Recently viewed courses
Find Your Dream School
COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will continue our "Enroll with Confidence" refund policies. For full details, please click here.
Enter your email to unlock an extra $25 off an SAT or ACT program!
Get help writing your college application essays. Find this year's Common App writing prompts and popular essay questions used by individual colleges.
The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores (and to distinguish yourself from the rest of a very talented applicant pool).
2019–20 Common App Essays
Nearly 700 colleges accept the The Common Application , which makes it easy to apply to multiple schools with just one form. If you are using the Common App to apply for college admission in 2019, you will have 250–650 words to respond to ONE of the following prompts:
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure . How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
Read More: Get Expert Essay Advice From Former Admissions Officers!
Tackling the Common App Essay Prompts
Prompt #1: share your story..
Answer this prompt by reflecting on a hobby, facet of your personality, or experience that is genuinely meaningful and unique to you. Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in. Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all fair game if you can tie it back to who you are or what you believe in. Avoid a rehash of the accomplishments on your high school résumé and choose something that the admissions committee will not discover when reading the rest of your application.
Prompt #2: Learning from obstacles.
You're trying to show colleges your best self, so it might seem counterintuitive to willingly acknowledge a time you struggled. But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance! That’s why the last piece of this prompt is essential. The obstacle you write about can be large or small, but you must show the admissions committee how your perspective changed as a result.
Prompt #3: Challenging a belief.
Your answer to this question could focus on a time you stood up to others or an experience when your own preconceived view was challenged. Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific!—experience to recount (and reflect on). A vague essay about a hot button issue doesn’t tell the admissions committee anything useful about YOU.
Prompt #4: Solving a problem.
This essay is designed to get at the heart of how you think and what makes you tick. Present a situation or quandary and show steps toward the solution. Admissions officers want insight into your thought process and the issues you grapple with, so explain how you became aware of the dilemma and how you tackled solving it. Don’t forget to explain why the problem is important to you!
Prompt #5: Personal growth.
Just like Prompt #2, the accomplishment or event you write about can be anything from a major milestone to a smaller "aha" moment. Describe the event or accomplishment that shaped you but take care to also show what you learned or how you changed. Colleges are looking for a sense of maturity and introspection—pinpoint the transformation and demonstrate your personal growth.
Prompt #6: What captivates you?
This prompt is an invitation to write about something you care about. (So avoid the pitfall of writing about what you think will impress the admission office versus what truly matters to you). Colleges are looking for curious students, who are thoughtful about the world around them. The "what or who do you turn to when you want to learn more” bit isn't an afterthought—it's a key piece of the prompt. Make sure you explain how you pursue your interest, as well.
Read More: QUIZ: Test Your College Knowledge!
Prompt #7: Topic of your choice.
This question might be for you if you have a dynamo personal essay from English class to share or were really inspired by a question from another college’s application. You can even write your own question! Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: 1.) Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2.) Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why. There isn’t a prompt to guide you, so you must ask yourself the questions that will get at the heart of the story you want to tell.
More College Essay Topics
Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them:
Describe a person you admire.
Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln. The admissions committee doesn't need to be convinced they are influential people. Focus on yourself: Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you .
Why do you want to attend this school?
Be honest and specific when you respond to this question. Avoid generalities like "to get a good liberal arts education” or “to develop career skills," and use details that show your interests: "I'm an aspiring doctor and your science department has a terrific reputation." Colleges are more likely to admit students who can articulate specific reasons why the school is a good fit for them beyond its reputation or ranking on any list. Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you.
Read More: 5 Ways College Application Essays and High School Essays Are Different
What is a book you love?
Your answer should not be a book report. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. What does your favorite book reveal about you? How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you?
Again, be honest in answering this question—don't choose a classic from your literature class or a piece of philosophy just because you think it will make you seem smarter. Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you.
What is an extracurricular activity that has been meaningful to you?
Avoid slipping into clichés or generalities. Take this opportunity to really examine an experience that taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow. Sometimes it's better to write about something that was hard for you because you learned something than it is to write about something that was easy for you because you think it sounds admirable. As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: how you discovered this activity, what drew you to it, and what it's shown you about yourself.
Looking for strategic college advice?
Get one-on-one help from former Ivy League and top tier admission officers. Our College Admission Counselors will help you find, apply, and get accepted to your dream school.
- Applying to College
Explore Colleges For You
Connect with our featured colleges to find schools that both match your interests and are looking for students like you.
Take our short quiz to learn which is the right career for you.
Get Started on Athletic Scholarships & Recruiting!
Join athletes who were discovered, recruited & often received scholarships after connecting with NCSA's 42,000 strong network of coaches.
Best 388 Colleges
154,000 students rate everything from their professors to their campus social scene.
SAT Prep Courses
1400+ course, act prep courses, free sat practice test & events, 1-800-2review, sat® 1400+ course, our top sat experts teach the strategies proven to have helped our students join the top 5% of test takers..
1-800-2REVIEW (800-273-8439) ext. 1
1-800-2REVIEW (800-273-8439) ext. 2
- Teach or Tutor for Us
- Enrollment Terms & Conditions
- Cigna Medical Transparency in Coverage
Mon-Fri 9AM-10PM ET
Sat-Sun 9AM-8PM ET
Local Offices: Mon-Fri 9AM-6PM
Mon-Fri 9AM-9PM ET
Sat-Sun 8:30AM-5PM ET
- SAT Subject Tests
- Social Studies
Find the Right College
- College Rankings
- College Advice
- Applying to College
- Financial Aid
School & District Partnerships
- Professional Development
- Advice Articles
- Private Tutoring
- Mobile Apps
- Local Offices
- International Offices
- Work for Us
- Affiliate Program
- Partner with Us
- Advertise with Us
- International Partnerships
- Our Guarantees
©2023 TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University
- Describe a facet of your identity, background or story that is essential to who you are.
For this essay, try finding a part of your identity that will set you apart and highlight the unique perspective you will bring to the university. Try to avoid writing an essay that a school will most likely get a million different times — for example, an essay about your talent playing a sport or your early love of learning. Think about an aspect of your personality, family or upbringing that is truly special.
- Write about a time that you failed at something. How did that failure affect you?
Don’t be afraid to dig deep and talk about something that may feel vulnerable. Try to conclude with an example of how the failure improved the way you deal with similar situations now. It can be uncomfortable for anyone to admit they’re less-than-great at something, but that honesty can be refreshing, especially if you tell your story in an authentic, relatable way.
- Tell us about a time where you challenged your pre-existing worldview. Why? Would you do this again?
In this essay, choose a time that you were able to listen to experiences and perspectives contrary to yours with respect and maturity. Demonstrate that you are able to zoom out from your personal worldview and learn from those you may disagree with. This can not only give colleges an idea of your ability to engage in difficult ideological debates, but also your character and humility.
- Write about a problem that you have or want to solve. It can be as big or as small as you can think of!
For this question, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. It is easy to say a typical world issue — like hunger — but a creative problem can showcase your specific passions and interests and set you apart. An admissions officer is much more likely to remember an applicant who has a very specific essay written in a unique and quirky way.
- Write about a moment that illustrated your shift from child to adult within your community or family.
If you can’t immediately think of a pivotal event for this essay, you may want to skip it and try a different one. Essays like this are best answered with significant and unique moments rather than less important ones.
- Describe a favorite book or movie where the main character has to decide something difficult. What did you think about their choice?
The defining factor for this essay is what book or movie you choose. Stay away from pop culture novels that many people may use ( Harry Potter , The Hunger Games , etc.) and try to pick a book you have read in school or something unique you read for fun that stayed with you. However, don’t use a book you didn’t enjoy! Inauthenticity will always come through in your writing.
Coordinate tutoring sessions for admission help with a sign up. SAMPLE
- Write your top 10 list.
With this prompt, get creative. Don’t simply put 10 things you enjoy — get specific! Pick something you love and give your top 10 — maybe top 10 memories of your life, top 10 favorite books, top 10 quotes, etc. Make sure you give clear explanations of the items on your list as well. The more specific your list is, the better.
- Tell us a topic that you have changed your mind on in the past three years.
For this essay, don’t hesitate to get silly or serious — but make sure you go all the way whichever side you choose! Pick an issue that doesn’t come immediately to mind. Try to pinpoint a specific “a-ha” moment your opinion changed, and make sure to give an example of how your changed perspective has influenced your behavior.
- Write about your life goals.
To answer this prompt, go beyond the generic career and family goals. Try to answer things with a personal spin — maybe talk about goals you have for yourself as a person (e.g., to be more kind) or something unique you want to check off your bucket list!
- Pick a quote that describes a lot about you, and explain why you connect with it.
For this essay, choose a quotation that the admissions officers won’t see over and over. Stay away from individuals who are constantly quoted — like Dr. Seuss — and make 100 percent certain your quote is correctly attributed! Genius Tip : Check out these 25 inspiring volunteer quotes .
- Write about your most embarrassing moment and how you learned from it.
This is a great opportunity to get creative and share a funny experience! Try transitioning the experience into a more serious explanation of how it changed you — for example, maybe it encouraged you to be more considerate toward others’ feelings.
- Tell us about a time where you had to either take a risk or stay safe. What did you do? What happened? Would you do it again?
For this situation, if you made a poor decision, focus on the way you would change it. On the other hand, if you made a good decision, focus on what influenced you to make that decision and how it has changed you. You might think you have to pick an example where you took a risk, but your essay could be more memorable if you choose a candid example of when you chose to play it safe.
- Describe something you’re passionate about. How do you learn more about it? What makes it so appealing?
This is the perfect essay to set yourself apart from other applicants. Talk about that thing you love, that obscure topic you’re an expert about — anything, as long as your passion shines through in your writing!
- Pick your own topic for this essay.
This is a great instance to use an essay you’ve already written for another college. (Make sure to include modifications as needed.) This way, you can limit the number of essays you write and focus on quality of writing over quantity of essays.
Manage student advising appointments with an online sign up. SAMPLE
- Tell us the best advice you’ve ever gotten, who told you it and whether or not you followed the advice.
Don’t write a generic essay — find an example of advice that was specific and personal to you. Explain why it was so important, and connect it to a specific example in which you did or did not follow it.
- Write about the role that a certain activity (sports, theater, band, etc.) has had on your life.
This prompt gives you the opportunity to talk about your passions and show off your extracurricular activities. Make sure to connect the importance of the activity to a certain experience or story to give the essay direction.
- If you could meet with any person, living or dead, for an hour, who would it be and what would you say to them?
For this prompt, stay away from figures that are likely to be written about by hundreds of potential students (presidents, Mother Teresa, etc.), and pick a figure you are actually passionate about and interested in, rather than what you think sounds most academic. If you want to go personal and choose a family member, make sure you have a memorable and unique reason.
- If you were to give a very important speech or a TED talk, what would it be about?
When writing this essay, pick a topic of interest. Additionally, make sure whatever you write about has a clear, one sentence takeaway that you can stress throughout the essay to give it direction. To prep, watch a few TED talks online to help give your essay voice.
- If you were to teach a class, what would your class be on?
This essay topic is a great opportunity for humor. Choose a unique topic that others might not think of, and whatever you choose, make sure you know a lot about it!
- Tell us a “Eureka” moment that you had and what sparked it.
For this essay, make sure you think of a turning point that’s also an interesting story. This can be an opportunity to talk about an experience from one of your jobs or extracurricular activities. Tie it in to what you learned and how you’ve taken that lesson and incorporated it into your life.
- Write an essay about a time that you had to be brave or stand up for what you believed in.
This can be a great opportunity to talk about what’s important to you and what beliefs you hold most central to who you are. Center the essay around one experience or time in your life. Don’t play this one down the middle — take a stance and defend it.
- What makes you angry? What are you doing or what have you done about it?
Take this essay as big or as small as you want, but commit to it! Whether you write a funny essay about pet peeves or write one about large social problems, go all the way.
- If you could change one day of your life, what would you change? Why?
If you can’t immediately think of a significant day, you probably don’t have a lot of material for this essay. Save this essay for an unusual experience!
- Talk about a personal accomplishment that is unrelated to academics, but that means a lot to you.
For this essay, focus on a unique accomplishment that illustrates the diversity that you can bring to your university and really tells a lot about who you are. It can be a big or small accomplishment as long as it means a lot to you.
- If you could time travel to any time and place, where would you go?
When writing this essay, either pick a historical, personally significant or futuristic moment, but make sure you are passionate about whichever moment you choose. Begin with explaining the moment’s significance and your desire to experience it, then describe your personal connection to it.
