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. When crafting an essay, think of it as offering admissions readers a window into a certain event or story. Focus on the most meaningful moments, not the irrelevant background details. For example, a student once wrote an essay about feeling out of place culturally during an internship. Instead of giving a general description of the internship and his conflicts, he opened the essay with a vivid description of what he saw when he first arrived, and used this scene to frame the feelings of alienation he underwent — giving the reader a striking image of his experience in great detail.
Remember, your college application essay is about you. For further guidance and examples, check out Noodle's collection of expert advice about college essays. Noodle's mission is to make the search for education better through increased transparency and efficiency. We partner with not-for-profit institutions to help identify qualified applicants. In doing so, we're able to provide our content and services at zero cost to student users.
Learn more about how we make money. This was how I lived my life, and it was exhausting. After 8th grade, I moved to Georgia. I panicked. If there was no normal, how could I be unique?
I realized that I had spent so much energy going against the grain that I had no idea what my true interests were. It was time to find out. I joined the basketball team, performed in the school musical, and enrolled in chorus, all of which were firsts for me.
I did whatever I thought would make me happy. And it paid off. I was no longer socially awkward. In fact, because I was involved in so many unrelated activities, I was socially flexible. I had finally become my own person.
It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Even though the prompt allows you to explore more academic and intellectual topics, it is important not to get carried away with esoteric details.
Bottom line, the topic you choose for this prompt should, like every topic, highlight your personality, identity, and how you think about the world. Be sure to describe the event or experience that caused you to realize the gravity of the problem, the specific actions you took to plan or execute your solution i. For example, if you care deeply about drug education because of a past experience with a friend or family member, you could outline a plan to bring young-adult speakers to your school to positively influence your peers and stress the real dangers of drugs.
As an alternative, this prompt gives you the opportunity to address a more ambitious, hypothetical problem you would like to solve. For example, you could address the logistical and legal problems of high-speed rail in the United States, the complex environmental and economic problems of using fossil fuels, or even the ethical dilemma of creating A.
Be careful to frame your hypothetical problem clearly, explain why it is a problem, outline the important points, and explain your steps to create a solution. Prompt 5 Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
This prompt is expansive in that you can choose any accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked personal growth or new understanding. One option is to discuss a formal accomplishment or event whether it is a religious ritual or social rite of passage that reflects personal growth.
If you go this route, make sure to discuss why the ritual was meaningful and how specific aspects of said ritual contributed to your personal growth.
An example of this could be the meaning of becoming an Eagle Scout to you, the accomplishment of being elected to Senior Leadership, or completing a Confirmation. Alternatively, a more relaxed way to address this prompt is using an informal event or realization, which would allow you to show more personality and creativity.
An example of this could be learning how to bake with your mother, thus sparking a newfound connection with her, allowing you to learn about her past. Having a long discussion about life or philosophy with your father could also suffice, thus sparking more thoughts about your identity.
You could write about a realization that caused you to join a new organization or quit an activity you did not think you would enjoy, as doing so would force you to grow out of your comfort zone to try new things. The key to answering this prompt is clearly defining what it is that sparked your growth, and then describing in detail the nature of this growth and how it related to your perception of yourself and others.
Your growth can also be left open-ended if you are still learning from your experiences today. This essay describes the new tasks she undertook, as well as how the writer now more greatly cherishes her time with her mother. My mother had been a source of strength for me, and now I would be strong for her through her long recovery ahead. As I started high school, everyone thought the crisis was over, but it had really just started to impact my life.
My mother was often fatigued, so I assumed more responsibility, juggling family duties, school, athletics, and work. I made countless trips to the neighborhood pharmacy, cooked dinner, biked to the grocery store, supported my concerned sister, and provided the loving care my mother needed to recover.
I now take ownership over small decisions such as scheduling daily appointments and managing my time but also over major decisions involving my future, including the college admissions process. My mother remains a guiding force in my life, but the feeling of empowerment I discovered within myself is the ultimate form of my independence.
Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? This prompt allows you to expand and deepen a seemingly small or simple idea, topic, or concept.
A tip for expanding on these topics and achieving specificity is to select particular details of the topic that you find intriguing and explain why. You can delve into why certain spices or garnishes are superior in different situations, how flavors blend well together and can be mixed creatively, or even the chemistry differences between steaming, searing, and grilling.
Regardless of your topic, this prompt provides a great opportunity to display writing prowess through elegant, specific descriptions that leverage sensory details. In the case of surfing, the salty water, weightlessness of bobbing over the waves, and fresh air could cater to senses. Alternatively, for less physical topics, you can use a train of thought and descriptions to show how deeply and vividly your mind dwells on the topic.
Well-executed trains of thought or similar tactics are successful ways to convey passion for a certain topic. When brainstorming this particular essay, a tip would be to use a web diagram, placing the topic in the middle and thinking about branching characteristics, themes, or concepts related to the topic that are directly engaging and captivating to you. Need help with your college applications? Learn more about how our Applications Program can help your chances of admission.
The best essays will be honest as they explore the difficulty of working against the status quo or a firmly held belief. The answer to the final question about the "outcome" of your challenge need not be a success story. Sometimes in retrospection, we discover that the cost of an action was perhaps too great.
However you approach this prompt, your essay needs to reveal one of your core personal values. If the belief you challenged doesn't give the admissions folks a window into your personality, then you haven't succeeded with this prompt. Sample essay for option 3: "Gym Class Hero" by Jennifer Option 4 Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma--anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.
Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. With the ability to write about an "intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma," you can essentially write about any issue that you find important. Note that you do not have to have solved the problem, and some of the best essays will explore problems that need to be solved in the future.
Be careful with that opening word "describe"—you'll want to spend much more time analyzing the problem than describing it. This essay prompt, like all of the options, is asking you to be introspective and share with the admissions folks what it is that you value. Sample essay for option 4: "Grandpa's Rubik's Cube" Option 5 Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
This question was reworded in admissions cycle, and the current language is a huge improvement. The prompt use to talk about transitioning from childhood to adulthood, but the new language about a "period of personal growth" is a much better articulation of how we actually learn and mature no single event makes us adults.
By senior year, I was pleased my exploration had gone well. Pick an experience from your own life and explain how it has influenced your development.
And she vicariously lived through my experiences as I sent her pictures and told her about my adventures. How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you? 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.
The "belief or idea" you explore could be your own, someone else's, or that of a group. If you are extremely passionate about a topic or an expert in a certain area, for example Renaissance technology or journalism during World War II, you can use this prompt to show your authority on a subject by discussing it at a high level.