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What Essay Topics are Colleges Sick of Reading?

hayisforhorsehayisforhorse Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
Our lives are made up of many influential moments, but which ones are colleges sick of reading about? Struggles with chronic illnesses? The strange yet profound “Costco” or “Pizza Hut” style essays (evaluating how a visit impacted life)?

I am considering writing about how my Crohn’s Disease impacted my life, but if this kind of essay is overdone and colleges are sick of it, then I’ll need a new topic.
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Replies to: What Essay Topics are Colleges Sick of Reading?

  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 1,771 Senior Member
    ^ yup
  • hayisforhorsehayisforhorse Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    @Midwestmomofboys

    I like that idea! Develop it as something that helped me find my passion and something that changed me for the better, rather than the struggle itself.

    Also, kudos for knowing so much about Crohn’s! Many don’t know much about it, so it’s refreshing to hear that others understand the struggles that come with the disease.
  • whoknowswhere25whoknowswhere25 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    My high school said to avoid 2 things. The whole “experience after volunteering during the summer” scenario and writing about a role model. They said that when one writes about a role model, it shows they are dependent upon others.
  • USCWolverineUSCWolverine Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    @MomofMWboys, terrific insights there. Mahalo!
  • Angelababy30Angelababy30 Registered User Posts: 165 Junior Member
    You shouldn’t be worrying too much about whether the admission officer is tired on reading it (you will never know who will read your essay). As long as it is authentic and show your true personalities , you should be fine. Worrying about the admission officer is the least important thing you really need to focus on your essay.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,941 Senior Member
    That isn't really true. The point is to get them to want to admit you. Ignore that at your own peril.

    Regarding illness, if it has impacted your grades or ability to do EC, sometimes you can have your GC mention that you've had a health issue that impacted those things. Just in case that is one reason you were thinking of writing about it.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 7,298 Senior Member
    ^^Right. The point behind this essay is "to give them a reason to say yes" to your application.

    There are some topics that should be avoided, simply because they don't show you in your best light, regardless of how authentic they are.

    There's a time for revealing your warts. Your college essay is not that time.
  • porcupine98porcupine98 Registered User Posts: 1,612 Senior Member
    What everyone said. At one info session, they said "no grandparents [role model], no torn ACL [athletic injury]"

    Variations on a theme.
  • SDCounty3MomSDCounty3Mom Registered User Posts: 205 Junior Member
    My D got some good advice recently, which is to be sure your essay talks about YOU. Of course you can/should have a story that includes others as important role players, but ultimately the essay is your chance to illustrate yourself. Here's an example of two contrasting essays I helped edit years ago. They're written by the same person. In one, he talked about a philosophy his friend has, ("Do what's hard"), and how that influenced and inspired him. He was not accepted to his dream school. He decided to take a year off, and the next year he tried again with an essay in which he focused on what he did during that year off, which was to work in voter registration and political campaigns. He was accepted to the dream school on the second try. Point being...the first one made you focus too much on the admirable qualities of his friend, rather than on him. The second was all about a story of taking action, due to his own initiative and interests, and it was much more effective.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,653 Forum Champion
    Write the essay you want to write that shares a story you want to tell. Don't try to be cute or original just for the sake of being different. If you write about your chron's then just be sure you avoid the "woe is me" type of essay and focus on how your illness has shaped you into the person you are today.
  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 3,606 Senior Member
    I don't think any topic is really tired, unless you write about it in a cliched manner ("and then at the end of my missions trip to that impoverished land, I realized how wealthy I was"). For her Wellesley essay, my daughter wrote about her friendships and dating relationships and how the adult women in her life had mentored her through their challenges. Doesn't sound like much of a topic, but she treated it very well. Another kid at her high school wrote about his video gaming. WPI and Northeastern liked it.

    The key isn't to pick an interesting topic necessarily, or to have a gimmick, but to write about that topic in a compelling way. Sometimes, you really do have an unusual story to tell--a college classmate of mine wrote about being the child of a funeral director and growing up in a funeral home--but if you don't, just be real.
  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 Registered User Posts: 807 Member
    "Small" stories that can be fully explored and then tied back to who you are as a person seem to work well. My D wrote a great (IMHO) essay that started with what she experienced attending Quaker meetings at her summer camp and how hard it is to be quiet for an hour. She took the reader into that moment then pivoted out to what she learned (from meetings and being tech free for a summer),about herself and how she incorporated it into her life. Very personal.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 11,796 Forum Champion
    Read this...they say to write an essay only you could write. Many people could write an essay about how losing the basketball game taught them many things.
    http://www.****/uploads/1/0/9/5/109505679/hack_the_college_essay_2017.pdf
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