Organize after-school help with an online sign up. SAMPLE
- If you could give any advice to an incoming high school student, what would it be?
In this essay, try to stay positive. Give advice about helpful things the student could do to benefit their high school career, rather than pointing out and seemingly complaining about the negative parts of high school (unless you are really funny) and then giving advice about how to deal with it. Be honest about your high school experiences while also displaying the perspective you have gained.
- If you could stop one invention from being invented, what would it be?
Try to be unique for this prompt. Make sure to outline not only your reasons for choosing the invention, but also the impact that the invention not being created would have on the world.
- Why do you want to attend this college/university?
For this essay: BE SPECIFIC! Colleges can tell when your essay is just a form essay. Make sure your essay mentions specific and unique aspects of the college/university you’re applying to so it’s clear that your essay is not just generic. There’s so much information out there on the Internet that there’s really no excuse for a poorly researched response.
- Pick a law and explain why it is so important to you.
There are many ways to interpret this kind of prompt. Whether you talk about a political law, religious law, physical law or something else, make sure to connect it your personal experiences. The more unique you are, the more likely an admissions officer will remember your essay.
- What do you want people to know about you but are afraid to tell them?
In this essay, don’t be afraid to get vulnerable and be specific. Whether you pick a trait or simply a specific memory, connect it to what it means to you personally and why you don’t generally tell people about it.
- If you could add an amendment to the Constitution, what would you add?
Silly or serious, this essay can be fun. Just make sure the amendment is NOT already part of the Constitution, and be sure to outline the impact your new amendment would have. Go a step further by explaining your strategy for getting the amendment passed.
- Talk about a person in your life who has helped you understand yourself better.
For this essay, give a few examples of how this person has impacted you. Then, conclude the essay with how you have understood yourself better because of these experiences.
- What book would you recommend to everyone?
Stay away from books that are likely to appear many times. This might go without saying, but make sure it’s a book you’ve already read! Rather than just summarizing the book, explain why you’re recommending it.
- Who is someone you have spoken up for because he/she cannot speak for him/herself?
If you don’t have a good example for this essay, don’t massage a story to make it fit. You’ll risk sounding privileged. This essay can be good, but it needs to be about a significant moment where you spoke up for someone who couldn’t speak for him/herself.
- What is one thing you want to accomplish in college?
In this essay, focus on the interests/activities that you’re passionate about. Make sure to focus your essay around one or two focused and achievable goals. This is also a great opportunity to mention specifics about the college you’re applying to.
With these prompts and ideas, you’ll be off to a great start on your college applications. One last piece of advice: Give yourself plenty of time to outline ideas and review — don’t wait until the last minute!
SignUpGenius makes college organizing easy.
25 Things to Consider When Choosing a College
20 Tips and Ideas to Start a College Club
Organize dorm move-in day with an online sign up.
100 RA Program Event Ideas
SignUpGenius is a tool that I use in my classroom for many things! Conferences, parties, supplies, field trips, beautification days, etc. Our PTO utilizes SignUpGenius for meetings, luncheons, teacher appreciation week, fall festivals and many other events. This organizing tool saves me paper, time and headaches!
35 College Essay Prompts and Topics
21 College Essay Topics & Ideas That Worked (Guide + Examples)
You’re looking for a giant list of college essay topics to choose from.
And that’s exactly what you’ll find at the bottom of this page.
Wouldn’t it be nice if I gave you two great brainstorming exercises to help you find your own college essay topics?
I’ll answer that rhetorical question: Yes.
And that’s what you’ll find before we get to that giant list.
How do I know these exercises work? Because over the years I’ve worked with thousands of students, many of whom (like you)...
Have decent grades and a pretty good but not perfect SAT score
Are afraid they don’t have outstanding extracurricular activities to write about
Feel like their essay could make a difference in their college application but aren’t sure where to start.
My hope is that, by going through these step-by-step brainstorming exercises, you’ll find a topic that’s elastic, meaning that it’s stretchy enough to talk about lots of different parts of you, which is a characteristic you’ll find in most outstanding personal statements.
Great brainstorming is key to a great application. Want to see an example of a student’s brainstorming exercises, and the essays and application that brainstorming led to? Go here .
Pro Tip: Download your own blank template of that list and fill it in here.
All right, let’s do this.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Topic Brainstorming: The Values Exercise
- Topic Brainstorming: The Essence Objects Exercise
- Topic Brainstorming:"Everything I Want Colleges to Know About Me" List
- Essay Topics and Ideas
The Values exercise
This exercise is useful for identifying both your core values and your aspirations by answering this question: WHAT DO I VALUE?
The Essence Objects Exercise
This is one of my favorite brainstorming activities for generating college essay ideas. Why?
It’s one of the most efficient ways I know to help create a TON of content for your personal statement and also add texture to bring your essay to life.
Also, it’s just fun to do and a great way to reflect.
Ready to do it?
Click here for a list of questions to help you with the exercise. Then, watch the video below.
What’s one of your essence objects?
The ‘Everything I Want Colleges to Know About me’ Exercise
Make a list of all the things you want colleges to know about you.
How? You can do this either:
in a bulletpoint format (organized, easy to read)
on a blank sheet of paper (with drawings, get creative)
on a timeline
For more detailed instructions, head here .
College Essay Topic Samples
Here’s a list of essay topics and ideas that worked for my one-on-one students:
Essay Topic: My Allergies Inspired Me
After nearly dying from anaphylactic shock at five years old, I began a journey healing my anxiety and understanding the PTSD around my allergies. This created a passion for medicine and immunology, and now I want to become an allergist so no other child will have to feel the same.
To read the full essay, click here.
Essay Topic: My Foreign Exchange Experience
My 28 months in America living with five families helped me develop five values: open mindedness, spending quality time with family, understanding, discipline, and genuine appreciation.
Essay Topic: Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
I’ve created my own essay prompt: why did the chicken cross the road? In short, the chicken discovers that her idyllic world is not all it seems, and she must cross the road to discover her true purpose in life. She may come to realize that the world is more terrible and beautiful than she’s ever known.
To read the full essay, click here .
Essay Topic: A Palestinian Hunger Strike Turns Into a Purpose
My experience supporting a hunger strike in my native land, and watching my fellow students slowly lose interest in the strike and my protest, taught me to be passionate about social justice and inspired the creation of my own ethical clothing company.
Essay Topic: Lessons From My Pilgrimage to Mecca
My pilgrimage to Mecca taught me that I am valuable and family is centrally important. Now, I'm proud of my heritage, passionate about languages, and excited to bring all of it to college.
Essay Topic: From Homeschool to the Football Field
Instead of my original plan of playing football in high school, I freed myself of my fear of social interactions and my age gap by discovering a love for coaching.
Essay Topic: My First Flight Failed, But My Love Was Born
While my attempt at flight when I was five years old ended in disaster, my passion only grew as I became older. My love of engineering has taught me collaboration, social justice, curiosity, and diligence.
Essay Topic: Poop, Animals, and the Environment
I don’t mind being pooped on, bitten or scratched because my passion for animals is bigger than all of that. I know the world is rife with environmental problems, and I’m ready to spend my life making a difference.
Essay Topic: A Word a Day, A Life of Imagination
The NYT word of the day reminds me of something: my own imagination. My curiosity has taught me to love playing basketball, the violin, and inventing new words.
Essay Topic: Where I’m Home
I find myself feeling at “home” wherever I am, whether it’s spending quality time eating chicken with my family, diligently working on my chemistry research in the lab, or expanding my world through my college electives at Governor's School East.
Essay Topic: Easter, Travel, and Dad
Despite my abusive father’s wishes, I took a trip abroad and discovered my independence. Now, I want to pursue international relations and women’s studies to help women around the world discover who they are.
Essay Topic: My Cosmetic Journey
Although I initially saw my interest in cosmetics as a superficial obsession, through research and advocacy I’m now a community leader and online advocate for ethical cosmetics testing and labeling.
Essay Topic: Transformers Are Not Just for Boys
Being punished for playing with transformers because they “aren’t for girls” didn’t stop me from becoming passionate about robotics, where I created and fought for an open source platform that educates children about robotics around the world.
Essay Topic: The Instagram Post
Being publicly shamed for my pro-choice stance taught me to be passionate about my point of view, and now I understand that, while dissent and social justice are sometimes painful, they are sometimes necessary.
Essay Topic: My Grandmother Passing
My grandmother is my source of inspiration. When she passed away I couldn’t help but reflect on my love of family, passion for education, and my volunteering experiences at a cancer treatment center.
Essay Topic: My Self-Proclaimed Identity
I love writing, philosophy, speech and debate... and punk rock music. But I am not any one of these things, because I am all of them. I call myself a “punk-rock philosopher.”
Essay Topic: My Grandma’s Kimchi
I’ll always remember the passion and attention to detail my grandmother put into making kimchi. Watching my grandmother eventually lose her ability to make this important dish made me reflect on memory, death, and the importance of family. Now I’m the one who makes the kimchi.
Essay Topic: How Traveling Led to My Love of Language
My experiences traveling around the world influenced my interest in language and human connection. That interest is what I want to bring into my dual majors of foreign language and linguistics.
Essay Topic: A Girl Muses on a Dead Bird
One day, my cat attacked a bird in the front yard. In my vain attempt at saving its life, I was forced to reconcile with losing one of my best friends in a tragic accident years ago.
Essay Topic: I Shot My Brother
My lifelong jealousy towards my little brother erupted when I shot him with a bb gun. Haunted with guilt, I sought to treat my brother with newfound respect and love, and learned the importance of family.
255 Unique Essay Topics for College Students [2023 Update]
The success of any college essay depends on the topic choice. If you want to impress your instructors, your essay needs to be interesting and unique. Don’t know what to write about? We are here to help you!
Our specialists will write a custom essay on any topic for $13.00 $10.40/page
In this article by our Custom-Writing.org team, you will find 255 interesting essay topics for college students. We’ve also included some helpful tips on choosing a topic that will make your essay stand out.
- 🔝 Top 10 College Essay Topics
- 📋 How to Choose a Topic
- 🧑 Personal Essay Topics
- 🖌️ Descriptive Topics
- 🏺 Narrative Topics: History
- 🔮 Creative Writing Topics
- 🎓 Topics for Various Fields
- ✍️ Topics for Different Essay Types
- 🚫 Topics to Avoid
🔝 top 10 essay topics for college students, 📋 how to pick a college essay topic.
There is no universal advice on picking a great essay topic. However, the tips below will surely help you avoid choosing a mediocre one. Just follow these steps:
STEP #1: Start with brainstorming.
Relax and write down everything that comes to mind. It can be related to your personal life or areas of interest.
STEP#2: Use outside sources.
If you need additional inspiration, find a list of essay topic suggestions. Pick several options that appeal to you.
STEP#3: Select a topic.
Once you have your list of possible topics, do the following:
- Review the essay instructions or prompt, if you have one.
- Exclude ideas that are not suitable or compelling enough.
- Decide which of the remaining topics you want to write about. It might be the one you are interested in or understand best.
College Essay Topics: Fields & Disciplines
Now that you know how to choose a theme for your assignment, let’s examine this list of college essay ideas. These exceptional topics are arranged by subject, so you can go right to the section that interests you the most.
🧑 Personal Essay Topics for College
- Your perfect date.
- Settling an argument.
- What’s usually in your bag.
- Your most memorable purchase.
- What your upbringing was like.
- One quote that inspired you the most.
- What you do to make the world better.
- Where you want to spend your life.
- When the effort was worth the result.
- An unusual feeling you’ve experienced.
- A life-changing adventure. There are many ways to write about adventure in an essay . You can describe an interesting situation from your own life or one experienced by another individual, perhaps a famous figure.
- Positive and negative leadership examples. Typically, essays on leadership describe a specific person or a situation. A more interesting perspective on this subject is highlighting episodes of disastrous leadership. Some examples include the expansion of fascism after World War I or exploitation under European colonialism .
- Decision making. Both mundane and monumental, earth-shattering decisions make great essay topics. You can choose a situation and describe what the decision-maker did correctly or incorrectly.
- Deciding what to wear today. This might be the most mundane decision that everyone makes daily. However, just because it’s so ordinary, it might yield a fascinating college essay if explored thoughtfully.
- President Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan. This decision may have been the most significant of human history. It marked the introduction of a technology that could annihilate the human race. This decision may have been the most significant of human history. It marked the introduction of a technology that could annihilate the human race.
- Purchasing decisions in the supermarket. Similarly, everyone decides what to eat several times every day. In an essay on this subject, focus on the most interesting factors influencing grocery shopping decisions.
