Selecting A Topic For College Application Essay

With the fall of senior year, a special time comes. Most of the written papers and other projects are completed and the students are getting ready for the major work that will determine their future in college. Many of them fail application essays due to quite simple reasons, including irrelevant or overly easy topic that cannot impress people who read dozens of these essays every day, and many other reasons. The common knowledge says that the main purpose of college app essay is to provide the admission committee with personal information in a way that would reflect everything that they need to learn about you.

Most of all, remember, that the essay should be an articulate and convincing reflection of you, so the topic selection process must be approached in this way. If you cannot personalize it, your options are limited to app essay writing service and trying to figure out how to make it personal. We think you would agree that even if you composed a great essay that could win competitions but there was not a single word about you, it would not help you to get where you need because it simply does not show who you are.

Let us give you the most important tips on how to choose a college app topic that can impress admission committee. We just need to focus on some things and let our writing talent speak for itself.

Narrate about yourself in context of group

You are a part of your family, community, and ultimately, culture. These groups are constantly impacted by external factors, and so are you. Talking about yourself in a context of a group (for example, how you experienced transition from childhood to adulthood) is an excellent opportunity to write an app essay because it shows that you know your roots, respect your family and culture. The officers in the admission committee might not be as aware of your culture and community as you, and who else is perfect for telling your personal story in this context? Below are some possible topics.

  •  The Day I Realized I was a Part of my Community
  • What Shaped my Understanding of African American Culture
  • Becoming an Adult in my Culture

Describe an accomplishment

You are a great student with lots of accomplished things under your belt. Perhaps you have one that really stands out? It might be a perfect example to show your talents and some special abilities that you demonstrated. But brag just a bit, we do not want the committee to think that are a character prone to boasting. A more important thing to remember is that you need to show your talent and how hard you worked to get that project done. This way, the admission officers will know why it is important to know about you. Here are some possible topics.

  • My Greatest Achievement
  • Why I Work Hard
  • How I Achieved my Ambitions

Write about a person that has had an influence on you

Do not spend the entire length of the paper on describing that person because we need to emphasize the things that tell about how you changed because of them. This does not have to a famous person, like an actor or a politician, because even your high school coach and a member of your family will do great if they really had a significant impact on you. Just make sure that you find that impact significant enough that it should be described in such an important work. Have a look at these possible topics and see if they apply to you.

  • My Love of Basketball was Inspired by One Person
  • Why I Want to be Like my Father
  • How my Friend Changed the Way I Treat Others

Describe a failure

Yes, sometimes writing about your failure can tell a lot of things about yourself and show how to avoid similar experience in the future. It can demonstrate that you are not afraid to talk about and that you have grown after falling down. Let’s consider an easy example: you got a C instead of an A on a project and it was a complete failure. However, you have learned the lessons from that failure and the teacher graded your next project with an A+. This example showed that you knew how to recover and continue to go forward even after you experienced a failure. Also, ensure that you are not describing a disappointment, but a failure because it is much more serious and has more consequences. Some possible topics are included below.

  • How the Biggest Failure in my Life Affected Me
  • Why I was Excited After I Failed
  • How a Failure can be Turned into a Life-Changing Experience

Over to you!

College app essay is incredibly important, and, fortunately, we have complete control of how it can be written. Remember that it should be focused on you, your qualities, abilities, talents, and traits that helped you and other people in the past. Whether you describe your biggest accomplishment or failure, keep in mind that admission officers read lots of essays during that time of the year, and yours should be the one they put aside of the stack with others.

Yes, it is all about competition, but now you have greatly expanded your knowledge on how this work should be written so you receive an acceptance instead of a rejection letter. Do not hesitate to use these tips and examples of topics to create your ultimate app essay that will blow the admission committee away.

Coming up with a good topic for your college essays can feel like the ultimate form of writer’s block. After all, what could you possibly write about that will represent you in 500 words or less? The creative process definitely isn’t easy, but these tips and tricks from people who have been through the process should help you get your thoughts flowing and ideas moving.

