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Essay Topics for us Rural Folks

GeortsGeorts 1 replies1 threads New Member
Alright, comical title aside, I have found myself constantly trying (and failing) to come with intriguing and meaningful essay topics, as of late.
I currently live in an extremely small town (we have a population of a little over 1,000 people in total) and to be quite frank, nothing much happens here. While writing practice essays, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my life simply hasn’t been filled with the same life-altering epiphanies and events that one might find while living in a more metropolitan or urban area. I don’t mean to sound at all pessimistic; however, I have developed a sense of anxiety concerning the amount of pivotal moments in my life, or lack thereof.
While I am aware that more niche and quirky topics have become popular recently, I fear that in incorporating such topics into my essay, I will consequently lose a sense of seriousness and sentimentality within my writing. Balancing on the tightrope between eclecticness and inconsequentiality is a difficult task, indeed.
Although essay topics vary wilding from application to application, and I am sure that it would be near impossible to obtain a definite answer to my quandary, I hope that anyone who feels that they had an upbringing similar to mine will expound on how to make even the most mundane moments in life seem indispensable, and where you drew inspiration from while writing your essays.
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Replies to: Essay Topics for us Rural Folks

  • MommaCatMommaCat 165 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Well, I really enjoyed reading your post just now. I like your style of writing and was immediately drawn into what you had to say. What type of schools are you applying to? I feel like you could write what you just did and maybe talk about how you look forward to more life experiences and how your stable years will allow you to make good choices, etc.
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 266 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @Georts
    You writing is outstanding and captivating. Perhaps choose a few 'ordinary' experiences that best illustrate your characters (resilience, integrity, empathy) positively.

    As an aside, I came across a news article about Cornell admission process, and the director of admission at their College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said, "...that coming from a farm is “absolutely” an advantage in CALS admissions. She explained that the number of students that admission officers see coming from production and agriculture backgrounds is “dwindling,” so they will “take a close look” at those applicants."

    Given your rural background, might you fit this category?
    https://cornellsun.com/2018/11/06/a-look-inside-how-cornell-accepts-its-students/
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9254 replies93 threads Senior Member
    Agreed that you have a great writing style and could make this question the foundation of your essay.
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  • GeortsGeorts 1 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks everyone for the much needed advice, and @tgl2023 for the article. I am quite surprised, and very pleased to hear that certain admissions boards now view having an agricultural background as an advantage for a potential student. I know many of my friends will be very glad to hear this.
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  • AnisqoyoAnisqoyo 99 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    @Georts - I grew up in a (very) rural environment as well, but moved to the big city suburbs in time for college admissions. I can relate (somewhat) to your quandary. I've read a lot of essays during the past two years as I prepared to guide my youngsters through the application process, and it is quite a process.

    The best essay I read (and yes, it was, IMHO, better than the Costco essay) was about a kid in rural Wyoming and the many challenges he faced just getting to his regional high school each day that was far from his home. This essay focused in on what very few AO's can probably relate to - daily life on a farm. The student talked about specific events he had to overcome just to get to school. Some were scary, many were hilarious, but they were all things most people have never experienced, much less ever considered. The essay was unique to him and gave the AO a point of view they had never read before.

    His intro was perfect. He talked about all the possible awards he could have earned/won in high school, but that his mom's favorite "award" was that he never got marked for being late to school. After reading the litany of events he had to overcome just to get to school on time, both the author and the reader have to agree that his mother was right in valuing that "award" more than any other.

    He had decent stats, but not the kind you'd expect to see applying to Ivy's and other schools of that level. He was accepted to an incredible array of top schools that I don't recall right now, but he ended up at Stanford.

    The moral here is to pick a topic unique to you (write about what you know!), and then personalize it in a way that the AO will get to know something important/endearing about you. Show don't tell. I'd bet there isn't one AO at any of the schools where you will apply that has lived your life. Take them on a walk in your shoes for 650 words. It doesn't have to be something sophisticated. Simple can be better, as the kid from Wyoming proved. Whatever topic you choose, it won't be boring because it will be new to the reader, and you obviously have the writing skills to make it pop. Don't worry, your unique point of view will keep them captivated. Git 'er done!
    edited December 2019
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