- Picking a book to read. According to The Atlantic, an average modern American reads fewer books than at any earlier time in history. With this in mind, consider writing an essay on selecting a book to read. This is particularly interesting when you recognize that more books are being published nowadays than ever before.
- Childhood experiences as behavioral drives. An analysis of childhood experiences can help interpret individual character traits. Any challenge and achievement play a part in the formation of behavioral drives. You can discuss them in the context of one’s mental development .
- Parenting styles and motives. Everyone knows that the role of parents in children’s lives is crucial. For your essay, you can choose to evaluate specific approaches to interacting with a child. Obtain reliable data about a child’s habits and find correlations with social adaptation principles.
- Problem-solving skills in everyday life. Problem-solving skills allow a person to overcome challenges. You may assess these skills from your perspective. This essay can also highlight the traits that enable you to cope with difficulties.
- Negotiation skills and conflict resolution attainments. The ability to compromise is a valuable personal quality. It can be helpful in different areas of interpersonal communication . In your paper, analyze ways to enhance this skill for successful conflict resolution.
- Bill Gates’ initiative to create Microsoft and change the world. Thanks to Bill Gates , computer technologies became available to everyone. Assessing his career path can help identify specific components of success. What valuable lessons can we learn from him?
🖌️ Descriptive Essay Topics for College Students
- What your hometown is like.
- What you dislike about the Internet.
- If emotions were personified.
- How you experience art.
- Holiday season and nostalgia.
- Your personal teaching experience.
- How regular workout makes you feel.
- The impact of music on your body.
- National holidays in different countries.
- Traditions you observed around the world.
- Marriage: then and now. In bygone eras, most children were born within wedlock. In the contemporary world, fewer marriages take place than before. What are the reasons behind it?
- Pressure on women to marry. In the past, women were coerced into marriage more forcefully than men. Unfortunately, this tendency remains in many societies even today. You can choose this topic to investigate sexism in everyday life.
- Sports in your life. Everywhere in the world, fans fervently adore sports . It’s a spectacular subject for an essay, no matter if your tone is serious or lighthearted.
- Football : pros and cons. An essay about this popular American sport will surely spark your readers’ interest. For instance, you may explore the long-term health risks associated with concussions.
- Basketball as a global sport. After soccer, basketball is the most rapidly growing sport globally. Your basketball essay could delve into the geopolitical implications of this newly globalized sport.
- What is love ? It is the quintessential human emotion , and that’s why it’s a timeless topic for any writing assignment.
- Happiness and how to achieve it. Love and happiness go together, so it is no surprise that happiness is a fruitful writing topic . You can choose to concentrate on pursuing happiness, simply being happy, or anything else.
- The 19 th century origins of Christmas carols . You could write about the origins of Christmas carols, most of which date back to the 19 th century. Before that, Christmas songs were restricted to church hymns .
- Christmas carols around the world. Every country with a significant population of Christians celebrates Christmas uniquely, making the global diversity of Christmas carols one of the more interesting essay topics.
- Personal feelings evoked by Christmas carols. Once again, you can focus on your personal experience. Simply describe how Christmas carols make you feel. feel.
🏺 Narrative Essay Topics for College Students: History
- The life of Socrates.
- Nero and the Roman Empire.
- Everyday life of Puritans.
- Events of Mexican-American War.
- Life during the Great Depression.
- Women in Trojan War.
- The start of the Nuclear Age.
- Heroes of the Space Race.
- Pearl Harbor through the eyes of a witness.
- The fall of the Sumer civilization.
- Local heroes. You can write a fantastic college essay on a historical personality who is highly appraised in your state. What is this person’s contribution, and what makes them outstanding?
- Real-life villains. The Ivy League essays often include an analysis of notorious people’s deeds or personalities. You can write about Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin , Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Josef Mengele, H. H. Holmes, Caligula, and many others.
- Influential people in any area. Your college essay can focus on some notable figures in politics, finance, science, literature, architecture, visual arts, music, sports, or pop culture.
- The most influential women. You can write about women who achieved a lot in the “men’s world.” Choose between Elizabeth I , Margaret Thatcher , Indira Gandhi, and many other renowned figures.
- Scientists who changed the world. You may write a great college essay about the contributions of Nikola Tesla, Charles Darwin , Thomas Edison , and other scientists. What areas of our lives have changed thanks to these people?
- Great conquerors and their power. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan , Attila, and other commanders were outstanding people of their time. They expanded their territories thanks to successful military campaigns. Your essay may focus on one of these great conquerors.
- Hitler’s decision to unleash World War II . Adolph Hitler’s personality is often explored in academic works. Your paper can explore what prompted the German leader to popularize Nazism in Europe . Understanding it may help prevent the repetition of such events.
- Religious figures. Explore individuals who developed essential doctrines and spiritual teachings. Your essay may include the key ideas of people such as Thomas Aquinas and Joseph Smith Jr.
- Fighters for justice and equality. Democratic societies were significantly influenced by those who struggled for human rights. Freedom of people around the world was their primary goal. Your essay can assess the roles of Mahatma Gandhi , Nelson Mandela, or Martin Luther King Jr .
- Voyagers and discoverers. Thanks to the great explorers of the past, the world as we know it today was shaped. You can write about Christopher Columbus , Ferdinand Magellan, and others in your paper.
- Roman emperors . Ancient Rome was the greatest civilization of its time. Throughout its history, individual emperors have contributed to its prosperity. Julius Caesar , Nero, and other rulers can be the focus of your essay.
🔮 Creative Writing Topics for College Students
- A conversation with yourself from the past.
- What would life be like on a rogue planet?
- If you were an ancient conqueror.
- A children’s fairy tale.
- What if there is no money in the world?
- A new perspective on a famous story.
- If you lived in another era.
- What are animals thinking?
- A perfect world as you see it.
- A horror story in the style of Kafka.
- Detective stories . Suspense is often the key to interesting essays. You can write a unique story about a murder in a castle, a theft in your college dorm, or fraud in a famous (or fictional) company.
- The world of your fantasy. Write an outstanding college essay that describes a brave new (or beautiful) world. Your dreams, books, films, or even news you’ve heard can be the source of your inspiration.
- Stream of consciousness . It can be the most straightforward task you have ever completed. Just write about your thought, dreams, and ideas. Whatever comes to your mind! Make sure to edit it afterward.
- Description of a dystopian world. Come up with a dystopian scenario to assess contemporary vices and problems. Use descriptive words to make your essay stand out.
- A new look at traditional values. For a creative essay, try rethinking traditional values. For instance, you may provide new perspectives on compassion, charity, respect, and other essential components of a civilized society.
- A short movie script. One of the ideas is to write a short film script on any topic. This task will allow you to showcase your storytelling skills .
- The future as you imagine it. You can pay particular attention to social issues and their development. Will the situation improve in the future?
- Reporter experience. Conduct an investigation and report your findings in a creative essay. This work may include interviews, illustrations, and the analysis of issues. This approach allows moving away from traditional forms of essay writing .
- On behalf of another person. Take an opportunity to explore an issue from someone else’s perspective. For instance, you can assess the difficulties faced by people of the opposite sex. It can help analyze the problems of interpersonal communication .
🎓 College Essay Topics for Various Fields
College life essay topics.
- Making a choice. You can write your college essay about making a decision. For example, how did you choose your college? Are you happy with your choice?
- Good and bad habits . Write about the patterns that affect your academic life. How can you get rid of the unproductive ones?
- Major challenges . In your college experience essay, you can describe the major issues you have faced during your school years. How did you handle them?
- Time-management practices. College studies are often stressful. That’s why multitasking is an important skill. In your essay, explore the topic of time management. Analyze the algorithms for competent task distribution.
- Memorable events. Did you ever have a life-changing experience? You can write a perfect college essay about it.
- University life: expectations vs. reality. You can also try to imagine your future and write an essay on your expectations related to university life .
- Interaction with classmates. An interesting topic for a college life essay is building relationships with classmates. It can be helpful to study the basics of teamwork. Conflict resolution practices are also important factors of interpersonal peer communication.
- Freshman experience. You can describe it in anecdotes or conduct some research. For instance, assess the challenges and barriers that first-year students face. Then, determine optimal mechanisms to overcome them.
- Teamwork and group activities. Describe appropriate ways to communicate with people in groups. Or, you can focus on the crucial features of effective teamwork .
- Research work experience. College education involves conducting many kinds of research. They refer to theoretical training and the practical study of subjects. In this regard, you can describe your personal research experience.
- The importance of self-education. Students often face the need to study some subjects on their own. Self-education and its aspects can be an exciting topic to explore. Focus on honing individual skills and overcoming academic challenges.
- A comparison of high school and college. For many high school students, the idea of college study is different from reality. You can describe the distinctions between the two levels of education. Give personal views on the learning process and common pitfalls.
Health Topics for College Students
- Healthy eating . In the wealthiest and poorest countries on Earth, healthy eating has very different meanings. Focusing on cultural variations of healthy eating has plenty of potential.
- Fast food and its popularity. People have never eaten so much fast food as they do now. Consider writing about this interesting trend and its health implications.
- Childhood obesity as a global health issue . Because of all the high-calorie foods available today, many children in industrialized countries have weight problems. This issue has some extraordinary potential for persuasive writing.
- The problem of alcoholism . Substance abuse problems such as alcoholism have been an exemplary subject of writing for a long time. You can contemplate the implications of this problem in your college essay.
- Teen pregnancy: risk factors . In many regions of the world, teen pregnancy rates are higher than ever . The phenomenon is often associated with poverty and lower levels of education.
- Smoking in public . Should it be outlawed? Is it a public health hazard or just fundamental liberty that the government is unjustified to control or even regulate?
- Why do people smoke ? All smokers have their initial justifications for starting to smoke, so perhaps use your essay to explore one or several reasons.
- Quitting smoking . Some people use tobacco substitutes like candies or even nicotine gum. Whatever the methods are, everyone struggles when trying to overcome an addiction.
- Smoking should be banned . This is an extremely strong stance, but these are often the most entertaining essays to write.
- Smoking and mood. Studying the linkage between smoking and mood is undeniably intriguing, especially if you smoke or know a smoker.
- Dangers of secondhand smoke . When a person smokes, nearby people also breathe in many of the toxins. You could write about the moral implications or the societal and health impacts of this phenomenon.
- Smoking and cancer. Everyone understands that tobacco use is linked to cancer, so attempt to take a novel perspective if you choose this topic.
- Smoking and cardiovascular disease. Long-term smoking has been linked to heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD.) Try to convince your reader of these very clear dangers in your essay.
- Peer pressure and tobacco use. The vast majority of smokers develop this habit at a young age because their friends or acquaintances are already smoking.
- Smoking in pop culture. In the past, movies and TV shows often depicted smoking. Your essay could explore how this pattern has evolved.
- Acquiring bad habits from family members. As pointed out by a famous public service announcement from the 1980s, addictions such as smoking can run in families. You could explain the implications of it.
Ideas for College Essay on Ethics and Society
- Abortion as a controversy . You could use this topic for an abortion debate essay. Rather than taking one position, try to do your best to present different perspectives.
- The case against abortion . In writing a pro-life essay , you need to offer various reasons to oppose abortion.
- The case for access to abortion. You may also consider a pro-choice essay . In this type of abortion persuasive essay, you need to emphasize the costs to individuals and society when women are denied access to abortions.
- Shoplifting and its consequences. Your essay could explore the motivation for this practice, methods of discouraging it, or even its implications to retail businesses. Maybe you can even detail a personal story about a friend who has shoplifted .
- Domestic violence in developed countries. Violence against women and children is frequent in all societies, so you can use your essay as an opportunity to explore domestic violence .
- Types of animal cruelty . Another woefully widespread form of abuse is animal cruelty. It can range from dog fights to factory farming and everything in-between.
- Capital punishment: pros and cons. The vast majority of governments have banned this barbaric practice. When judicial systems have the authority to take lives as punishment for crimes , there are profound social implications.
- Current events analysis. If you have difficulty picking a topic, open up a newspaper or go to your favorite news website . Your next essay can be on the first article you read that captures your attention.
- History of child labor . Under this subject, you could survey the decline of child labor over time. You might also want to consider atypical counterexamples of this trend.
- Child labor laws . Child labor doesn’t occur on a larger scale because it is banned by law. Take some time to research the effectiveness of these laws.
- Child labor across the world. In this essay, try to evaluate how child labor practices vary from one geographic region to another.
- Unemployment and child labor. Sometimes, there aren’t enough jobs even for the adults in a nation, not to mention children. Consider exploring why this happens.
