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How do I avoid writing about a generic topic for my CommonApp essay?

tashesquetashesque Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
edited November 2012 in College Essays
Essay topic for CommonApp: Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences in the space below (1000 character maximum).

I want to write about something extremely unique because I bet by the time college admission counselors read my essay, they've read every topic, it's vague and boring to them. Unfortunately, I've never had a job. I've done volunteer work for a nursing home, library and volunteer work in India. I've taken part in clubs in my high school but nothing to spark great excitement. What can I write about? How can I make my essay individualistic yet exciting and unique? Please help me out! :)
Post edited by tashesque on

Replies to: How do I avoid writing about a generic topic for my CommonApp essay?

  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    The point of the exercise isn't to demonstrate that you've had experiences that nobody else in the applicant pool can duplicate: "...so I looked across the table and said to him, 'Mr. President--Hosni, if I may--it's really time for you to step aside and give democracy a chance in Egypt.'"

    The point of the exercise is to write about something that is pretty much what everybody else does, but to do so in a way that shows the admissions committee something about the kind of person you are. Because, really, colleges are building entering classes made up of young people, not of resumes.

    It is possible to write about fairly mundane events in a way that's still engaging. Ever read Jane Austen?
  • rkooikerrkooiker Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    You shouldn't try to be overly unique. I think the trick is to write about something that is important to you, and to do that in a persuasive way. The topic may be generic, but that doesn't mean that it is by definition boring.

    Remember the point of the essay: it's one of the few ways to show the admissions committee what kind of person you are, so use that oppurtunity wisely and stay true to yourself.
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