What to Write about Your College Application Essay

What to Write about Your College Application Essay

One way to decide what to write your college essay on is to consider something personal that you are passionate about and make it your essay topic.

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Every year, there are college admissions for students around the world and a high number of college application essays that students write when seeking admission to a college. Admissions officers go through hundreds of college application essays. The surest way to be sure that you get college admission is to write an outstanding college application essay.

That means that students seeking college admission should think carefully about what their application essay will be about. So, how do you decide what to write in your college application essay? Your college essay should be personal, unique, and should show why you deserve to get an admission spot in a college.

How to decide a topic for your college essay

College application essays can be about visions, athletics, and past experiences. You can write your college application essay on any topic you decide. However, how you decide what to write your college essay on is critical to the success of your essay. There are some essay topics that you should not write about when writing your college application essay. They include

1. Summary of accomplishments

Nobody likes one who loves to brag, and essays are no different. Despite the many accomplishments you may have made, tell other life experiences in your essay. The reader should get an assessment of you from the essay.

2. Illegal behavior

You may have gone through life issues that you think would create a compelling essay. However, writing your college essay on issues such as crime and drug use may cause the reader to pre-judge you. It does not matter if the behavior was in the past; it can be a ground to dismiss your application.

3. Tragedies

It is hard to write about life events such as divorce and death, as there is a lot of emotional attachment to loss. If you have to write about this, the essay should focus on you and how those tragedies impacted your life.

How do I know what to write my college essay about?

College applications require you to submit an essay example in 500 words on a subject of your choice. It is important that you understand what writing this essay will entail. Here are three things to keep in mind when knowing how to decide what to write your college essay on :

What is the purpose of a college application essay?

You could be wondering why you need to write an essay to make your college application. Aren’t academic results from high school enough to grant you college admission?

The main purpose of a college admission essay is to make a connection between the admissions officer and the college applicant. Since admission officers go through numerous application essays, you want to write an essay that reflects your personality. The essay should portray you as an authentic individual who deserves a place in that particular college.

Acknowledge your limitations

Although you are telling your story your way, you should remember that there are essay instructions that you need to follow. The essay should be 500 words—not a lot to tell a long story. The length limitation is because admission officers have thousands of application essays to go through.

You should then put across the important things in your essay without wasting any chance. When you focus on the limitations you have for your essay, you will narrow down on your essay topics and find the most suitable one for you.

Ask questions

You might be surprised that it is not obvious that you know who you are in an instant. Exploratory questions are a good starting point to get to know yourself and in knowing how to decide what to write your college essay on.

Ask yourself some questions such as: What motivates you? What fascinates you in life? What life experiences have shaped you? Answers to these questions will guide you in knowing how to decide what to write your college essay on.

What do you write in a personal essay for college?

To decide what to write on your personal essay for college, you should keep three things in mind; originality, creativity, and memorability. Your essay should be unique and should have all the parts of an essay.

Lastly, the essay should create a lasting impression on the mind of the reader. That implies that you need to take time to brainstorm essay topic ideas early enough. Once you have an essay topic in mind, you need to plan the ideas and how they will flow in your essay. Some of the college essay topics that you can write about include:

College essay topics on influences

This is a broad topic and targets the influence behind you as a person and your achievements. What inspires you to become more? What influences your decisions and stand? The influence could be an organization, cause, or person.

Whatever your choice is, you should write a personal essay expressing your concerns and vulnerability. Though such an essay focuses on the influence, the essay should be about you and your contribution to the school. Show how the influence has affected you and the steps you have taken as a result, and do not get swayed by writing about the influence.

Personal essay for college on stories

This is the most common way to write about your challenges, beliefs, and personality for college essays. Even when telling your story your way, you should see that you are keeping the reader engage and interested in knowing more.

To pull off a creative college essay as a story, you need to have excellent storytelling skills. There should be something in the story that makes the story stand out and puts your point across well. The focus is not on the story but the outlook on life from the story.

College essay topics on evaluations

Essay topics on evaluations focus on details of certain things such as achievements, experiences, or life events that have had an impact on you. Such essay topics are ideal for individuals who have gone through something, and they know that it has shaped their personality. You can incorporate other storytelling elements to make your essay personal and unique.

College essay topics on diversity

When applying for college as an international student, you are planning to add diversity to the school. You can take advantage of that aspect and indicate the diversity you will be adding to the school in your essay.

Highlight the things that make you unique as an individual and the value that those qualities add to the school. Diversity goes beyond race and involves the manner of interaction within a community. A diverse community grows together as one with the different weaknesses and strengths being gifts to the community.

Additional tips when writing a personal essay for college

The following are some useful tips on how to how to write a personal essay for college:

  • Have an outline

Application essays have a certain outline that they must follow like other writing assignments. Once you learn how to decide what to write your college essay on, you need to know how you will say it. An essay outline will help you break the essay into sections.

First, your essay should have three main sections; the introduction, body, and conclusion. This natural essay progression will make your essay easy to read. Second, you need to determine the tone of your essay. The tone of an essay depends on the essay topic idea.