Environmental Issues Essay Topics for College
- Local environmental issues . Success in college essay writing largely depends on one factor: you should pick a problem you are interested in or know a lot about. For example, describe what environmental issues you and your community face.
- The most urgent ecological problems. Burning issues such as pollution, deforestation , biodiversity loss , and scarcity of natural resources can jeopardize the existence of the human race if solutions are not found. You can come up with a perfect essay on any of these challenges.
- Solutions to environmental problems. Winning college essays often include describing and analyzing efficient or inefficient solutions. You can write about emissions restrictions , the use of renewable energy sources, and so on. Why are some solutions ineffective?
- Renewable energy. Solar energy , windmills, electric vehicles, and many other solutions are implemented every year, but environmental issues persist. Your essay can answer the following questions: Why is renewable energy underused? Why is the production of electric vehicles in its infancy, although it started at the beginning of the 20th century?
- Global and political perspectives on sustainability . Some countries, especially in Western Europe, are making significant progress in developing sustainable practices. However, some states focus on gaining economic well-being or supremacy, especially in the developing world. Will the US be one of the global polluters in the future?
- Global warming and how to stop it. This is an urgent contemporary issue that deserves particular attention. An essay on a climate catastrophe may prompt readers to discuss the problem. Describe the ways to avoid adverse consequences for nature and humanity.
- Water and air pollution. Write about the impact of pollution on individual spheres of life. For example, focus on the correlation between contamination and economy.
- The depletion of natural resources. Ecological issues are often connected with natural resources. They’re essential in industrialized societies. You can discuss the depletion of these resources in your college essay.
- The issues of waste disposal. Environmental activists are concerned about severe soil pollution . They also address the negative impact of landfills on ecology. All of this shows that waste disposal is an urgent issue. Study how much of a threat it poses for humanity.
- The dangers of animal extinction. Over the past few decades, many species have become endangered . You can review this problem as a consequence of industrial development.
- Deforestation’s consequences. This topic is closely related to the issue of mass extinction. Forests are a habitat for countless species of animals and plants. What adverse effects does deforestation entail?
- The economic impact of environmental problems. Focus on financial aspects and budget spending on pollution control . You can also highlight the importance of addressing challenges associated with climate change.
Topics for Funny College Essays
- Humorous stories and personal experiences. University essay writing can be enjoyable and even entertaining. Describe some of your adventures or make up a funny story for your assignment. Be creative !
- Interesting historical facts. You can find tons of funny stories if you dig deeper into history. Many entertaining events are well-documented. Choose one and write an essay about it.
- Funny and awkward situations. All students know what it’s like to be in an uncomfortable situation. Try to describe such an event in a comical way. It will allow you to look at it from a different perspective.
- Dealing with unexpected tests. Sometimes professors don’t warn their students about upcoming tests . Did it ever happen to you? You probably didn’t enjoy these experiences. Still, why not describe them in a humorous essay?
- Your personal teaching experience . This topic is suitable for student teachers. Have you tried teaching a whole classroom of noisy children? Successful or not, these experiences make great anecdotes.
- Excessive efforts. Some students put too much effort into education. Sometimes it pays off, and other times it’s all in vain. Does it sound familiar to you? Write an essay about it!
- Poor time management. Delays, late deadlines, and other time management catastrophes can form the basis of this essay.
- Jokes on classmates. Innocent pranks help maintain a friendly environment and even serve as team building . Describe the memories of such humorous situations in your essay.
- Your professors’ jokes. Not only students but also teachers are often inclined towards humor. Occasional jokes on their part can be a good essay topic for college. Such gags can contribute to maintaining interest in a learning environment .
- Least favorite lessons. Describe the most boring or unpleasant class you can remember in a humorous manner.
- Making friends with other students. Awkward and funny situations often accompany these experiences. They can serve as a topic for a great essay.
- Unexpected praise. It’s always a pleasure to receive unexpected recognition from teachers. It’s especially gratifying when you do something well by accident or without even trying. Did anything like that ever happen to you? Then write a short story about it!
Best College Essay Topics on Gender Issues
- Machismo: what is it? How was the term coined? What are areas of life negatively affected by this phenomenon? Think about sports, politics, or popular culture.
- Gender roles in modern societies. Many Harvard essays provide answers to the following questions. How are gender roles distributed in your country, community, family? What factors led to this distribution?
- Famous feminists. Explore the contributions of Lucrezia Marinella, Anne Bradstreet, Emmeline Pankhurst, Eleanor Roosevelt , Marlene Dietrich, Alice Walker, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and many other renowned women.
- Men’s views on gender. Writing a good college essay involves an analysis of different perspectives. It can be fascinating to examine men’s attitudes towards gender issues .
- Matriarchy as a social system. You can write about modern societies such as Bribri or Garo. Or, you can find examples of matriarchy in the past. What about Neolithic Ages or Bronze Age ?
- Biological differences between sexes. It can be an eye-opening experience to explore physical differences between men and women. Are they that different?
- Patriarchal society in today’s world. Assessing patriarchy as a trend can help identify key stereotypes and stigmas. How can we facilitate women empowerment ?
- Workplace gender discrimination . Even today, many women struggle to get promoted due to gender stereotypes. Biased attitudes are unacceptable in modern organizations. Where do they originate from, and what should be done about it?
- Conflicts between boys and girls at school. The foundations of interpersonal interaction are laid in a collective environment. Analyze students’ behavior patterns related to interactions between boys and girls. What are the most common causes of conflicts?
- Family violence from a gender perspective. Family violence is a grave social problem. In your paper, identify the underlying determinants of domestic abuse .
- The role of women in science . Assess the contribution of women scientists from different eras. You can focus on their specific achievements and auxiliary work. Both the humanities and the sciences are suitable for analysis.
- Individual duties in parenting. The roles of fathers and mothers in families are often separated. In your essay, analyze stereotypes and behavioral patterns related to parenthood. You can use specific variables such as the time spent with children.
- Women in male-dominated occupations. Assess the performance of women in positions usually occupied by men. You can study female CEOs, firefighters, or filmmakers. What are the career prospects for women in these fields?
Titles for College Essays on Diversity
- Cultural diversity’s importance . Many Stanford essays explore issues associated with cultural diversity and how it can affect individuals, workplaces, and societies.Many Stanford essays explore issues associated with cultural diversity and how it can affect individuals, workplaces, and societies.
- Ethnic diversity in different countries. The US is one of the most conventional examples of a melting pot. How do people of different cultural backgrounds co-exist there? What challenges do they face? How do they solve conflicts?
- Variety of religious beliefs. Religion is one of the most interesting subjects to write an essay on. You can concentrate on Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and dozens of other religions. Scientology or Happy Science can also be excellent essay subjects.
- Diversity related to sexual identity . You can write an outstanding argumentative essay on same-sex marriages or the inclusion of issues such as transgender identity in the K-12 curriculum.
- Personal contribution to diversity development. Address the promotion of diversity as an important social phenomenon. Your essay will raise awareness of this practice.
- Children’s and adults’ views on diversity and ethnicity. This essay can highlight crucial aspects of interpersonal communication . You can pose questions from a child’s perspective. Do other people’s ethnic backgrounds play an essential role for children compared to adults?
- Cross-cultural management in modern organizations. Leaders of various companies promote this valuable practice. It’s highly relevant in today’s business environment. The trend of globalization is one of its crucial factors.
- Gender diversity in the management field. Issues related to the distribution of leadership roles are often discussed in the context of gender. In your paper, evaluate the perception of male and female managers. This analysis may reveal the existing trends and views on the issue of diversity .
- Gender diversity from a criminological perspective . You can evaluate the current situation in the legal field. Assess offenses committed by people of different genders. The proportion of female prisoners, the severity of crimes, and other essential aspects can be used as criteria for comparison. This work may help assess potential bias.
- Gender diversity in the army. Attitudes towards women in military service are interesting to discuss. In an essay, you can present distinctive opinions. Mention the importance of involving people of all genders.
Short Essay Topics for College
- Teenagers’ concerns . You can write a simple essay on the appropriate age to vote or the proper age to buy alcohol. You may also want to examine major reasons for misunderstanding between teenage children and their parents.
- Best something ever. An excellent way to start a college essay is to write about something you admire, such as your favorite movie. What can you learn from it?
- Someone inspirational. For example, why not write an essay about your favorite teacher? How did this person change your life?
- Political issues in the US. Many short college essays are concerned with political life. You can write a winning essay about Electoral College or the flaws in the US voting system.
- An abstract concept. You can define an idea in your short essay. For instance, write about consumerism and the existing definitions of this term. Which one is the most appropriate? Why?
- Modern social values . The topic refers to the shift in moral values. For example, you can discuss the roles of wealth and personal beliefs. Compare them with the values of past eras to highlight the changes.
- Contemporary addictions and methods to deal with them. Explore excessive smartphone use, gaming , and other new addictions. Include the ways of dealing with these problems.
- A management theory overview. This paper can summarize individual findings related to management. Alternatively, you can present one of the theories of business development.
- Proposal of a legal act. This topic is perfect for a law essay. For example, discuss the document’s purpose, stakeholders , and industry-specific implications. The intersection with other regulations is optional.
- A geographic location. A short essay format is convenient for a description of a specific place. You can start by providing the basic facts about it. Include its population, area, resources, and several other parameters.
- Definition of an economic term. In this short essay, analyze a term of your choice. For instance, discuss inflation , capital , clearing, or any other definition. Explain the term you’ve chosen in simple words.
- A science to study. Choosing a science to learn is a potentially daunting task. In your essay, assess any field of study you like. Describe their benefits and pitfalls. You can also mention career prospects.
Great College Essay Ideas in Visual Arts
- Historical periods in art. Your paper can dwell upon a specific era. Why did the Renaissance occur? What are the central peculiarities of Postmodernism ?
- Artists and their personalities. Countless Cornell essays on art provide insight into artists’ legacy. Your essay writing can become a fascinating process if you focus on Leonardo, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Andy Warhol , Artemisia Gentileschi , or Barbara Kruger.
- Prospects of artistic forms. You can use your imagination and think of the world in the 2100s. Try to predict the movements that will become popular in 100 years.
- Masterpieces. Essay writing practice is associated with the ability to narrow topics down. You can choose a specific work for your analysis from the following list: The Birth of Venice , The Scream , Starry Night , and Girl with a Pearl Earring .
- Different genres and styles in visual art . Many distinctive genres characterize visual arts. They differ in style, period, and other aspects. In your essay, you can describe impressionism, surrealism , cubism, abstract art, and other genres.
- Mediums in visual arts. Every art form is distinguished by the use of materials. Explore the peculiarities of oil paintings, prints, or watercolors.
- Art galleries to visit around the world. You may want to choose one art gallery and describe its history. Your essay will be even more interesting if you add the descriptions of the most famous artworks found in the museum.
- How auction houses work. Numerous art pieces and collectibles are sold at auctions. One of the world’s most famous auction houses is Sotheby’s. In your paper, present the workings of an auction of your choice. Add individual examples of profitable deals from its history.
- The most expensive art objects . The cost of many classical paintings is enormous. The prices are usually estimated by qualified experts. Explore this topic in your essay and include information on the most expensive art objects.
- The comparison of classical and contemporary art forms. Art is a dynamic environment that is constantly evolving. New genres and forms of expression appear regularly. In your paper, compare classical canvases with modern means of creative expression such as graffiti . What influences the emergence of new art forms?
- Rescued artworks and their history. History knows examples of great artworks that were found centuries after their disappearance. Your essay can study several art objects saved during wars.
Conspiracy-Related College Essay Topics That Stand Out
- Space exploration . If your essay requirements concerning the topic are not too strict, you can try to answer some of the following questions. Did “a giant leap for mankind” really occur? Why was the Moon project shut down? Is there life on Mars ?
- Wealth distribution. An excellent essay for college students can focus on the allocation of resources. Is there a league of people who own or control all the resources ? How did the world’s wealthiest people earn their money?
- Secret societies of the past and present. Does the Illuminati exist? Can such a secret society persist in the modern world?
- Catastrophes and reasons behind them. Why did Titanic drown? Was the curse of the Pharaoh real? Was the Chernobyl nuclear disaster an accident , or was it an unsuccessful experiment of KGB?
- JFK’s assassination . Who killed the most loved president? Why was the investigation so inadequate? Were any other countries’ agents involved?
- Aliens among us. Does Area 51 exist? What do governments hide? With questions like these, essay writing for college students can be exciting!
