Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Does my topic fit any of the prompts?


Replies to: Does my topic fit any of the prompts?

  • conscious02conscious02 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    I 100% understand the issue. I wrote it already (it's part of our final exam, ugh) and I know a handful of students who wrote about mental issues & got into top schools (i am aware that my experience may not be the same as theirs). Also, I spoke to an admin for UVA 2 months ago & I explained to him this topic (I had this all planned out already) and he said that it all depends on how it is written and there are many factors that play into it. But again, he is speaking from his perspective. So those three things, especially the last two, are causing me to be so attached to this topic.

    The good thing is that what I will be turning into my teacher for the final will not be what I will be turning in to colleges. I have this summer to delete, edit, and revise. Hope I make the right decision. But I didn't want to come off as stubborn. I originally wrote this post to ask whether my topic had fit the prompt and I had negative responses regarding my topic so I was a bit taken back. But thank you all, I will definitely take your concerns into consideration.
  • conscious02conscious02 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    & I will be sure to read the Hack the College Essay!
  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher Registered User Posts: 121 Junior Member
    I would try a different topic if I were you. Talking about yourself when you were in middle school may come off as immature.
  • scubadivescubadive Registered User Posts: 1,055 Senior Member
    Health can be a taboo subject. It all depends on how you write it. The best essays I have read are a brief moment in time where the writer tells a story about how they felt in context to what was going on.. The most mundane things can make an excellent essay.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,897 Senior Member
    edited May 6
    Why would you choose to write about something not relevant to colleges? Being an ex hypochondriac isn't a trait they look for. Not at all.

    This isn't like writing in high school, where your English teacher gives you an open topic and just wants to see introspection. This is for your college admit chances.

    And it's "show, not just tell." You may think this explains your nedical or EC interests, but it's not good enough to just tell them you "grew" or take things easier now. They want to see how this let you triumph in high school and outsidr. have real impact, stretch out of your own self.

    Plus they may not want kids who are too laid back.

    They may question your judgment and thinking. Rethink the purpose of the essay.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,897 Senior Member
    "and he said that it all depends on how it is written and there are many factors that play into it." Standard answer. What makes you think this is carte blanche to write whatever you want? It's not an endorsement of your idea.

    "But again, he is speaking from his perspective." Darned tootin'. Assuming you meant adcom, not admin, he will be reading and rating your app "from his perspective, " too.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 7,799 Senior Member
    In post 9 you say: "I am no longer a hypochondriac. I no longer have a mental health issue. That is why I am writing this essay."

    And that's the problem.

    That's NOT why you're supposed to be writing this essay. It's not true confessions, and it's not Dear Diary. This essay is a sales job. It's an attempt get a stranger to pick your application over one of someone equally qualified, in 650 word or less. It's an attempt to show that stranger that you would be a positive addition to their campus-- a better addition than someone else. It's your one chance to separate you from your statistics.

    So highlighting any sort of problem is a mistake. Even if you're over it-- though you can't present any real evidence that you DON'T have a mental health issue. You can tell us, you can tell them, you can believe it down to the soles of your feet. But once you've raised the issue, the reader is going to wonder how "cured" you are. Whether the stresses of living on your own with a stranger far from home will help those issues resurface. Whether they should warn Residential Life that your future roommate may be requesting a change because of those issues.

    Or they can just choose someone else, someone who hasn't raised those issues.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 7,799 Senior Member
    Also, look at what you’ve done so far. You say you’ve spent 450 words or so and have 200 words left...to tell about the positives, to sell your application. Your app is competing against kids who used 650 words highlighting the positives you’ve given yourself 200 words to do the same thing.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 13,666 Forum Champion
    Okay do you want the first thing the Admissions Officer sees is:

    I was a hypochondriac.

    Still not the best you that you can present.
  • shuffle1shuffle1 Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    edited May 7
    The first problem with a topic of this sort is that writers tend to spend 2/3 or more of the time talking about the past and they run out of word count to talk about a go-forward position. There's lots of coloration and details about how awful things were and then the path forward just is a bland sentence that says that's all behind you with nothing else, and to the reader it comes across _really_ unbalanced. The story for the essay is not about how bad things were; it's about how you overcame something bad and learned from it and moved past it. Those are two completely different essay topics, and teenagers tend to overly focus on the first one - haven't seen yours, but I've seen a Lot of them.

    The second problem with this topic is that you're too emotionally connected to it. That makes it impossible to edit it, or accept criticism of its content, structure, or wording, without taking that as criticism of you. It takes someone with a very mature world view and high level of self awareness to write about such events in life without forming an unhealthy bond with the wording of it or the specific metaphors and symbols you choose to use. It can be done, and I've seen it done, but it was a very rare individual who had a great gift as a writer and a very high level of self-awareness who also had a great therapist along the way.
  • LynnskiLynnski Registered User Posts: 166 Junior Member
    "But I didn't want to come off as stubborn."

    Unfortunately, OP, you are coming off as stubborn. You've gotten a lot of smart and caring advice. In the face of the general guidance, you seem to be solidifying your attachment to the topic.

    Any topic can be used to respond to one of the prompts because they're broad questions and one is completely flexible on purpose. But your topic—while it's undoubtedly interesting—does not provide a terrific response to the overarching prompt for the Common App:

    What makes you a wonderful addition to the college community?
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,897 Senior Member
    It could be ok to write one funny line about an obsession when younger, but then move entirely away from that and focus entirely on your surge through high school, on the super accomplishments and show the good you do.

    That's not what you're describing.

    Hypochondria, is an obsession. They aren't looking for a)kids eith obsessions or b) kids now obsessed with the topic. You're showing here that your fixed on this topic. That's so far from the flexibility they look for.

    400 words can be a red flag on it's own. This is not about describing a problem in detail. A few sentences in, theyll.wonder if you truly left obsessing behind.
  • STEM2017STEM2017 Registered User Posts: 4,070 Senior Member
    edited May 7
    I wrote it already

    I'm sure this is why you are resisting the advice on this thread.

    My advice is to put this essay aside and save it for a secondary application, like a scholarship or a special program. It will not go to waste.

    For your main college essay, pick another topic and start over.
  • collegemom9collegemom9 Registered User Posts: 580 Member
    Nothing wrong with writing more than one essay, I think my son ended up writing 4 completely different ones before he finally had something that was really good. It was frustrating but worth it in the end to get into a very competitive school ED.
  • shuffle1shuffle1 Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    " I wrote it already." You wrote a high school assignment; a college application essay that will stand up against other college application essays is a different task altogether. This is a completely different game and much different competition and you're being advised how to play and choosing not to accept the advice. That's your choice, but it may impact your outcomes in terms of acceptances and aid.
Sign In or Register to comment.