Feel free to go back to your brainstormed pool of topics, or even to come up with something new entirely. Just make sure that you have enough time left to develop and edit your new essay appropriately.
The value of the experience and the point in writing about it lies not necessarily in what happened, but how it affected you, and in how you analyze and consider that effect. Vivid and evocative details can turn an essay on a seemingly mundane topic into something truly fascinating.
The key to writing a strong college application essay is in your delivery. Will your essay make or break your college application? It depends. For more information about choosing and developing a college application essay topic, you can check out the CollegeVine blog for tips and tricks.
Our Essay Breakdown posts about how to write the school-specific essays for various top schools contain a wealth of good ideas. Our admissions experts have analyzed each of the five Common Application essay prompts in the posts below, where you can find detailed advice on how to respond to each prompt. Activity Essay In this essay, students write about an extracurricular activity or community service project that was especially meaningful to them.
This essay was previously on the standard Common Application, but was removed starting in the —15 application season. Instead, some colleges, like Georgetown University , choose to include a variation of this essay among their supplements by asking students to discuss an activity and its significance to their life or course of study.
Avoid writing about things like scoring the winning goal, topics of public consciousness like natural disasters, or something that happened to you in middle school.
Some students choose to write about things like sex or romantic relationships in order to stand out; yet, these topics fail to add substance or depth to an application. Successful Essay Topics A successful essay will reveal something about you that the admissions reader may not have already known, and will show how you interact with family and friends and demonstrate your beliefs or explore your passions. A great essay also provides readers with a vivid picture.
Spend most of the essay focusing on yourself and how your personality or choices have been shaped because of this person. Similarly, one topic you should never write about in your college essay is romantic relationships. The bottom line is this: No matter how much you love your mom, dad, grandparents, or significant other, your college application essay needs to be about you.
In a few cases, these topics have been addressed effectively. For the same reason, we recommend avoiding profanity and graphic language in your essays. Gail Berson, the dean of admissions at Wheaton College , shares a story about an applicant with excellent grades and test scores who wrote a graphic essay about a violent video game.
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.
It was more about reflecting on my past experiences and seeing where they got me today. 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.
She wanted her favorite place to be her own. So Rachel wrote about swing sets. 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. Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all fair game if you can tie it back to who you are or what you believe in.
Prompt 2: Learning from obstacles. You're trying to show colleges your best self, so it might seem counterintuitive to willingly acknowledge a time you struggled.
But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance! The obstacle you write about can be large or small, but you must show the admissions committee how your perspective changed as a result.
Prompt 3: Challenging a belief. Your answer to this question could focus on a time you stood up to others or an experience when your own preconceived view was challenged. Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific! Prompt 4: Solving a problem. 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.
In this essay, students need to be detailed and offer specific examples for wanting to attend this school. Successful Essay Topics A successful essay will reveal something about you that the admissions reader may not have already known, and will show how you interact with family and friends and demonstrate your beliefs or explore your passions.
In this essay, the applicant talks about a meaningful life experience that helped shape who she is today. What is an extracurricular activity that has been meaningful to you?
A thoughtful and well-written essay on a topic that might initially seem more mundane will benefit you far more than a dull or poorly-written essay on a more exciting-sounding topic. This is not to discount the work you have done; it is just to say that everyone is writing similar essays about similar things. Get started The Best and Worst Topics for a College Application Essay The college essay is your opportunity to let your personality shine on your application.
Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific! As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: how you discovered this activity, what drew you to it, and what it's shown you about yourself. Topics That Focus on Someone Else The college application essay is your chance to help admissions officers get to know you. 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. Only consider this topic if you went above and beyond volunteering to help an overseas community.
Some of the best college application essays are written about small moments that are meaningful to the applicant. The essay or essays is a great way to learn more about an applicant, her motivations, life experiences, and how she can contribute to the campus community. When disaster strikes. What have you learned from the community you grew up in? Not only does it help students reiterate their passions, it also serves as a gauge for demonstrated interest and a vehicle for students to better articulate how they will contribute to the campus environment. Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln.
In addition, you should be aware that under certain circumstances, colleges may be required to report certain crimes, such as child abuse, if they are divulged in an essay or elsewhere in the application. The essay or essays is a great way to learn more about an applicant, her motivations, life experiences, and how she can contribute to the campus community.