- Did Adolf Hitler escape after World War II? One of the most mysterious conspiracy theories is the possible escape of Adolf Hitler. Some people believe that the Nazi leader moved to Argentina after World War II . Your essay may discuss whether his suicide was staged.
- Is HIV an experimental biological weapon against humanity? The end of the 20th century was a difficult time. During this period, a suspicion arose that HIV was a biological weapon. Pharmaceutical companies and governments were blamed for this. What caused this conspiracy?
- Did Elvis Presley fake his death? Elvis Presley , the idol of millions, passed away long ago. However, many fans don’t believe in this outcome. A conspiracy theory was born that the musician faked his death. You can explore its implications and determine what it says about American pop culture.
- 5G cell towers exposure and accusations against Bill Gates . Explore the public fears related to the potential exposure to 5G cell towers. Include the experts’ opinions and assess the role of Bill Gates as one of the promoters of fast Internet.
- Flat Earth theory and its followers. In recent years, many flat Earth proponents have emerged worldwide. In your essay, compare their arguments with officially existing data. Why is this conspiracy so widespread?
- COVID-19 conspiracy theory. Certain groups of people doubt the threat of the pandemic. They believe that the coronavirus is a fictional problem. Your essay might focus on the evidence for the virus’s existence.
✍️ Topics for Different College Essay Types
Below you’ll find writing prompts for problem solution, cause and effect, and definition essays. There’s also a section with personal statement essay topics. Check them out!
- In a problem-solution essay , you need to introduce an issue and suggest several ways to fight it. Usually, each body paragraph describes a different solution. This essay aims to convince the audience that these scenarios are the best ways to eliminate the problem.
- In a cause and effect essay , you need to discuss a problem, its reasons, and possible consequences. It’s better to pay attention to topics that involve multiple studies of the issue (you can read our cause and effect essay guide to learn more.)
- In a definition essay , you need to explain a term, concept, or idea. Sometimes a definition is only a part of a more extensive research paper. It’s crucial to study the topic from different perspectives to provide an extended definition. Before you start working on your essay, make sure that the meaning of the word you’ve chosen is not too simple.
- In a personal statement , you write about yourself. Writing a personal statement or a transfer essay is crucial when applying to college. How do you make it a winning paper? Read our personal statement guide .
Problem Solution Essay Topics for College Students
- How can students contribute to educational system changes in the United States? Discuss student communities and their impact on college life. Do students need to have more power and control over changes in the educational system?
- Ensuring access to clean water in developing African countries. Describe the achievements of charities that aim to help countries such as Ethiopia . You may also write about the costs of technologies that filter water. What are the possible solutions with a limited budget?
- How can you help make energy cleaner? Try to think about what you can do on campus that will enable clean energy access. Decide whether it should be a part of your curriculum.
- Ways of reducing plastic waste in oceans. Research the current efforts of environmental organizations and big businesses. Then, evaluate them and find the best solution.
- Healthy eating habits among children. Think about the right age to start educating children on healthy eating . Find several possible ways to develop the proper habits without forcing children.
- How can students address sustainability and climate change? Describe your participation in ecological projects, communities, etc. You can also discuss the possible things you and other students can do without spending too much time and money.
- Ways of stopping healthcare rising costs in the United States. Highlight the current problems of the healthcare model . What measures does the government take to solve them? Try to find the best way to optimize the resources.
- Psychological support for children who suffered from violence. Research the techniques specialists use when working with children. What do you find more preferable: therapy or medication ? Suggest how we can protect children from further offenses.
- How can we provide equal chances to children who want to receive an education? For this essay, find as much information as possible about financial aid , including grants, loans, and other projects. What’s the best way to make education accessible to everyone?
- Reducing homelessness in the United States. Study the factors that make people homeless and what the government does to fight it. Then try to come up with an action plan.
Cause and Effect Essay Topics for College Students
- The effects of regular alcohol consumption on women’s health. Everyone knows that excessive alcohol consumption has highly adverse effects. In your essay, you can discuss the causes of alcoholism in women. Try to find specific information about diseases, psychological problems, and lifestyle changes related to them.
- What causes bullying among preschool children? Children might get violent due to many factors. Describe what beliefs and behavioral patterns influence their actions at preschool age.
- What are the economic effects of the 2020 lockdown ? Write about the changes in the labor market, remote jobs, and new opportunities. How did small businesses manage to survive in extreme circumstances?
- Lack of education in African countries: causes and effects. Discuss why children in some African countries don’t have access to education. Then, explain how it affects labor markets and economies. Make sure to choose only one country as a research subject.
- What will be the effects of implementing higher taxes on tobacco ? Will it inspire people to quit smoking or buy fewer tobacco products? Study the previous cases of such measures and predict the outcomes.
- How does social media affect communication in families? For this essay, research the impact of social media on family relationships. Do social media users communicate more or less with their closest relatives? on family relationships. Do social media users communicate more or less with their closest relatives?
- The causes and effects of glacier melting . Global warming, ozone depletion , and many other factors contribute to this process. Discuss how this issue influences people and animals.
- What would happen if everyone started using electric cars? Study the benefits and drawbacks of electric vehicles . You might discuss the CO2 emissions and safety.
- What are the effects of animal hunting in the United States. We can call hunting a hobby, a sport, and even an illegal activity. In your essay, describe the current laws and why people want to hunt. How do these activities influence animals’ populations?
- The causes and effects of chemical pollution in China. China is the biggest manufacturer of goods in the world. However, the waste that the factories produce becomes dangerous for its ecology. In your essay, research how chemical pollution affects the everyday life and health of the Chinese people.
Definition Essay Topics for College
- Behaviorism in psychology and philosophy. Consider writing your essay on behaviorism as a psychological movement at the beginning of the 20 th century. Additionally, you can provide a broader definition by researching behaviorism in philosophy. century. Additionally, you can provide a broader definition by researching behaviorism in philosophy.
- How can we define egoism ? People interpret human behavior and character traits in different ways. Someone who seems to be an egoist to you can seem like someone with a sense of self-worth to another person. You can provide your own viewpoint on this issue.
- What is the definition of evil ? Some people believe in eternal evil , while others see evil even in the littlest bad things that happen to them. In your opinion, what makes someone or something evil?
- Does the term “commodification” only apply to goods? In the modern world, everything has value. Discuss the moral aspects of commodification and the limits of its application.
- What is your definition of the word “endurance” ? You can compare the physical abilities of athletes and non-athletes. Don’t forget to mention mental stamina that involves dealing with psychological pressure and overcoming difficulties.
- Does the word “ambition” have a positive or negative meaning? Naturally, you can’t give a single answer to this question. Instead, you can discuss both sides of this concept in your paper.
- How can you define the word “dualism”? Describe all the meanings of the word “ dualism ” in philosophy and daily life. Don’t forget to provide your understanding of the concept. You may also explain why this term is controversial.
- What does the word “identity” make you think of? Cover all the meanings of this word. Begin with a set of qualities that defines a person. Also, you may include a psychological interpretation of the term.
- What is your interpretation of the word “ justice “? Discuss the legal definition of this concept. Also, you can write about the moral aspects and the subjective meaning of the term. Describe how justice is related to rewards and punishments and its place in the modern world.
- What are your thoughts about realism ? This term is used in many disciplines. For example, it’s prominent in literature and art. In your essay, you may describe realism as a philosophical concept and its different forms and perceptions.
Themes for Your Personal Statement Essay
- Your academic credentials. When writing about your academic achievements , it is appropriate to mention the major things like your degree or courses you’ve had. It’s better to focus on the moral lessons you’ve learned rather than your grades and certificates.
- Your personality traits. A successful acceptance essay will reveal your character. Admission officers want to know who the applicants are. Every university has its specific culture, so they should make sure you can fit in.
- An event that changed your life. Of course, your college entry essay can’t be just an enumeration of character traits. Describe some circumstances where your personal qualities manifested themselves. Again, it’s best to focus on the lessons you’ve learned!
- Commitment as your character trait. Your college admittance essay should also show your dedication. Why do you want to study there? Why do you want to take the course you’ve chosen? What are you ready to do for your alma mater?
- Humor in your life. Even Harvard personal statement essays are often characterized by humor. Write about your failures in a funny way, and admission officers will see your ability to stand up and fight.
- Academic goals and ways to achieve them. Choosing a field to study is a responsible step. You can describe this process in a personal statement . Justify your choice and mention the academic skills necessary for this particular field.
- Creative writing . When applying to a course in English, it can be effective to write a poem rather than a typical description of your educational background.
- Views on society and contemporary values. You can impress the committee by discussing your opinions. One convenient approach is to focus on modern society and its values. Analyze the foundations of a particular cultural environment and assess interaction gaps.
- Professional objectives you want to achieve. Without mentioning professional goals, a personal statement will be incomplete. One effective strategy is to evaluate the desired prospects you want to achieve. They can be related to education as well as work. Pay attention to relevant resources needed to acquire optimal skills.
- Cultural background from an ethnic perspective. A personal statement can be focused not only on your academic experience but also on your cultural background . Include the basic facts about your ethnicity, parents, beliefs, family values, and other information. This way, you’ll present yourself comprehensively and impartially.
- Self-evaluation over time: personal strengths and skills. Both short- and long-term perspectives are worth mentioning. Assessing individual development and career growth can provide you with a helpful timeline.
🚫 College Essay Topics to Avoid
When it comes to college essays, some topics might produce a wrong impression or offend your audience. That is why you need to know what kind of content is not suitable for your academic writing.
Here are the most common examples of the topics that you should avoid:
- Your personal life. Better leave the stories about your breakups aside. For a successful application essay, you can focus on the other areas of your life. Try to choose a topic that will show how well you are suited for the college.
- Inappropriate humor. Provocative, mean, or cruel jokes are not suitable for college essays. Your audience probably won’t consider such humor clever or funny. If you are unsure if a joke fits your task, don’t hesitate to ask your professor.
- Tragic stories. This trope is critical to avoid when writing essays about yourself. It’s okay to mention tragic events, but it’s best to avoid making a pessimistic narrative out of your paper. Instead, you can describe such occurrences as challenges to overcome and focus on the positives.
- Sensitive or controversial topics. Avoid them if you know that they may offend your readers. Politics, religion, abortions, and cruelty are not the best topics for college essays. If your assignment requires writing an essay on one of those topics, make sure you don’t make bold statements or provoke your audience.
- Cliché topics. It’s better to avoid writing about your academic achievements, volunteering, or winning a sports competition. Admissions officers and professors have read similar essays thousands of times.
- Overly narrow topics . It’s good to choose a topic that stands out because it’s not cliché. However, it becomes harder to find enough relevant information if it’s too obscure or limited. Choose a topic like this only if you are sure you will have enough data to research.
- Insulting someone. Offensiveness is a wrong approach to your assignment that creates a negative impression. It’s crucial to stay objective and professional when it comes to academic writing.
- Fancy words. Avoid overcomplicating your essay’s title and its contents. It’s also not a great idea to begin your essay with a trite quote. Instead, it’s best to prioritize logic and clear structure during writing.
- Vague topics . It will likely make your essay lack a focus, which will come off as unprofessional. Make sure to always narrow your topic down to a particular issue.
- Untrue and unrealistic topics. It might be interesting to fantasize about impossible scenarios and get creative. Still, remember that you need to support your statements with solid evidence. It’s much harder to do when you deal with unrealistic topics.
We hope these college essay topics helped you make a great choice. If you need more proposal argument essay topics, feel free to use our topic generator . Let us know in the comments what topic you’ve chosen!
This might be interesting for you:
- College Essay Writing 101—the Comprehensive Guide
- How to Write a Creative Essay: Tips, Topics and Techniques
- Descriptive Writing Exercises to Boost Your Imagination
- Terrific Essay Tools for Fast and Simple Writing
- How to Use the Right Gender-Neutral Pronouns
- How to Write an Outline That Will Earn an A+ Grade
✏️ College Essay Topic FAQ
Think about something that makes you genuinely interested. You will need to research the subject. So if you are bored from the outset, you won’t be able to do a good job and impress your readers.
A good topic doesn’t have to be very serious. It means that the subject under study should fascinate you. Then you would be able to make it enjoyable for others, too. Study something connected with your hobby, favorite author, or even a country.
To choose a good topic, you need to think about your assignment. Different issues are appropriate for argumentative, persuasive, and other types of essays. The main thing is that the subject should interest you. Your essay would be more exciting for the readers if you have fun writing it.
If you are lucky enough to choose a topic for yourself, you can have fun writing the essay. Don’t waste this opportunity! To figure out the best subject, think about your favorite things. If you want to share something with others, write an essay about it.
