Five College Essay Topics to Avoid


Ananth Veluvali @ Stanford University

Five College Essay Topics to Avoid

Coming up with college application essay topics is difficult for most students who are going through the already stressful college application process. The Common App essay and supplemental essays give students a chance to show admissions officers who they are beyond their grades and how they stand out from all of the other applicants. Consequently, you want to make sure your essay takes risks, but isn't too risky.

To avoid receiving a handful of rejections come January, do not write about any of the following topics:

1. Your love life


Discussing your love life is inappropriate and unprofessional in a college application essay. It's difficult for even the most skillful writers to talk about their romantic affairs smoothly, and you are likely no different.

2. Using drugs or alcohol

Drugs and alcohol

Admissions officers will question your judgment if you write about any illegal or illicit behavior, even if you learned from it.

3. Your resume


The admissions officer reading your application is likely already familiar with what you do outside of school by the time they get to your essays. They know your after-school and weekend activities. So, avoid boring them with a repeat of that information in your essay. Instead, use the essay as an opportunity to share something new about yourself that can't be found elsewhere in the application. Resist the urge to turn your essay into a list of accomplishments; instead focus on sharing thoughtful insights about yourself and why you're interested in attending the college.

4. Sports


College admissions essays about sports or injuries have been overdone for the past 10 years. Why? Because every college applicant has a sport. In other words, writing about your athletic activities in no way distinguishes you from anyone else applying to college. Furthermore, sports essays tend to be painfully predictable and cliched, no matter whether your experience resulted in triumph (“throbbed to the thrill of victory”) or failure (“suffered the agony of defeat”). Unless you have an original story that needs to be told, it's best avoided.

5. Mission trips

Mission trips

A typical service trip essay where you talk about your time helping others and how it changed you only serves to show off your privilege. It's similar to sports; everyone has done them, and college admissions officers are aware that many students use these experiences as resume fillers. With that being said, if there is one specific moment from the trip that stands out to you (preferably a moment where you had to problem solve or be innovative), then go ahead and write about it.



Previous article

Site developed by Soham Govande.



Based at Stanford.
Copyright © Admit Yogi LLC 2023.