Common College Essay Topics
College admission essay writing can be one of the most intimidating aspects of the application process. Writing a clear, concise essay that reflects your outstanding qualities is challenging, but it is also the best way to leave a good impression on the admissions board. This list will give you some ideas about how to tackle common essay topics you may encounter.
Topic #1: Why do you want to attend this school?
This is one of the most common topics for an admissions essay and there are two main things you’ll want to convey as you cultivate your content. First, the university wants to know what you will do with your time at the school. Mention specific examples of majors, activities, or organizations that draw your interest. Colleges want to know that if they offer you a place on their campus, you will take full advantage of the amazing opportunities. Second, the university wants to know what you will add to the campus community. As you explain your interests, try to incorporate ideas about how you will connect with others, research you would like to be involved in, or ideas for volunteer projects. By combining these two perspectives, you’ll show the college that you’re interested in growing as a person while also helping others grow.
Topic #2: Describe a person you admire.
The most important thing to remember when writing about this topic is to be genuine. You don’t have to write about a famous person in order to impress the college board. If the person you admire most is a parent, a sibling, or coach, then you should absolutely write about that person. However, if you genuinely admire someone like the President of the United States and feel that their achievements inspire you, by all means write about the individual! Make sure that you give concrete, specific examples of how this person has influenced your approach to life and which qualities you’ve taken as part of developing your own persona.
Topic #3: What is your favorite book and why does it mean something to you?
A topic like this one shows why it is important to be well-read! If you read enough, surely you’ll find a book that leaves its mark on you. If you write about this topic, be sure to spend the bulk of your paper explaining why this book is significant to your life, how you relate to the characters, or what the main messages were for you. Avoid summarizing the plot of the book beyond what is necessary to make the paper coherent. Once again, don’t feel pressured to pick an “important” book. If a graphic novel, comic book, or even a children’s book has significantly impacted you, it will be a great foundation for your essay.
Topic #4: What is an extracurricular activity that has been meaningful to you?
Chances are, there will be no shortage of extracurricular activities you have participated in, so this topic shouldn’t be too daunting. Sports, organizations, and volunteer activities all make excellent topics. If you have traveled for the purpose of volunteering or learning about other cultures, that could potentially be an excellent topic as well. Make sure you emphasize what you have learned or how you have grown as a result of this activity rather than simply describing what you enjoy about it.
California College Essay Preparation
Even though admissions essays can be nerve wracking, they offer an opportunity for you to let your unique personality shine. As you write, remember to be authentic, original, and give concrete examples that demonstrate how your topic relates to the unique candidate you are. Also, be sure to tailor your essay to each university you apply to, even if the topics for different schools are similar. Last but not least, make sure to have someone proofread it for errors!
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