The college admission process grants students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, strengths, accomplishments, and beliefs, thus helping them build their personal brand. One of the quickest ways to get the attention of the admissions committee is by writing an impressive application essay. Since the essay can make or break the application, applicants should ensure they select the right essay topic at all costs.
Each year, admissions committees of colleges receive several thousand applications. Besides screening these applications, the committees are also tasked with evaluating the application essays, which cover a wide range of topics. The essay topics, also known as essay prompts, are usually suggested by the admissions committees. Students are free to choose one from the list of suggestions; in some cases, they are also free to write on a topic of their choice.
Tips to Choosing a Good Application Essay Topic
Picking a topic that allows one to best express oneself is a good way to start off. This means selecting a topic that not only is engaging, but also allows the applicant to demonstrate their knowledge effectively.
A good topic for a college admission essay is one that is:
An essay topic that lets an applicant share a distinct experience, story, or situation is a sure shot way to get the attention of essay evaluators. Further, an appropriate headline that aptly summarizes the essay topic at the beginning of the essay is an absolute must. An eye-catching headline not only grabs readers’ attention, but also urges them to read on.
The application essay topic should be pertinent enough to create a good impression. It is better to refrain from writing college essays on highly personal or controversial topics. Writing an essay about conspiracy theories or an essay on witnessing an accident are examples of topics that applicants should steer clear of.
Besides being relevant, the application essay topic should also be interesting enough to make readers want to read the essay. A topic that is contemporary and can be debated on is worth exploring in a college essay.
A well-written application essay gives the admissions officers an insight into an applicant’s critical thinking skills, critical analysis skills, research skills, and writing skills among others. It is therefore crucial for an applicant to select an engaging essay topic they’re comfortable writing about. This way they can do justice to the subject matter, and also confidently write about issues and concerns raised in the prompt.
Popular College Application Essay Topics
Different colleges come up with diverse essay prompts each year to test various skills of applicants. They put together a list of essay topics from which applicants can choose one to write about. A few colleges also give applicants the option to write an essay on a topic of their choice.
Some of the most popular essay topic ideas that colleges come up with include:
1. Transformative Experiences
Events that change one’s perspective or worldview are known as transformative experiences. Writing about transformative experiences, especially positive ones, is an opportunity to share inspiring incidents in one’s life. For example, how learning a new language helped someone break communication barriers is a good college essay topic. It highlights the fact that the writer knows more than one language and is also eager to learn and grow; these are vital traits for any college student to have.
2. Overcoming Obstacles
Obstacles can come in many forms and pose challenges big and small. But people who successfully overcome them have great stories to tell. Sharing an inspiring story about tackling obstacles, in the form of an essay, gives applicants an opportunity to impress admissions officers. Admissions committees would be more than willing to accommodate someone with the strength to endure a setback, persevere, and eventually succeed.
3. Supporting a Cause
From being a volunteer at a soup kitchen to raising money for charity, one’s ability to support a good cause shows their commitment toward giving back to the community. Some may shy away from writing about their volunteering experiences, but that should not be the case. Being able to show compassion is a strength and speaking about one’s strengths, especially when applying to a college, always bodes well for an applicant.
4. Favorite Academic Subject
This seems like an easy essay topic to write about, but it requires proper substantiation. If the said favorite subject is also going to be a part of the curriculum in college, then it becomes all the more important to prove what made the applicant fall in love with the subject. Sweeping generalizations won’t be enough. It is crucial to provide multiple real-life examples and anecdotes to help the admissions committee see why the applicant likes the subject so much.
Besides the application essay, applicants are also required to submit a personal statement or a supplemental essay as part of the college application. It is necessary to ensure that the content across these different pieces of writing is varied and does not repeat. Stating the same things or highlighting the same skills and strengths in each of them should be avoided at all costs.