Lastly, you should write an essay in your voice. Planning these aspects early enough will see that you are consistent in your essay style.

  • Be thoughtful

Most of the accomplishments that students have are academic and extra-curricular achievements. While these are key in your application, you cannot change anything about them. The essay is the part of your college application that you have control over. Putting much thought into what will go on in your essay will distinguish your application.

  • The essay should be personal

Often, a college application offers you six college essay prompts that you have to choose from. There is no much attention to how to decide what you write your college essay on, so long as the essay is about you.

That means that the big focus is not on your experiences but instead what you learned from the experiences. Your essay gives you the freedom to be self-centered.

  •  Do not guess what the reader wants

There is no definite answer to what an admissions officer may want to read in a college application essay. Therefore, trying to guess my college essay topic that might intrigue the reader is not the way to approach this. Instead of guessing what the reader may want, focus on how to decide on what to write your college essay on. You can then look into ways of bringing out the topic well to connect with the reader.

  • Focus on your strength

Do your peers tell you that you are funny? Are you a creative person? We all have different skill strengths, and you should use your skill strength to your advantage.

If you do not know your skill strength, it is high time that you focus on discovering it and learn how to decide what to write about your college essay on.

  • Give extra details

When making your college application, there are different things that you will attach to your application, not just the college application essay. Hence, do not include the details that are in other application documents in your essay. Tell the admission officers things that they do not know about you and that is not in other application documents.

  • Seek ideas from other people

People around you; peers, parents, coaches know aspects about you that you probably do not know. Therefore, you can ask for their input when brainstorming essay topic ideas. You will be surprised that their input will play a huge role in the uniqueness of your application essay.

  • Edit the essay

Besides getting the admission officers to know more about you, an application essay is a way to test your communication and writing skills. Look at the application essay like a normal class assignment and apply the rules you use in handing a written assignment.

Write your essay in good time and proofread it. Removing grammatical and spelling errors. You can even look for an essay editing expert to help edit your essay. Lastly, ensure that it is presented in the right way, and you submit it on time.

What you should avoid when writing your essay

Getting the college application essay is not all about knowing what you should write about. It also encompasses knowing what you should not write about. Some of the things you should avoid are:

  • Avoid repetition on your college application essay

You should include information about yourself and your accomplishments in your application once. Relaying certain information in your essay more than once makes the essay uninteresting and redundant.

  • Don’t be Negativityin your college application essay

In case you choose to write your essay about a problem you have gone through, write in a way that the essay shows the positive outcome of the problem. Using your essay as a platform to express your roadblocks will work against you.

What would result from emotional writing is an emotional essay that would give the impression that you are not ready for college yet.

  • Do not be one-sided in the college application essay

There are certain topics that are ‘taboo’ such as religion and politics essay topics. If you are well-versed in these topics, you may consider writing your essay on them. However, your essay might seem close-ended.

Also, if an admissions officer does not agree with your beliefs, they may perceive you as an arrogant person. You need to be extra cautious if you will write about a controversial essay topic.

  • Limiting your essay writing

In as much as you should be cautious about what you write about, do not underestimate or overestimate your essay writing. Do not shy away from writing about a certain topic if you feel you can execute a good essay on it.

On the other hand, do not exaggerate your essay when you pick a topic that you are passionate about. To strike the right balance, be honest about yourself when picking a topic for your essay.

  • Not researching about the school

There is no doubt you will be making college applications to different institutions. If your college application essays are on the same topic, you need to differentiate the essays.

No two colleges are the same. Therefore, research more about a university and frame your essay to fit a particular institution. Your information about the school will show whether you took your time to research the school before making that application.

Example of “what should I write my college essay ”

If you have tried brainstorming ideas with no success, you can consider taking a quiz to help you come up with an essay topic. The answers to these questions will also give you more insight into who you are as an individual. Here is a sample of a quiz you could take:

How do you feel about this college?

  • I love it
  • The college would be lucky to have me
  • I am not sure how I feel about it

What are you looking forward to in college?

  • Being away from home
  • Acquiring more knowledge in your field
  • Becoming a professional
  • Meeting new people

What would your friends describe you as?

  • Fun
  • Focused
  • Passionate
  • Brave

What would you describe yourself as?

  • All-around person
  • Hero
  • Creative
  • Geek

Which Harry Potter character describes you best?

  • Hermione Granger
  • Luna Lovegood
  • Harry Potter
  • Neville Longbottom

How would you want the admissions department to react to your application?

  • Admiration for your ideas
  • Be in awe
  • Ponder on it
  • Cheer at your essay

How would you feel if your application is unsuccessful?

  • Bad, but apply later
  • Regret
  • Come and beg the admission officers
  • Shrug it off

Final thoughts

When you think about the many application essays that admission officers have to go through in a year, it can inflict fear when writing a college essay. However, writing a great college application essay is not a hard task. 

The most important aspect of your college essay is to decide what to write in college essay. Remember that the college essay is your chance to make a first impression with the admissions officer, and you want to make a lasting impression.

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