What’s the most challenging part of writing your college essay? For most students, it’s choosing a topic. To help you get started, here are three tips to help you find a topic that is right for you.
Crafting a solid college essay is well-worth your time and effort. Your college essay is your best opportunity to set yourself apart in the college application process. Your grades through your junior year are set, and while you may be able to improve your test scores in the spring, it’s your essay where you can truly put the spotlight on your personality and character.
And your first step? Figuring out what that best topic is for you.
If you’re having trouble hitting the ground running, below are three quick tips to get you started.
Make the Decision to Brainstorm a College Essay Topic
While brainstorming a compelling topic for your college essay can prove to be challenging, it also can be extremely rewarding. If you write about the first thing that comes to mind; it may not be the best topic for you. Brainstorming many topics will allow you to look over your list and choose one with intention and clarity. It will require self-analysis and a willingness to dig deep into your past life experiences. You want to provide the college admissions reader with a thoughtful and introspective piece.
Move Past Writer’s Block
Find a quiet place where you can think and write, away from all the usual distractions. To begin, free-write some thoughts on defining moments you’ve had. Have you moved? Did you choose to become vegan? How has your community-service commitment affected you? How have you grown in the past few years? What are values that define you, particularly those that not all high school students would write about? Which experiences have been the most meaningful? Let your brainstorming go wherever it takes you.
Ask Yourself This One Question
What do I want colleges to know about me? Think about what is important to you and how you’ve changed or matured over the past several years, being as authentic as you can. Once you’ve written down some thoughts, look at the essay prompts on your online applications and choose a topic that both aligns with their prompt and resonates personally with you. Think beyond the literal interpretations for each given prompt. When you’ve found a topic that both answers their prompt and shows a piece of who you are, you know you’ve found a great topic for you.