- Writing Tips: Thesis Statements: Writers Workshop, The Center for Writing Studies, Illinois
- Essay Introductions: UMGC, the University System of Maryland
- How to Read an Assignment: William C. Rice, for the Writing Center at Harvard University
- Thesis Statements: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Essay Writing: University of Wollongong
- How to Write High-Quality Papers and Essays More Quickly: Ransom Patterson, College Info Geek
- Essay Tips from Andrew K. Strickler, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid: Connecticut College
- Essays that Worked: Hamilton College
- Popular Application Essay Topics: The Princeton Review
- Women’s Health Topics: US Food & Drug Administration
- Essay Topics: Yale College Undergraduate Admissions
- Essay Topics and Tips: College of Arts and Sciences, Lewis & Clark
- Essay Prompts: Seattle Pacific University
- Essay Questions, Undergraduate Admissions: University of Michigan
- Writing the College Essay: Babson College
- The Essay: NYS Higher Education Services Corporation
- Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students: The New York Times
- How to Write a College Essay: Sofia Tokar, Southern New Hampshire University
- Personal Essay Topics and Prompts: ThoughtCo
- Who’s the Most Significant Historical Figure?: The Guardian
- The Dos and Don’ts of Campus Life: CollegeXpress
- Climate Change: National Geographic
- 4 Types of Parenting Styles and Their Effect on Kids: Very Well Family
- Campus Life: What to Expect: My Future
- Gender Equality and Women Empowerment: United Nations
- 100 Creative Writing Prompts for Writers: Writer’s Digest
- 13 Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity at Workplace: Hult International Business School
- 7 Benefits of Gender Diversity at Workplace: Workplace.com
- Artists: The Art History
- Art Movements: Artyfactory
- 36 of the Most Popular Conspiracy Theories in the US: Insider
- Personal Statements: University of Connecticut
- Share to Facebook
- Share to Twitter
- Share to LinkedIn
- Share to email
Well, I really liked studying it. This post offered by you is very effective for proper planning.
Glad you found this post useful. Thanks for your feedback and be back for more helpful tips!
I do accept as true with all of the ideas you have offered in your post. They are very convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are very brief for starters. Could you please extend them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.
Firstly, thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it. I’ll definitely take into consideration your request.
All people like adventures and traveling. Adventure essay writing is a nice opportunity to tell about the most amazing events of this kind you had in your life.
You’re absolutely right, Jacob! Thanks for taking a moment and writing the feedback. Hope you’ll be back 🙂
Thanks Thanks Thanks! This totally helped me write my adventure essay! I love your blog, so helpful with writing various types of academic papers.
Such a pleasure to read your warm feedback, Julia! Thanks!
Recommended for You
192 Free Ideas for Argumentative or Persuasive Essay Topics
Looking for a good argumentative essay topic? In need of a persuasive idea for a research paper? You’ve found the right page! Academic writing is never easy, whether it is for middle school or college. That’s why there are numerous educational materials on composing an argumentative and persuasive essay, for...
Easy Persuasive Speech Topics: 285 Simple Ideas for 2023
A persuasive speech on any topic is a performance designed to convince people about something and prove your point. Choosing a suitable topic is crucial for your speech’s success. Do you need some help with finding easy topics for a persuasive speech? Then check these fantastic and easy ideas from...
Good Informative Speech Topics: How to Get Thunders of Applause
Do you know the secret place where people go to get their good informative speech topics? Looking for an interesting topic for speech? Congratulations, because you’ve just found it! So, if you’re ready to get some really good topics for an informative speech, all you need to do is to...
348 Interesting Proposal Essay Topics and Ideas for 2023
A proposal argument is an essay in which you describe a specific issue that needs fixing. It focuses on problem solutions. Are you interested in writing high-quality proposal essays? Or maybe you’re wondering what can make your writing truly outstanding? Here you will find answers to these questions as well...
217 Motivational & Inspirational Essay Topics
Sometimes you just wish there was a marketplace with vendors shouting, “Topics for argument essays! Who wants inspirational topics to write about?” Well, you are lucky enough: you’ll find plenty of inspiring things here! Coming up with some argument essay topics is quite easy! In this article, you’ll find some...
260 Controversial Debate Topics and Questions for Discussion
Are you searching for original, thought-provoking, and really controversial debate topics? Here they are! Selecting any of these 25 controversial topics for debate from Custom-writing.org, you can guarantee a heated dispute in class or exciting polemics with your friends. But first, let’s figure it out, what is debate and how you should pick up great...
- School Search
- Guided Tour
Writing samples are an important part of your application to any college. Your responses show how well you would fit with an institution; your ability to write clearly, concisely, and develop an argument; and your ability to do the work required of you should you be accepted. Use both short answer questions and personal essays to highlight your personality and what makes you unique while also showing off your academic talents.
Short Answer Questions
Short answer questions are almost harder to write than a personal essay, since you usually have a word limit. Often, this may be as short as 150 words (a paragraph). This means that your answers must be clear and concise without being so bare bones that you don’t seem to have a personality. In fact, it’s okay if you answer the question in less than the allotted space. Provided you avoid clichés and sarcasm and answer the question wholly, less can be more. Here are some tips to help you ace your short answers:
- Don’t repeat the question.
- Don’t use unnecessarily large words. Not only will you come off as pretentious at best and ignorant at worst, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to keep the same tone throughout your response. After all, wouldn’t it be easier for you to read a paragraph that addresses “how to write concisely” rather than one about “how to circumvent the superfluous use of language?” Craft your response so that your reader can easily understand your point without resorting to a thesaurus.
- Answer honestly. If you are asked to discuss one of your favorite things, don’t feel ashamed to tell the truth. Colleges want to get to know you. A “cool” answer isn’t as interesting as your honest, unique one.
- Supplement your résumé. Talk about things that aren’t mentioned anywhere else in your application to show off a different side of your personality.
- Always use details to bring even a short story to life.
- Don’t be afraid of the word limit. Write out your answer without worrying about the length and then go back and delete any unnecessary information. Underline the stand-out points and trim the rest.
- Describe your personal growth. When discussing an activity or event in your life, ask yourself what you learned or took away from it. Colleges like to understand how you’ve been changed by your experiences and see that you possess self-awareness.
- Be specific about each institution. If asked why you want to attend a particular school, make sure to reference any times you visited the campus, met with admissions counselors, or spoke with current students or alumni. Talk about programs that interest you and how you think they will benefit you in the future. Tell your readers why the idea of being a student at their institution excites you. College admissions officers can spot generic answers, so do your research if you don’t know a lot about the school. Talk about each school as if it is your top choice, even if it’s not. Under no circumstances should you say that a particular school is your “safety.”
The Personal Essay
The majority of colleges will ask you to submit at least one personal essay as part of your application. (You can find the 2019–2020 application platform personal essay prompts here , but not all schools use an application platform. In such cases, you will find essay prompts on the school’s own application.) By reading your submission, college admissions officers become familiar with your personality and writing proficiency. Your essay, along with your other application materials, helps them determine if you would be a good fit for the school and if you would be able to keep up with the rigor of the course load. A well-written, insightful essay can set you apart from other applicants with identical grades and test scores. Likewise, a poorly constructed essay can be detrimental to your application.
To ensure that your essay is the best it can be, you will need to spend some time reviewing the essay prompt to understand the question. Not only will you need time to become familiar with the directions, but you will also want to take your time when constructing your essay. No one can sit down and write the perfect essay in one shot. These things take effort, brainpower, and a significant amount of patience. Consider these steps for producing a well-written, thoughtful response to any essay prompt:
- Get moving. The best way to activate your mind is to activate your body. The act of moving forward, whether you are on foot or on a bike, can help you work through the ideas that might feel stuck. Read the prompt thoroughly, and then see what comes to you as your move through your neighborhood.
- Write down your ideas . When you get home, write down the ideas that stood out. Simply put the pen to paper or your hands to the keys and write without worrying about sentence structure or grammar. There’s plenty of time to edit later on.
- Rule out ideas that won’t work. Use the resources in the section below to decide if you are being asked to write a personal, school, or creative/intellectual statement and read through the the corresponding tips. If any of your ideas don’t fall within our guidelines, find a different approach to answering the question or rule out the topic altogether.
- Construct an outline (or two). At most, you will be able to use 650 words to respond to the question, so every statement you make must serve your overall objective. To stay on topic and build your story or argument, it’s helpful to have a map to guide you. Choose a topic or two from you list and give yourself plenty of time to outline each idea. Use bullet points and separate each section by paragraph. You may realize that one topic is too broad and you need to narrow your focus. If you make two outlines, ask a trusted adult to help you decide which one is stronger than the other. Even if you're not a fan of outlines and prefer to write organically, writing down your ideas in a consecutive list and creating a pseudo-outline can still help you maintain organization and flow between ideas when you actually fill in the blanks.
- Fill in the details with positivity. You are now ready to begin your first draft of your essay. Staying positive in your writing, even if you choose to tackle a hard subject, will endear you to admissions officers while negativity, self-pity, and resentment aren’t going to make your case. Use vivid descriptions when telling your story, but don’t stray too far from your main topic as to become dishonest or exaggerated. Admissions officers are well versed in picking out the real from the fake and aren’t going to be impressed by a made-up story.
- Walk away. When you’ve finished your first draft, walk away for a while, even a day or two, and clear your mind. You’ll be able to look at it with fresh eyes later and make edits to strengthen your argument or main idea.
- Ask for the appropriate amount of help. While it is okay to have a parent or teacher read over your essay to make sure that the points you want to make are coming through or to offer minor suggestions, it is under no circumstances acceptable to allow anyone else to make significant changes, alter the voice or message, or write the essay for you. A dishonest application will be noticed and dismissed by admissions officers.
- Edit. For the initial proofreading, read your essay out loud or backwards, sentence by sentence. Reading it in a form that you haven’t gotten used to will make it easier for you to spot grammatical and spelling errors. Then, ask for one family member or friend to read the essay out loud to you. Together, you can listen for things you missed with your eyes.
The Three Types of Essay Questions
There are three types of personal essays: the personal statement, the school statement, and the creative or intellectual statement. These are described below.
The Personal Statement
- Goal: The personal statement should be a window into your inner life. It is a chance to show schools who you are beyond your grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities. An honest, thoughtful reflection will help admissions officers understand your passions, goals, and relationships with family, friends, and other communities.
- Example: “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.” – Common Application, 2015
- Don’t attempt to sum up your life in one statement. Instead, try to pick one significant experience to elaborate on. Use details to paint a picture for the reader. Talk about how you were affected and what changed about your perception of the world. How did the experience bring you to where you are today?
- Don’t reiterate your résumé. Let your résumé, transcripts, and test scores tell one story about you. Use your essay to tell a different one. Think of it not as a place to impress, but as a place to reflect.
- Don’t talk about an experience that isn’t unique. While almost anyone could say that they struggled with history in high school, few could describe the influence that their great-grandfather had on their understanding of U.S. history in the context of World War II. Picking an experience or topic that will set you apart from other applicants is key to catching the eye of the admissions team.
- Don’t write to impress. Schools don’t want you to write about what you think they want to hear. It’s easy for them to tell when you aren’t being genuine. Pick a topic that’s significant and meaningful to you even if it’s not “impressive.” Having personal awareness is impressive on its own.
The School Statement
- Goal: With your school statement, it should be clear that you have done your research on the school to which you are applying. Admissions counselors use the essay to assess your enthusiasm for the school and your commitment to discovering how the education will benefit you in the future. You want them to understand what you are drawn to so they can begin to envision you as a student on campus.
- Example: “Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompted your application? In short: Why Tufts?” – Tufts University, 2015
- Don’t make general statements. It’s important to cite specifics instead of referencing the obvious. If a school is highly ranked and is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum, that’s dandy, but it’s common knowledge. Instead, talk about the teachers, programs, school traditions, clubs, and activities that put the school at the top of your list. If possible, reference any times you visited the campus, met with admissions counselors, or spoke with current students or alumni. Show them that you cared to do more than just a simple Google search.
- Don’t use the same essay for every school. It may be tempting to reuse the same essay for every school, but your essay should not be so general that you can sub out each school’s name as if it were a fill-in-the-blank answer. Sure, you may be able to recycle some content that applies to multiple schools on your list, but be sure to round off each essay with tangible information about the institution (references to buildings on campus, your interview, the mascot, an exciting lecture series, etc.). This proves that you aren’t applying to the school on a whim.
