. Honesty is key.
A lot of us have a flair for the extreme. It’s natural to want to make the highs sound higher and the lows lower, especially when writing your college admissions essay. But that’s not necessary — and it can ultimately do more harm than good.
You don’t have to have gone through a nightmare to have a terrific essay. Write about something believable that’s happened to you, something that will catch the reader’s attention without being over-the-top.
5. Staying positive is more effective.
Just like your SAT or ACT test scores, your college admissions essay should be impressive. If the college essay topic doesn’t paint you in a great light, don’t use it. Your essay needs to leave a lasting (and positive!) impression on the admissions officer. Make sure that whatever story you’re telling is one that resonates in your favor.
Now that you’ve eliminated all the topics on your list that don’t fit the above criteria, you’re probably left with just a couple of options to choose from. From these, pick the college essay topic that you can write at least 5 paragraphs about. Congrats — now get writing!