A well written college admission essay can give prospective students a serious advantage on their applications. Here are Tutor Doctor’s tips to help students pick a unique college admission essay topic!
Before you start, do some research on the schools you are applying to. Different colleges and universities have varying requirements for the essay prompt. Depending on the school, you may be presented with any of the following formats:
- One prompt with a single response
- Multiple prompts to choose from, with a single response
- Multiple prompts to choose from, with multiple responses
- No prompts, free response or choose-a-topic
In addition, find out if any of the schools you are interested in accept the Common App. Filling out the Common App allows students to fill out one application that can be submitted to multiple colleges and universities, which saves a ton of time. Even better, students have the option to prepare ahead of time by viewing the essay prompts in advance. The link to the 2019-2020 Common App essay prompts is below, and it has been confirmed that these prompts will remain the same through 2020-2021:
We recommend looking up the essay options and requirements for the specific colleges you are interested in attending. Then, see if you can find sample prompts or examples from previous application years to help you prepare your response.
Start brainstorming about what makes you unique. The most important goal for any student writing a college essay is to stand out from other applicants. Try to think about what sets you apart, both as a person and as a student. What moments have defined you throughout life? What interests or hobbies are you passionate about? Always consider your responses carefully, as the essay portion of your application is the one section students can showcase their creativity and unique qualities.
Familiarize yourself with common topic ideas. College essays typically focus on growth and achievement. Students should focus on their progress, but also their challenges. Overcoming obstacles and adapting to change are common themes in college essays, and students should try to paint a picture that shows how they have grown and matured over the years – both as individuals and as students. Here are some topic themes you are likely to see in college essays:
- Difficult challenges in life that you have overcome and learned from
- Creative interests, individual talents, or personality traits that make you unique
- Situations where you had to display leadership or strength
- Educational barriers that you have faced with confidence and resilience
- A topic or idea you find particularly interesting and want to explore further
- Times where you had to showcase problem-solving or team-building skills
- People, places, or things that have inspired you or changed how you view the world
Students should take the time to familiarize themselves with common prompt themes, and remember that a good college essay can make or break the chance of admission. When it comes down to it, the bulk of your college application is just a form containing your legal information and academic background (grades). College essays are an opportunity for students to really stand out by showcasing their positive qualities beyond the classroom.