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Popular College Application Essay Topics (and How to Answer Them)

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❶But if you're reading this, chances are you aren't one of these people.

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These topics are broad, unfocused and make a boring read. You may have accomplished a lot, but let your essay speak by allowing the reader to get to know you as a person through your experiences — not through you telling them how accomplished you are. Highly Polarized or Sensitive Topics The key topics to avoid here are the same as those at the Thanksgiving table: Avoid preaching about sensitive topics, no matter how passionate you are about a particular one. You never know who is going to be reading your admissions essay and the goal at hand is to gain admission into college.

Sports The sports essay is predictable and should be avoided, if possible. Everyone knows how an athletic story will play out, regardless of the story or the sport. Humor Stop trying to be so funny. If it comes out naturally in your essay, great. Admissions officers will see the futile attempt — and likely not find it amusing. Nobody needs a summary of your vacation — people know what happens on mission trips and during volunteer hours.

While you should feel free to mention a great experience or trip, but your entire essay should not talk about your one experience volunteering during a mission trip in Costa Rica. If you do want to bring up these topics, try to think of something interesting or unexpected that happened during your trip.

Did a particular person or experience have an impact on you? Specific happenings can make great topics — try to think of something unusual and craft your essay around that experience, instead. See example within the opening of this article.

Some of the best and brightest students do this: Fine, but be prepared to write whatever you feel like writing from a college that may not be your first choice. Before you do this, remember one thing: Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific! This essay is designed to get at the heart of how you think and what makes you tick. Present a situation or quandary and show steps toward the solution. Admissions officers want insight into your thought process and the issues you grapple with, so explain how you became aware of the dilemma and how you tackled solving it.

Describe the event or ccomplishment that shaped you but take care to also show what you learned or how you changed. Colleges are looking for a sense of maturity and introspection—pinpoint the transformation and demonstrate your personal growth. This prompt is an invitation to write about something you care about.

So avoid the pitfall of writing about what you think will impress the admission office versus what truly matters to you. Colleges are looking for curious students, who are thoughtful about the world around them. Make sure you explain how you pursue your interest, as well. Test Your College Knowledge! You can even write your own question! Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2.

Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why. Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them:. Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln.

The admissions committee doesn't need to be convinced they are influential people. Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you. Be honest and specific when you respond to this question. Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you.

Your answer should not be a book report. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. What does your favorite book reveal about you? How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you? Again, be honest in answering this question—don't choose a classic from your literature class or a piece of philosophy just because you think it will make you seem smarter.

Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you. Take this opportunity to really examine an experience that taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow. Sometimes it's better to write about something that was hard for you because you learned something than it is to write about something that was easy for you because you think it sounds admirable.

As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: Get one-on-one help from former Ivy League and top tier admission officers. Our College Admission Counselors will help you find, apply, and get accepted to your dream school. Connect with our featured colleges to find schools that both match your interests and are looking for students like you.

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From Common App prompts to supplementary essays, we break down the most common application essay topics. Boost your college essay to the top of the pile!

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The college essay is your opportunity to let your personality shine on your application. Don’t waste it on the trite or cliché! Consider this approach instead.

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Sep 06,  · Admissions Officers Discuss 3 Common Essay Topics A college essay topic doesn't have to be unique to be a good choice for applicants, experts say. The Common Application Essay Prompts Are Here February 15, | Kate Sundquist in Applying to College, Common App Need help on your college applications?

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Jul 10,  · 6 College Essay Topics By Lynn O'Shaughnessy on July 9, in Admissions, Applying If you (or your child) is a rising senior, now is a good time to get started on the dreaded college essay. Those applying with the Common Application are asked to respond to two short essay prompts. Those applying with the QuestBridge National College Match Application are asked to complete a short Yale QuestBridge Questionnaire, available via the Yale Admissions Status Portal after an application is received and a student activates his/her status.