You can even write your own question! Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: 1. Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2. Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why. More College Essay Topics Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays.
Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them: Describe a person you admire. 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.
Focus on yourself: Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you. Why do you want to attend this school? 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. My parents work, work, work to keep the shelves stocked and the customers coming.
The grocery store holds a special place in my heart: it is the catalyst for my success. So when the opportunity to attend the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science presented itself, I took it and ran, as did my parents by leaving Vietnam and by buying the store.
Although the opportunities that my parents and I pursued are different, our journey is essentially the same: we walk a road paved with uncertainty and doubt with the prospect of success fortified by our hearts and our hands. However, reflecting on how your culture has shaped your experiences can make for a compelling essay. Alternatively, focusing on a dominant personality trait can also make for a compelling theme. One important thing to note: the topic of identity can easily lack originality if you cover a common experience such as feeling divided between cultures, or coming out.
If such experiences are integral to who you are, you should still write about them, but be sure to show us your unique introspection and reflection. One of our consultants detailed how growing up as an American in Germany led to feelings of displacement. Moving to America in high school only exacerbated her feelings of rootlessness.
After moving from Berlin to New York at age fifteen, my feelings of cultural homelessness thrived in my new environment.
Americans confused me as I relied on Urban Dictionary to understand my peers, the Pledge of Allegiance seemed nationalistic, and the only thing familiar about Fahrenheit was the German after whom it was named. In between games and snacks, Laya would ask me questions about American life, touching on everything from Halloween to President Obama.
Gradually, my confidence in my American identity grew as I recognized my ability to answer most of her questions. Together, we worked through conflicting allegiances, homesickness, and stretched belonging. Forging a special, personal bond with young refugees proved a cathartic outlet for my insecurities as it taught me to value my past. My transculturalism allowed me to help young refugees integrate into American life, and, in doing so, I was able to adjust myself.
For instance, you might consider cross country an activity, but cooking an interest. Writing about an interest is a way to highlight passions that may not come across in the rest of your application. You should also feel free to use this topic to show what an important activity on your application really means to you. Prompt 2 The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.
How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? This prompt lends itself to consideration of what facets of your personality allow you to overcome adversity. There are times in life when your foundation is uprooted. For example, if you lost a friend due to an argument, you can analyze the positions from both sides, evaluate your decisions, and identify why you were wrong. The key is explaining your thought process and growth following the event to highlight how your thinking has changed.
Did you ever admit your fault and seek to fix the problem? Have you treated others differently since then? How has the setback changed the way you view arguments and fights now? 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. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What have I achieved that has been integral in molding my character and ambitions?
What, in my seventeen years on this earth, has helped shape the person I am today? Does your crazy, dyed-blue hair define you? Did going to a Picasso exhibit inspire you to start an art collection that has since expanded beyond the borders of your bedroom? What are the challenges and rewards of having same-sex parents? Or of being raised by your siblings? Or of being part of a family made up of stepsisters and stepbrothers? Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.
How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? We have always believed that essays about overcoming obstacles are most effective when they focus more on solutions than problems. Applicants should aim to showcase qualities like resilience, determination, and humility. The obstacles you choose to explore can vary widely in nature, especially with the recent additions that allow students to explore challenges and setbacks in addition to failures.
They can be as serious as being tormented by bullies, as ingrained as the financial issues that have plagued your family for years, or as seemingly pedestrian as a mistake that costs you a tip while waiting tables. Still, if you can isolate an incident of trial in your life and illustrate how you learned from it, this can be a rewarding prompt to explore. Some key questions to consider: How do you deal with hardship?
What qualifies as a challenge or setback in your life and world? Are you the kind of person who can rebound and turn every experience, good or bad, into one from which you can learn something? What experiences might illustrate this quality?
And was there a silver lining? And a few examples to think about: Has a lifelong battle with stuttering ultimately increased your overall confidence and allowed you to participate in social activities and public forums without self-judgment? Did a series of setbacks on your road to becoming a child actor introduce you to screenwriting, your professional goal and biggest passion? Did your failure to follow directions lead you to a botched home science experiment root beer explosion!
Overall, try to keep these stories as positive as possible. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? This prompt requires a student to speak passionately about beliefs and ideology, which are often onerous subjects that can be difficult to mold into compact stories. It can be one of the hardest questions to steer in a positive, productive direction without traveling into preachy, overly didactic territory.
This is also a more precarious prompt than most in that students need to carefully assess the risks of espousing beliefs that might be polarizing for the readers of their applications.
Applicants who can articulate their thoughts and feelings while showcasing malleability and willingness to thoughtfully consider the ideas of others will likely stand out as valuable additions to any campus.
Overall, try to keep these stories as positive as possible. There are many reasons you may need to write a personal essay , from a simple class assignment to a college application requirement. Some key questions to consider: How do you deal with hardship? Tell about the first day you moved in a dorm What was the most impressive hang-out during college years? Get one-on-one help from former Ivy League and top tier admission officers. She would sacrifice her wishes and preferences just to make the unconventional choice.
Dig deep into your experience. Why not share them with your readers? This prompt requires a student to speak passionately about beliefs and ideology, which are often onerous subjects that can be difficult to mold into compact stories. In addition, you can highlight intersections between multiple backgrounds and show how each is integral to you.
A formal event or accomplishment might include anything from obvious landmarks like birthdays or weddings to achievements like earning an award or receiving a promotion. What kind of mark would you like to leave on the world? We love Prompt 4, which asks students to talk about a problem and how they have solved or are planning to solve it. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Prompt 5 Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. No matter how many times people visit the seaside or mountains. Prompt 1 Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? This prompt offers an opportunity to engage with your favorite extracurricular or academic subject, and it allows you to weave a narrative that displays personal growth in that area. Seeing the business as a failure, my mom commenced her packing that night; returning to Vietnam seemed inevitable.
And that you floss at least every other day—trust us, it will pay off in the long run. How was your first encounter with the police? Readers value sincerity.