College Admission Essay Topics You Should Avoid

October 2nd, 2018

BY DAVID GUTIERREZ

Your admission essay plays a deciding role in defining whether you get accepted to the college of your choice or not. However, with all the importance attached to this task, it is amazing how little consideration would-be students put into writing it and especially into choosing what they intend to write about. Many of them make a grave mistake by merely choosing a particular topic – in this article, we will teach you how to avoid some of the worst of them.

1.    How awesome a person you are

Writing an essay summarizing your accomplishments is a bad idea for two reasons. Firstly, it breaks one of the most important rules of storytelling, which is just as functional in an admission essay as it is in a movie: show, don’t tell. Reading for a few thousand words about your diverse accomplishments may summarize your achievements, but it is also just plain boring. If, however, you choose a particular example and demonstrate what kind of person you are through it, it is another matter entirely.

Secondly, people bragging about their achievements are annoying, even if these achievements are genuine and laudable.

2.    Tragic experiences

Tragic experiences are invariably extremely personal and require very careful handling to write about well and effectively without making it look as if you beg for sympathy. You may find a free essay or two to learn the ropes from, but even so, you are rather unlikely to get any bonus points for your choice of subject matter.

3.    Highly divisive topics

No matter how passionate you are about such matters or how sure you are about your being right, avoid highly divisive topics like the plague. Their very nature means that it is very hard to be neutral about anything written on them, and you never know who is going to read your essay and what their views are.

4.    Funny topics

Here is the thing: you are not nearly as funny as you think you are. And there is nothing more pathetic than a person trying to be funny and show off his wit while failing drastically to do so. Some applicants believe that by adopting an overly familiar, humoristic tone of voice can win points with the admission board, but nine times out of ten they greatly overestimate both their sense of humor and the board’s readiness to perceive it. So make this a rule of a thumb – a funny episode or a joke are okay as long as you are sure they work. Trying to be funny for the funniness sake – not so much.

5.    Volunteering

Many students naturally drift towards describing their experience during volunteering missions. However, you should understand two things: firstly, if you do so, you probably do it for the lack of something better and more interesting to write about, which is by definition a not very promising sign. Secondly, it is one of the most boring, clichéd and overused admission essay topics going around. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the majority of essays the admission board gets to deal with consists of samey descriptions of samey volunteering experiences and forced exhortations of how much it influenced the life and views of the applicant. Give them a break, choose something else, anything else.

It is surprising what a huge percentage of admission essays are written exactly on these topics – applicants just keep on making the same mistakes over and over again. This, however, means that you can win yourself quite a few bonus points just by steering away from some of the worst choices.

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

 

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