college essay idea summary opinions

Hello! I am currently writing my college essay but I’m uncertain if the topic I’m planning to write is too common/bland or if it even makes sense. I’m Asian American and ever since I was young, I had to uphold many responsibilities like making phone calls, cleaning the house, taking care of my siblings, translating,figuring how to fix stuff, etc. along with school because my parents don’t speak English that well.

I was thinking about using the Mango tree in my backyard as a symbol of my family and the falling leaves as the things they ask me to do. Therefore expressing how I have to take care of the tree by cleaning up all the leaves in Florida weather meaning how the stuff i need to do is never ending and exhausting at times and gets me frustrated because I feel my family doesn’t appreciate what I do and expects me to know everything.

Then going on to saying how I’ve grown to realize that my family and I have different perspectives that I’ve learned to understand as I grow up. Like how my family does small things that I never realized like my dad buying drinks for me randomly or how my aunt bakes coffee sponge cakes just for me when my family likes normal ones.

I may hate cleaning up the tree (doing stuff) at times but in the end the mangoes are sweet which mean how it has brought me closer with my family and I’ve grown into a more independent individual that knows more than the typical teen in my age.

Should I include an exact moment that change occurred or is this okay? I’ve been seeing that immigrant essays sometimes are common so I didn’t know if this would work?

Thank you

It is difficult to judge the quality of an essay or appropriateness / effectiveness of topic without reading a draft of the essay.

Try not to overthink your essay. Write a draft & seek critiques.

I recently saw a college website that was very specific in advice about essays - and “parent bashing” was on their shortlist of no-no tropes. Try to avoid any appearances of doing that.

I think it’s best to steer away from the never ending list of stuff they expect you to do. It’s a nice idea otherwise. Difficult to pull off as you describe unless you’re a strong writer.

@RL6477 College Confidential recently covered this topic in an article that may help answer your question. Read more here:

The idea seems pretty good, you talked about many little stories that you want to put into your essay, try to pick two most important ones that you could expand on in little anecdotes.

“I feel my family doesn’t appreciate what I do and expects me to know everything.”
Try to avoid this! As said by @ArtsyKidDad, no parent bashing! Maybe lean more towards expectations, that you had a tough time with your family’s expectations, rather than the feeling of ungratefulness.

I think the mango tree anchor is a good one. While overt parent bashing or whining is not good, I think talking about difficulties, frustrations and expectations is fine as long as it leads to growth/self awareness.

The purpose of a college essay should be: 1) to let admissions officers know something about yourself that can’t be found elsewhere on the application and 2) to make admissions officers want to have you on campus. Any topic can be fine as long as it meets the two criteria above. Just be careful that your essay doesn’t sound like you are complaining about a long list of things you do for your family – instead focus on how you learned/grew as a result of your responsibilities.

I suggest you write a draft of your essay and ask a trusted English teacher to review it. Do not post your essay on CC.