How to write a college essay about fandom?

So I’m a rising senior working on college essays. I have a couple already written and there’s currently two I have gotten feedback on. One is definitely the better essay in terms of how it’s written, but it’s a pretty basic topic about a first job and I don’t really connect emotional to it/care about it. My other essay though is about being a Supernatural (TV show) ex-fan, being embarrassed about it but accepting that there’s nothing wrong with being a fangirl. I want to talk about Supernatural because it was a big part of my life for a while and I think it ties in with the rest of my application as I am interested in Media Studies. I think the main issue is the lesson/thesis, I want to kind of write about how even though Supernatural contributed nothing to my life, it made me happy and that’s enough. But I have no concrete change to my life, which is what is generally suggested for college essays. I could make the point about not being embarrassed for being like nerdy and weird? Idk. Really any advice would be appreciated.

TLDR I want to write about growing out of being a fangirl, but have no real lesson/concrete way to show change

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I’d suggest making you happy is not actually nothing.

I know there is a certain mindset that the only things of value that a kid, or perhaps a person, could ever do are ones that in some way provide a “return” in the future. But I think often, the “return” is immediate, the value is in the experience itself, and not something else in the future.

So personally, if you felt like it, I think you could defend a thesis like that (or whatever actually made sense to you). It would be most impactful if you could create a really specific vision of what being happy actually means to you, which is often a much more complicated topic than some people seem to realize. And I personally believe once you truly understand what human happiness typically means, you can be a lot less apologetic about doing things because they make you happy.

Or write about something entirely different. The whole point is this essay is about you, what you value, who you are. It isn’t about showing you can conform to someone else’s values. Including mine.

How is this an attribute that colleges want on their campus?

What about being a fan brings something to them?

Early in my career I sat by salesman on a flight, who told me the secret to sales was to always tell the buyer what’s in it for them. You want the college to buy so make the case that being a fan will bring something, will add to their class.

Creativity? Connecting with a community? You do not need to show change, especially if you didn’t change :slight_smile:


I agree with this, but I just want to explicitly stand up for attributes like introspection, wisdom, simplicity, balance, and so on. These are not incompatible with community attributes, I think they can be critical to being a valued member of a community.

Or, in other words–see The Tao of Pooh.

I agree – colleges want kids with those attributes for sure. The OP just needs to explain how she brings those things to the table. Perhaps a theme could be “prioritizing happiness”.


I think you tie it to connecting with community. A fandom is a community. If Covid taught us anything, it’s the value of connection. It doesn’t really matter what that link is - whether it is bonding over a tv show, a team sport, collecting Pokémon, a role-playing game, a social justice cause, a love of opera. Finding community is not something to be embarrassed by, even if you have outgrown that particular community. Maybe tie in how you engage with community now.


I couldn’t agree more.

For example, if the essay prompt from a college is “Why us?”, what they are REALLY asking is “Why are you right for us?” It takes time and a lot of research about school-specific information AND your own vision and aspirations as to how you can marry them together.

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Don’t overthink this. Just write an authentic essay , one that comes naturally.

ps @mynameiswhatever I think the Why Us essay is necessary in this day and age when students are applying to 20 schools. Schools are concerned with yield.