How about these essay topics?

<ul>
<li>Talk about my favorite condiment and how picky I am with food but when I find something I like I stay loyal to it (tie into how I'll be committed to the college I have picked).</li>
<li>Talk about how I'm an outcast in my family. (I would speak negatively/cynically about extended family in this, is this bad?)</li>
<li>About my competitive nature and my heated battle for valedictorian against a girl in my class (would this present me as 1-sided, only caring about academics, etc.. ?)</li>
<li>Talk about how I accept many of my flaws (personality) and do not try to change them because they are a part of human nature. (does this sound like I don't care about improving myself and that I'm lazy/a bad person?)</li>
<li>Talk about my tendency toward being bulimic and how the advertisement-driven world we live in has given our society unrealistic expectations? (too personal?)</li>
</ul>

<p>Don't do #2 in my opinion. If you don't handle it just right, it'll be a huge negative. #1 is fine, #3 won't make you look too academic imo, #4 is a terrible topic (you're supposed to address your flaws, especially if personality is one of them), and I don't see how #5 will make you more appealing to the adcom.</p>

<p>I like #1 because it's different. I wouldn't do #2 and definetely not #3 because they want to see what you care about apart from academics. #4 seems kind of vague and unless you can swing it the right way i would avoid it. I'm sorry to say this about #5, but I don't think you would want to risk bringing mental illness into the picture when it comes to applying to colleges. While colleges are not supposed to discriminate, they would still pick another person with the exact same credentials as you but without an eating disorder over you. To be safe, I would steer clear of the topic and continue/start to get help on your own.</p>

<p>Congrats, though, on being valedictorian. Where are you applying?</p>

<p>Thank you guys this really helped! These were the topics I was on the fence about.
I'm applying to:
- Cornell University (ED)
- UPenn
- USC
- Vassar
- University of Chicago
- Reed College
- William and Mary College
- Boston College</p>

<p>The best topic for you is the one that allows you to write the most personal, detailed, and revealing essay. The essay that is so you that only you could write it.</p>

<p>Only you, not strangers on the Internet, can know what that topic might be.</p>

<hr>

<p><a href="I%20would%20speak%20negatively/cynically%20about%20extended%20family%20in%20this,%20is%20this%20bad?">quote</a>

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Yes, this would be bad. Do not speak negatively/cynically about other people in your essay. Will your readers go out of their way to bring a negativist cynic to their campus?</p>

<p>
[quote]
I'm an outcast in my family

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Colleges are trying to build a social environment as well as an academic environment. Will presenting yourself as an outcast make them think that you will enhance that social environment?</p>

<p>
[quote]
my heated battle for valedictorian

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Is there something in your life that you are committed to that is a little more socially oriented? What kind of classmate does this make you sound like?</p>

<p>
[quote]
how I accept many of my flaws (personality) and do not try to change them because they are a part of human nature.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>The essay is part of the marketing package known as the application. You must always be truthful in the application, but, within the truth, you are well-advised to present yourself in an overall favorable light. How does this topic present you in a favorable light?</p>

<p>
[quote]
how I'll be committed to the college I have picked

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Forecasting the future is a telling and is not persuasive in a college essay. If you essay shows that you are loyal, then also telling that you are loyal is redundant. </p>

<p>
[quote]
Talk about my tendency toward being bulimic

[/quote]
</p>

<p>You must think very carefully before revealing any sort of mental illness to colleges. There are a number of threads here on that topic; my advice would be to check them out.</p>

<p>
[quote]
how the advertisement-driven world we live in has given our society unrealistic expectations? (too personal?)

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I find this topic to be insufficiently personal. The thought that advertising is overly influential is a cliche. Meaning: it isn't necessarily wrong, but it is a commonly suggested idea that won't distinguish you from other applicants. Always use your own ideas; always find your own words.</p>

<p>I like the condiment one (because it is unique) and I think the valedictorian one could work, if done the right way and is really personal.</p>

<ol>
<li>Talk about my favorite condiment and how picky I am with food but when I find something I like I stay loyal to it (tie into how I'll be committed to the college I have picked).</li>
</ol>

<p>Sounds interesting, but I would have to see the actual essay first. It can be difficult, trying to produce an interesting essay simply from an interesting topic.</p>

<ol>
<li>Talk about how I'm an outcast in my family. (I would speak negatively/cynically about extended family in this, is this bad?)</li>
</ol>

<p>As others have said, no. Simply no. This an instant ticket to the trash bin. Never speak negatively about others in your essay, even if you redeem them later. If you speak something negative about yourself, you better have an amazing excuse for it, like overcoming some sort of obstacle.</p>

<ol>
<li>About my competitive nature and my heated battle for valedictorian against a girl in my class (would this present me as 1-sided, only caring about academics, etc.. ?)</li>
</ol>

<p>It doesn't present you as one-sided, unless you write it that way. This might be a little dangerous because a 'heated' competition might be misinterpreted. A university doesn't want some person who'll scratch their way to the top. Friendly competition is perfectly good, though.</p>

<ol>
<li>Talk about how I accept many of my flaws (personality) and do not try to change them because they are a part of human nature. (does this sound like I don't care about improving myself and that I'm lazy/a bad person?)</li>
</ol>

<p>See answer to #2</p>

<ol>
<li>Talk about my tendency toward being bulimic and how the advertisement-driven world we live in has given our society unrealistic expectations? (too personal?)</li>
</ol>

<p>Highly volatile subject, I would simply avoid it. Also, I really recommend you talk to your counselor about this problem.</p>

<p>I would be interested to see how you would handle the condiment one. How would one compare his or herself to relish? Ketchup? Mayo? Mustard? </p>

<p>Outcast? Hecks no. You'll end up sounding bitter and self-pitying.</p>

<p>Competitive nature? Sure. Spin it to make it sound less cliche, though. </p>

<p>Flaws that you allow to stay...flaws? NO. In my opinion that is about the worst one here, except maybe the outcast one. Who would want a static, unchanging student? One who says, "I know I'm failing, but I am just no good at studying...oooooh weeeeell." Next!</p>

<p>Tendency towards the bulimic...well, only if you have completely overcome the disorder. But, as psychology tells us, you never quite get over an eating disorder, you can only tame it. Sooooo, this one is a touch sticky. Not because it's too personal, but because it shows a potential problem that may negatively affect the institution, yadda yadda. </p>

<p>The college app essays are all about marketing, so MARKET! Make the college wanna buy you. Best of luck with your applications!</p>