It’s that time again. The yearly struggle to write college application essays is upon us. Given that this is a common problem that most of us will face or have faced at some point or another, I’d like to offer a few suggestions on topics that your fellow applicants probably won’t be brave enough to cover. That is, topics outside the norm.
Are you brave enough to tackle them?
First, the key to writing a great college entrance essay paper is to make it fun and engaging, while also challenging typical thinking on the subject. Go against the grain! College essays can still be entertaining, you just have to figure out how to make them so. The prompts your chosen colleges give may seem boring – it’s your job to make them interesting. Further, entertaining essays catch the eye of admissions committees tasked with reading about the same topic over and over again. Doing something different can make you stand out, and get you admitted.
For example, in one essay, we were asked to write a letter to someone explaining the importance of writing well. Most students chose their brothers or sisters or friends. I chose Stephen King.
In another essay prompt, we were asked to predict the future and how humans will change. I composed an essay suggesting humans would grow hair like monkeys in order to protect them from the sun.
Those are only a couple of examples of the ways you can make even seemingly boring topics fun.
Here are a few more out-of-the-norm college application essay ideas:
- Your favorite TV show. You’d be surprised how many academics are devoted to television shows. Buffy: the Vampire Slayer has a huge academic following – with conferences and scholarly papers included. See if you can weave your favorite television show into your essay. You can do the same with songs that may apply to your topic.
- What’s the thing you most dislike to do? Hate is a very motivating topic. Find something you really dislike and write about it. Give your opinion, do some research, synthesize your opinion with your findings and see if you change your mind. Writing is the physical manifestation of thinking, and thinking is what college is all about.
- Tell your life story – backward. Write your autobiography, including triumphs and failures, from today to your birth.
- If you are assigned a topic, twist it into something interesting, as I did with the first two examples. Writing about what you did last summer can turn into quite the amusing story, if given the right perspective.
Now, make sure you don’t skip over the requirements for your essays – sometimes outside-the-box topics can make you forget what you were supposed to write about! But try to have fun and make them personal at the same time. Given the right perspective, these kinds of essays almost write themselves.
Contributed by William Pate