Selecting Your Essay Topic
After you went through the long brainstorming process, you most likely know what elements you may want to put in the college application essay. This includes important life experience, goals, important features, great accomplishments, research experience and so on. In addition, you most likely know what you want the admission officer to learn about you.
It is tough to make an impression that will last on a person that reads almost 100 essays daily. However, it is possible and we offer some guidelines that would help you out. If you have some luck, use around 2 topics, make minor changes and answer the application questions, you will eventually do what needs to be done but only when you add a touch of personality. The website of the college should be read together with the admissions catalog so that you understand the strengths of the institute.
We recommend that you now think about the followings:
Did you select one topic that is describing important things in your life and that can be highlighted with supporting details and personal experiences? Does your topic stand out as a gimmick? Will it be amusing or not? In most cases it is not a good idea to try to add humor as you do not know if the person reading will like it.
Does the topic repeat some information that is found in another part of the application? In this case you should choose something else. Never mention test scores in essays.
Is it possible to add supporting paragraphs that support your topic? In the event that you cannot think about supporting paragraphs, you should most likely choose another essay topic.
Is it possible to fully answer questions that are asked? Can you elaborate and address points in a given word limit or would you just end up writing a summary? If something technical is written in the admissions essay, it has to be properly backed up and the writing should also be interesting at the same time. You will not impress anyone if you are not really good at what you write.
Will you be able to maintain interest in the entire essay with the considered topic? The whole essay has to be interesting and you should never choose a topic that is overdone. Take a quick look at past essays that are written on the internet. There are basically hundreds of different free essays that can be downloaded on the internet.
Is the chosen topic a turnoff for many individuals? For instance, if you are of a different religion and you want to write an essay that shows how you worship a god, whether or not abortion is good or something political, you might end up not getting into the chosen college. There is only one thing that is worse than you writing essays that are forgettable: writing essays that are remembered in a highly negative manner. Avoid controversial opinions, political doctrines or religions. Writing essays about the influence of philosophers on your life can still work but you have to understand that some people might not agree with the views of a particular philosopher. Controversial topics can easily make you seem as being arrogant.
Will admissions officers remember the topic even after reading hundreds of other essays? If so, what will be remembered about your writing and about your personality?
Use the criteria mentioned to evaluate topic ideas. Ask free opinions from teachers, colleagues, friends or anyone that knows much about you. It is important to have a couple of interesting essay topics to ask about. Think about the guidelines below:
- Staying Focused On Personal Qualities – The main goal of any essay should be to highlight personal qualities. You cannot simply say that something really bad happened in the past in order to guarantee admission. You need to show how that event changed your life. A failure to do this would highlight you as an applicant that is pathetic. You want to be the applicant that showcased impressive qualities when faced with difficult circumstances. If you do not use a considered horrible experience just for effect and you manage to magnify personal characteristics, the essay will have the effect that you want it to.
- Essay Fit – This is a very common mistake. The essay has to fit your application while avoiding what is obvious. As a very simple example, in the event that your application shows that you obtained great results, your essay should not be about how you managed to get those results. However, if the results are low, it is a good idea to showcase why that happened. Maybe there was a medical problem or something that took you away from academics dedication.
- Diversity – Every single graduate school, professional school or college will want to increase diversity. Because of this there are many applicants that are nowadays tempted to declare themselves as something that they are not. It is not enough to say that you are a lesbian female or black to impress the admissions officer. Even if such a topic can be the foundation of a wonderful essay, it is important to address personal qualities and to highlight how stigma was overcome or how you dealt with the social ostracism that appeared. Your demonstrations have to include personal interests, motivations, qualities and so on. The main point of attraction would be showcasing how the diversity that you offer would help with campus opinion, social life and academic environments.
- The First Impression Counts – It is a very bad idea to mention weaknesses. That should only happen when they are explained. You have to do all that you can so that the first impression is a positive one. The admissions officers should never read something about partying, drugs or drinking. As a very clear example, many mention ADD but why would you ever admit to such a weakness instead of showcasing the strengths that you have?
- The Importance of Honesty – You have to be honest but not because that is what you have to do. If you are not a tremendous writer, it is much better to write about things that actually happened. People are tempted to write about things that are invented but that is always unnecessary. An essay that is genuine is always better.