1. Focus on a moment                    

One of the easiest ways to think of a college essay topic is to focus on a specific instance that changed you or that represents something about your character. As Madie, a Brandeis University student, puts it, “You don’t need to tell a long and complicated story to have a good college essay. All you need is a moment. Start with a moment, and work out from there. Then come back to that moment at the end of your essay.” In Madie’s Common Application essay, she wrote about the mantra she said to herself every day before she got out of her car to go to school. While that may seem like a rather simple topic to write about, for Madie, that everyday occurrence defined her. So ask yourself: what is a moment in your life that defined you?

Whether it is the time you ate a weird-looking fruit, the peculiar way you brush your teeth, or the time you went skydiving, it doesn’t matter. The moment itself is not important. What that moment says about you is.

Related:Which Common Application Essay Prompt is Right for You?

2. Stand out

It’s true: the college admission process is tougher than ever. Basically every student you will be up against has done some sort of community service. Everyone has some sport or musical instrument or other extracurricular they excel at. Tons of kids work a part-time job in addition to all their other responsibilities. It’s hard to find something you did in high school that will make you unique in an applicant pool. This is not to discount the work you have done; it is just to say that everyone is writing similar essays about similar things.

You want to write about something that will make you stand out. Write about something that the poor admission officer reading all these essays hasn’t read before. So take a second to think: what’s something you’ve done that your classmates haven’t? Was it meaningful to you? If so, get writing.

3. When disaster strikes . . . write about it!

In the college admission process, it can be easy to get caught up in trying to come off as the “perfect” candidate. You have worked so hard to get perfect grades, perfect SAT or ACT scores, perfect extracurricular activities—you get the picture. However, here is a little-known secret about college applications: perfect is boring. The people in admission offices reading your essays read about “perfect” all day. Your essay is the time to spice up your application. Show them a time in your life where maybe everything didn’t go so perfectly. For instance, Jackson, a Division III student-athlete, wrote about the time he injured his ankle in tennis, only to go through extensive and excruciatingly painful rehab to finally get back on the court, where, on his first day back, he injured his other ankle. While revealing any imperfection in a college essay may seem contradictory to the goal of convincing a college to admit you, it often showcases your best qualities. For example, the fact that Jackson was able to stick with tennis and rehab after all of these trials shows that he is persistent and strong. As he put it, “My college essay wasn’t about making myself seem amazing. It was more about reflecting on my past experiences and seeing where they got me today.”



4. Be genuine

Rachel, a student at James Madison University, recalls her Common Application essay with pride, because she was true to herself in everything she wrote. In fact, she says her essay was “the most genuine thing she has ever written.” When Rachel’s prompt asked her what her favorite place was, she knew she shouldn’t pick her bedroom or the beach she went to as a child, because those are everyone’s favorite places. She wanted her favorite place to be her own. So Rachel wrote about swing sets. “Swings are everywhere,” she says, so it was a relatable topic while still being unique to her own personality. Additionally, using swings as her favorite place gave her a lot of imagery to work with in her essay, because she could literally describe what being on the swings felt like. The important lesson to take away here is that if you are truthful and genuine in your essay, it will be easy to write about.

5. Write about your childhood

Your entire college application talks about who you were in high school. Admission officers see what activities you did in high school, what classes you took in high school, and what scores you got—you guessed it—in high school. While these things are important, so much of your personality forms as a child too. My friend Caroline, who was accepted to schools such as George Mason University, Wittenberg University, and Seattle University, wrote about how interest in exploration started as a child. She wrote a narrative about pushing boundaries. As a child, Caroline always rode her bike just a little bit farther than her parents allowed her to. Eventually she ended up riding all the way into the forest and exploring nature, where she developed her passion for saving the environment. By writing about how her interests, tendencies, and passions came from her childhood, Caroline was able to give admission officers a more complete picture of who she is. Think about what you did as a child that says something about your personality now. Write about what makes you, you!

Keep calm and happy writing everyone!

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