- Don’t overlook the facts. Verifying your statements about a school is essential. If you say that you are excited to become a theater major but the college did away with the program five years ago, admissions counselors may not take you seriously. Do yourself a favor and fact-check.
The Creative/Intellectual Statement
- Goal: Colleges ask students creative or intellectual questions to assess their ability to think critically, construct a cohesive argument, and use a nontraditional approach to solve a problem. In short, admissions counselors are looking for students who can think for themselves. They want to see that you are open to new ideas and can support your opinions with thoughtful explanations.
- Example: “What’s so odd about odd numbers?” – University of Chicago, 2014; “Design your own three-and-a-half-week course and describe what you would do.” – Colorado College, 2014
- Don’t tackle the world’s problems. There’s no need to impress colleges with your knowledge of Syria or the spread of Zika virus. Keep it simple. Remember, colleges don’t expect you to be an expert in anything yet.
- Don’t use too many quotes . Your essay is not a collection of other people’s opinions. Back up your arguments, but be selective when using quotes. If you do paraphrase or quote someone’s work, make sure to cite your sources.
- Don’t make it abstract. In an attempt to be creative and original, it’s easy to cross over the line into absurdity, but it’s important to stay grounded.
Page last updated: 05/2019
Understanding application requirements, the common, coalition, and universal college applications explained, how to write your résumé for college applications, asking for letters of recommendation, gap years and college applications, the community college application, acing your college interview.
Have a language expert improve your writing
Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes, generate your apa citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- College essay
- Choosing Your College Essay Topic | Ideas & Examples
Choosing Your College Essay Topic | Ideas & Examples
Published on October 25, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on August 29, 2022.
A strong essay topic sets you up to write a unique, memorable college application essay . Your topic should be personal, original, and specific. Take time to brainstorm the right topic for you.
Some topics are easier to make work than others, but it’s possible to write an exceptional essay from a common topic.
Attend one of our upcoming livestreams and have your topic reviewed by an admissions essay coach. We’ll tell you if you’re on the right track and explain whether or not your topic has the potential to make a great college essay.
Want some extra inspiration? Watch recordings of past topic review sessions.
Table of contents
What makes a good topic, brainstorming questions to get started, discover the best topic for you, how to make a common topic compelling, frequently asked questions about college application essays, want some extra inspiration.
Here are some guidelines for a good essay topic:
- It’s focused on you and your experience
- It shares something different from the rest of your application
- It’s specific and original (not many students could write a similar essay)
- It affords the opportunity to share your positive stories and qualities
In most cases, avoid topics that
- Reflect poorly on your character and behavior
- Deal with a challenge or traumatic experience without a lesson learned or positive outlook
Spend time reflecting on and writing out answers to the following questions. After doing this exercise, you should be able to identify a few strong topics for your college essay.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
Writing about yourself can be difficult. If you’re struggling to identify your topic, try these two strategies.
Start with your qualities
After identifying your positive qualities or values, brainstorm stories that demonstrate these qualities.
Start with a story
If you already have some memorable stories in mind that you’d like to write about, think about which qualities and values you can demonstrate with those stories.
Talk it through
To make sure you choose the right topic, ask for advice from trusted friends or family members who know you well. They can help you brainstorm ideas and remember stories, and they can give you feedback on your potential essay topics.
You can also work with a guidance counselor, teacher, or other mentor to discuss which ideas are most promising. If you plan ahead , you can even workshop multiple draft essays to see which topic works best.
If you do choose a common topic, ensure you have the following to craft a unique essay:
- Surprising or unexpected story arcs
- Interesting insight or connections
- An advanced writing style
Here are a few examples of how to craft strong essays from cliché topics.
Here’s a checklist you can use to confirm that your college essay topic is right for you.
College essay topic checklist
My topic is focused on me, not on someone else.
My topic shares something different from the rest of my application.
My topic is specific and original (not many students could write a similar essay).
My topic reflects positively on my character and behavior.
If I chose to write about a traumatic or challenging experience, my essay will focus on how I overcame it or gained insight.
If I chose a common topic, my essay will have a surprising story arc, interesting insight, and/or an advanced writing style.
It looks like your topic is a good choice. It's specific, it avoids clichés, and it reflects positively on you.
There are no foolproof college essay topics —whatever your topic, the key is to write about it effectively. However, a good topic
- Is meaningful, specific, and personal to you
- Focuses on you and your experiences
- Reveals something beyond your test scores, grades, and extracurriculars
- Is creative and original
Yes—admissions officers don’t expect everyone to have a totally unique college essay topic . But you must differentiate your essay from others by having a surprising story arc, an interesting insight, and/or an advanced writing style .
To decide on a good college essay topic , spend time thoughtfully answering brainstorming questions. If you still have trouble identifying topics, try the following two strategies:
- Identify your qualities → Brainstorm stories that demonstrate these qualities
- Identify memorable stories → Connect your qualities to these stories
You can also ask family, friends, or mentors to help you brainstorm topics, give feedback on your potential essay topics, or recall key stories that showcase your qualities.
Most topics are acceptable for college essays if you can use them to demonstrate personal growth or a lesson learned. However, there are a few difficult topics for college essays that should be avoided. Avoid topics that are:
- Overly personal (e.g. graphic details of illness or injury, romantic or sexual relationships)
- Not personal enough (e.g. broad solutions to world problems, inspiring people or things)
- Too negative (e.g. an in-depth look at your flaws, put-downs of others, criticizing the need for a college essay)
- Too boring (e.g. a resume of your academic achievements and extracurriculars)
- Inappropriate for a college essay (e.g. illegal activities, offensive humor, false accounts of yourself, bragging about privilege)
Here’s a brief list of college essay topics that may be considered cliché:
- Extracurriculars, especially sports
- Role models
- Dealing with a personal tragedy or death in the family
- Struggling with new life situations (immigrant stories, moving homes, parents’ divorce)
- Becoming a better person after community service, traveling, or summer camp
- Overcoming a difficult class
- Using a common object as an extended metaphor
It’s easier to write a standout essay with a unique topic. However, it’s possible to make a common topic compelling with interesting story arcs, uncommon connections, and an advanced writing style.
During our livestream sessions, we invite students to submit their essay topics and receive live feedback from our essay coaches. Check out recordings of our past sessions:
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Courault, K. (2022, August 29). Choosing Your College Essay Topic | Ideas & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 27, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/college-essay/essay-topic/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, college essay format & structure | example outlines, what do colleges look for in an essay | examples & tips, how to make your college essay stand out | tips & examples.
Summer 2023: Coronavirus Information
Celebrating 150 years of Harvard Summer School. Learn about our history.
12 Strategies to Writing the Perfect College Essay
College admission committees sift through thousands of college essays each year. Here’s how to make yours stand out.
When it comes to deciding who they will admit into their programs, colleges consider many criteria, including high school grades, extracurricular activities, and ACT and SAT scores. But in recent years, more colleges are no longer considering test scores.
Instead, many (including Harvard through 2026) are opting for “test-blind” admission policies that give more weight to other elements in a college application. This policy change is seen as fairer to students who don’t have the means or access to testing, or who suffer from test anxiety.
So, what does this mean for you?
Simply that your college essay, traditionally a requirement of any college application, is more important than ever.
A college essay is your unique opportunity to introduce yourself to admissions committees who must comb through thousands of applications each year. It is your chance to stand out as someone worthy of a seat in that classroom.
A well-written and thoughtful essay—reflecting who you are and what you believe—can go a long way to separating your application from the slew of forgettable ones that admissions officers read. Indeed, officers may rely on them even more now that many colleges are not considering test scores.
Below we’ll discuss a few strategies you can use to help your essay stand out from the pack. We’ll touch on how to start your essay, what you should write for your college essay, and elements that make for a great college essay.
More than any other consideration, you should choose a topic or point of view that is consistent with who you truly are.
Readers can sense when writers are inauthentic.
Inauthenticity could mean the use of overly flowery language that no one would ever use in conversation, or it could mean choosing an inconsequential topic that reveals very little about who you are.
Use your own voice, sense of humor, and a natural way of speaking.
Whatever subject you choose, make sure it’s something that’s genuinely important to you and not a subject you’ve chosen just to impress. You can write about a specific experience, hobby, or personality quirk that illustrates your strengths, but also feel free to write about your weaknesses.
Honesty about traits, situations, or a childhood background that you are working to improve may resonate with the reader more strongly than a glib victory speech.
Grab the Reader From the Start
You’ll be competing with so many other applicants for an admission officer’s attention.
Therefore, start your essay with an opening sentence or paragraph that immediately seizes the imagination. This might be a bold statement, a thoughtful quote, a question you pose, or a descriptive scene.
Starting your essay in a powerful way with a clear thesis statement can often help you along in the writing process. If your task is to tell a good story, a bold beginning can be a natural prelude to getting there, serving as a roadmap, engaging the reader from the start, and presenting the purpose of your writing.
Focus on Deeper Themes
Some essay writers think they will impress committees by loading an essay with facts, figures, and descriptions of activities, like wins in sports or descriptions of volunteer work. But that’s not the point.
College admissions officers are interested in learning more about who you are as a person and what makes you tick.
They want to know what has brought you to this stage in life. They want to read about realizations you may have come to through adversity as well as your successes, not just about how many games you won while on the soccer team or how many people you served at a soup kitchen.
Let the reader know how winning the soccer game helped you develop as a person, friend, family member, or leader. Make a connection with your soup kitchen volunteerism and how it may have inspired your educational journey and future aspirations. What did you discover about yourself?
Show Don’t Tell
As you expand on whatever theme you’ve decided to explore in your essay, remember to show, don’t tell.
The most engaging writing “shows” by setting scenes and providing anecdotes, rather than just providing a list of accomplishments and activities.
Reciting a list of activities is also boring. An admissions officer will want to know about the arc of your emotional journey too.
Try Doing Something Different
If you want your essay to stand out, think about approaching your subject from an entirely new perspective. While many students might choose to write about their wins, for instance, what if you wrote an essay about what you learned from all your losses?
If you are an especially talented writer, you might play with the element of surprise by crafting an essay that leaves the response to a question to the very last sentence.
You may want to stay away from well-worn themes entirely, like a sports-related obstacle or success, volunteer stories, immigration stories, moving, a summary of personal achievements or overcoming obstacles.
However, such themes are popular for a reason. They represent the totality of most people’s lives coming out of high school. Therefore, it may be less important to stay away from these topics than to take a fresh approach.
Explore Harvard Summer School’s College Programs for High School Students
Write With the Reader in Mind
Writing for the reader means building a clear and logical argument in which one thought flows naturally from another.
Use transitions between paragraphs.
Think about any information you may have left out that the reader may need to know. Are there ideas you have included that do not help illustrate your theme?
Be sure you can answer questions such as: Does what you have written make sense? Is the essay organized? Does the opening grab the reader? Is there a strong ending? Have you given enough background information? Is it wordy?
Write Several Drafts
Set your essay aside for a few days and come back to it after you’ve had some time to forget what you’ve written. Often, you’ll discover you have a whole new perspective that enhances your ability to make revisions.
Start writing months before your essay is due to give yourself enough time to write multiple drafts. A good time to start could be as early as the summer before your senior year when homework and extracurricular activities take up less time.
Read It Aloud
Writer’s tip : Reading your essay aloud can instantly uncover passages that sound clumsy, long-winded, or false.
If you’ve mentioned an activity, story, or anecdote in some other part of your application, don’t repeat it again in your essay.
Your essay should tell college admissions officers something new. Whatever you write in your essay should be in philosophical alignment with the rest of your application.
Also, be sure you’ve answered whatever question or prompt may have been posed to you at the outset.
Ask Others to Read Your Essay
Be sure the people you ask to read your essay represent different demographic groups—a teacher, a parent, even a younger sister or brother.
Ask each reader what they took from the essay and listen closely to what they have to say. If anyone expresses confusion, revise until the confusion is cleared up.
Pay Attention to Form
Although there are often no strict word limits for college essays, most essays are shorter rather than longer. Common App, which students can use to submit to multiple colleges, suggests that essays stay at about 650 words.
“While we won’t as a rule stop reading after 650 words, we cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention for as long as you’d hoped it would,” the Common App website states.
In reviewing other technical aspects of your essay, be sure that the font is readable, that the margins are properly spaced, that any dialogue is set off properly, and that there is enough spacing at the top. Your essay should look clean and inviting to readers.
End Your Essay With a “Kicker”
In journalism, a kicker is the last punchy line, paragraph, or section that brings everything together.
It provides a lasting impression that leaves the reader satisfied and impressed by the points you have artfully woven throughout your piece.
So, here’s our kicker: Be concise and coherent, engage in honest self-reflection, and include vivid details and anecdotes that deftly illustrate your point.
While writing a fantastic essay may not guarantee you get selected, it can tip the balance in your favor if admissions officers are considering a candidate with a similar GPA and background.
Write, revise, revise again, and good luck!
Experience life on a college campus. Spend your summer at Harvard.
Explore Harvard Summer School’s College Programs for High School Students.
About the Author
Pamela Reynolds is a Boston-area feature writer and editor whose work appears in numerous publications. She is the author of “Revamp: A Memoir of Travel and Obsessive Renovation.”
How Involved Should Parents and Guardians Be in High School Student College Applications and Admissions?
There are several ways parents can lend support to their children during the college application process. Here's how to get the ball rolling.
Harvard Division of Continuing Education
A division of Harvard University dedicated to bringing rigorous programs and innovative online teaching capabilities to distance learners, working professionals, high school students, college students, and those seeking higher learning in retirement.
What are your chances of acceptance?
Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars.
5 Awesome College Essay Topics + Sample Essays
←11 Cliché College Essay Topics + How to Fix Them
8 Do’s and Don’ts for Crafting Your College Essay→
Does your Common App essay actually stand out?
Your essay can be the difference between an acceptance and rejection — it allows you to stand out from the rest of applicants with similar profiles. Get a free peer review or review other students’ essays right now to understand the strength of your essay.
What makes a good college essay topic, awesome college essay topics + sample essays, how to get your essay reviewed for free.
Finding a great college essay topic is one of the most stressful parts of the essay writing process. How is it possible to accurately represent your life and personality in one essay? How can you tell if a topic will do your story justice, or if it’ll end up hurting your application?
While a good essay topic varies from one person to another, there are some general guidelines you should follow when picking a topic. In this post, we’ll go over the commonalities of a good college essay topic, and we’ll share five original topics and sample essays to inspire your writing.
College essays are meant to provide admissions officers with a better idea of who you are beyond your quantitative achievements. It’s your chance to share your voice, personality, and story.
A good essay topic will do the following:
Answers the 4 core questions. These questions are:
- “Who Am I?”
- “Why Am I Here?”
- “What is Unique About Me?”
- “What Matters to Me?”
At its core, your essay should show who you are, how you got there, and where you’re going.
Is deeply personal. The best essay topics allow you to be raw and vulnerable. You don’t need to bare your soul and tell your deepest secrets, but you should share your thoughts and emotions in your essay. A good essay should make the reader feel something—whether that’s your joy, embarrassment, panic, defeat, confidence, or determination.
Is original, or approaches a common topic in an original way. Admissions officers read a lot of essays about the same old topics. Some of those cliches include: a sports injury, person you admire, tragedy, or working hard in a challenging class. While it’s possible to write a good essay on a common topic, it’s much harder to do so, and you may lose the admissions officer’s attention early on.
Try to find a topic that goes beyond traditional archetypes to make yourself truly stand out. You could also take a cliche topic but develop it in a different way. For example, the standard storyline of the sports injury essay is that you got hurt, were upset you couldn’t participate, but then worked hard and overcame that injury. Instead, you could write about how you got injured, and used that time off to develop a new interest, such as coding.
The truth is that a “good” college essay topic varies by individual, as it really depends on your life experiences. That being said, there are some topics that should work well for most people, and they are:
1. A unique extracurricular activity or passion
Writing about an extracurricular activity is not a unique essay topic, and it’s actually a common supplemental essay prompt. If you have an unconventional activity, however, the essay is the perfect opportunity to showcase and elaborate upon that interest. Less common activities are less familiar to admissions officers, so some extra context can be helpful in understanding how that activity worked, and how much it meant to you.
For example, here’s a sample essay about a student who played competitive bridge, and what the activity taught them:
The room was silent except for the thoughts racing through my head. I led a spade from my hand and my opponent paused for a second, then played a heart. The numbers ran through my mind as I tried to consider every combination, calculating my next move. Finally, I played the ace of spades from the dummy and the rest of my clubs, securing the contract and 620 points when my partner ruffed at trick five. Next board.
It was the final of the 2015 United States Bridge Federation Under-26 Women’s Championship. The winning team would be selected to represent the United States in the world championship and my team was still in the running.
Contract bridge is a strategic and stochastic card game. Players from around the world gather at local clubs, regional events, and, in this case, national tournaments.
Going into the tournament, my team was excited; all the hours we had put into the game, from the lengthy midnight Skype sessions spent discussing boards to the coffee shop meetings spent memorizing conventions together, were about to pay off.
Halfway through, our spirits were still high, as we were only down by fourteen international match points which, out of the final total of about four hundred points, was virtually nothing and it was very feasible to catch up. Our excitement was short-lived, however, as sixty boards later, we found that we had lost the match and would not be chosen as the national team.
Initially, we were devastated. We had come so close and it seemed as if all the hours we had devoted to training had been utterly wasted. Yet as our team spent some time together reflecting upon the results, we gradually realized that the true value that we had gained wasn’t only the prospect of winning the national title, but also the time we had spent together exploring our shared passion. I chatted with the winning team and even befriended a few of them who offered us encouragement and advice.
Throughout my bridge career, although I’ve gained a respectable amount of masterpoints and awards, I’ve realized that the real reward comes from the extraordinary people I have met. I don’t need to travel cross-country to learn; every time I sit down at a table whether it be during a simple club game, a regional tournament or a national event, I find I’m always learning.
I nod at the pair that’s always yelling at each other. They teach me the importance of sportsmanship and forgiveness.
I greet the legally blind man who can defeat most of the seeing players. He reminds me not to make excuses.
I chat with the friendly, elderly couple who, at ages ninety and ninety-two, have just gotten married two weeks ago. They teach me that it’s never too late to start anything.
I talk to the boy who’s attending Harvard and the girl who forewent college to start her own company. They show me that there is more than one path to success.
I congratulate the little kid running to his dad, excited to have won his very first masterpoints. He reminds me of the thrill of every first time and to never stop trying new things.
Just as much as I have benefitted from these life lessons, I aspire to give back to my bridge community as much as it has given me. I aspire to teach people how to play this complicated yet equally as exciting game. I aspire to never stop improving myself, both at and away from the bridge table.
Bridge has given me my roots and dared me to dream. What started as merely a hobby has become a community, a passion, a part of my identity. I aspire to live selflessly and help others reach their goals. I seek to take risks, embrace all results, even failure, and live unfettered from my own doubt .
2. An activity or interest that contrasts heavily with your profile
The essays are also a great way to highlight different aspects of who you are, and also explain any aspects of your profile that might not “make sense.” For instance, if your extracurriculars are heavily STEM-focused, but you have one theatre-related activity you care a lot about, you might want to write an essay on theatre to add an extra dimension to your application. Admissions officers actually love when students have a “contrast profile,” or well-developed interests in two disparate fields. This is because they see a lot of well-rounded and specialized students, so students with contrast profiles offer something refreshingly unique.
Here’s a sample essay written by an athlete who is also an accomplished poet. The piece focuses upon the student’s contrasting identities, and how they eventually come to feel proud of both identities.
When I was younger, I was adamant that no two foods on my plate touch. As a result, I often used a second plate to prevent such an atrocity. In many ways, I learned to separate different things this way from my older brothers, Nate and Rob. Growing up, I idolized both of them. Nate was a performer, and I insisted on arriving early to his shows to secure front row seats, refusing to budge during intermission for fear of missing anything. Rob was a three-sport athlete, and I attended his games religiously, waving worn-out foam cougar paws and cheering until my voice was hoarse. My brothers were my role models. However, while each was talented, neither was interested in the other’s passion. To me, they represented two contrasting ideals of what I could become: artist or athlete. I believed I had to choose.
And for a long time, I chose athlete. I played soccer, basketball, and lacrosse and viewed myself exclusively as an athlete, believing the arts were not for me. I conveniently overlooked that since the age of five, I had been composing stories for my family for Christmas, gifts that were as much for me as them, as I loved writing. So when in tenth grade, I had the option of taking a creative writing class, I was faced with a question: could I be an athlete and a writer? After much debate, I enrolled in the class, feeling both apprehensive and excited. When I arrived on the first day of school, my teacher, Ms. Jenkins, asked us to write down our expectations for the class. After a few minutes, eraser shavings stubbornly sunbathing on my now-smudged paper, I finally wrote, “I do not expect to become a published writer from this class. I just want this to be a place where I can write freely.”
Although the purpose of the class never changed for me, on the third “submission day,” – our time to submit writing to upcoming contests and literary magazines – I faced a predicament. For the first two submission days, I had passed the time editing earlier pieces, eventually (pretty quickly) resorting to screen snake when hopelessness made the words look like hieroglyphics. I must not have been as subtle as I thought, as on the third of these days, Ms. Jenkins approached me. After shifting from excuse to excuse as to why I did not submit my writing, I finally recognized the real reason I had withheld my work: I was scared. I did not want to be different, and I did not want to challenge not only others’ perceptions of me, but also my own. I yielded to Ms. Jenkin’s pleas and sent one of my pieces to an upcoming contest.
By the time the letter came, I had already forgotten about the contest. When the flimsy white envelope arrived in the mail, I was shocked and ecstatic to learn that I had received 2nd place in a nationwide writing competition. The next morning, however, I discovered Ms. Jenkins would make an announcement to the whole school exposing me as a poet. I decided to own this identity and embrace my friends’ jokes and playful digs, and over time, they have learned to accept and respect this part of me. I have since seen more boys at my school identifying themselves as writers or artists.
I no longer see myself as an athlete and a poet independently, but rather I see these two aspects forming a single inseparable identity – me. Despite their apparent differences, these two disciplines are quite similar, as each requires creativity and devotion. I am still a poet when I am lacing up my cleats for soccer practice and still an athlete when I am building metaphors in the back of my mind – and I have realized ice cream and gummy bears taste pretty good together.
3. A seemingly insignificant moment that speaks to larger themes within your life
Writing an essay on a seemingly mundane moment is unexpected, so that should grab the attention of the reader in almost a backwards way. You’ll make them wonder where the essay is going, and why you chose to write about that moment. From there, you can use that moment as an avenue to discuss important elements of your identity.
In this sample essay, a student details her experience failing to make a fire from sticks, and how it leads her to reflect on how her former passion (or “fire”) for the outdoors is now reflected in her current interests.
Was I no longer the beloved daughter of nature, whisperer of trees? Knee-high rubber boots, camouflage, bug spray—I wore the garb and perfume of a proud wild woman, yet there I was, hunched over the pathetic pile of stubborn sticks, utterly stumped, on the verge of tears. As a child, I had considered myself a kind of rustic princess, a cradler of spiders and centipedes, who was serenaded by mourning doves and chickadees, who could glide through tick-infested meadows and emerge Lyme-free. I knew the cracks of the earth like the scars on my own rough palms. Yet here I was, ten years later, incapable of performing the most fundamental outdoor task: I could not, for the life of me, start a fire.
Furiously I rubbed the twigs together—rubbed and rubbed until shreds of skin flaked from my fingers. No smoke. The twigs were too young, too sticky-green; I tossed them away with a shower of curses, and began tearing through the underbrush in search of a more flammable collection. My efforts were fruitless. Livid, I bit a rejected twig, determined to prove that the forest had spurned me, offering only young, wet bones that would never burn. But the wood cracked like carrots between my teeth—old, brittle, and bitter. Roaring and nursing my aching palms, I retreated to the tent, where I sulked and awaited the jeers of my family.
Rattling their empty worm cans and reeking of fat fish, my brother and cousins swaggered into the campsite. Immediately, they noticed the minor stick massacre by the fire pit and called to me, their deep voices already sharp with contempt.
“Where’s the fire, Princess Clara?” they taunted. “Having some trouble?” They prodded me with the ends of the chewed branches and, with a few effortless scrapes of wood on rock, sparked a red and roaring flame. My face burned long after I left the fire pit. The camp stank of salmon and shame.
In the tent, I pondered my failure. Was I so dainty? Was I that incapable? I thought of my hands, how calloused and capable they had been, how tender and smooth they had become. It had been years since I’d kneaded mud between my fingers; instead of scaling a white pine, I’d practiced scales on my piano, my hands softening into those of a musician—fleshy and sensitive. And I’d gotten glasses, having grown horrifically nearsighted; long nights of dim lighting and thick books had done this. I couldn’t remember the last time I had lain down on a hill, barefaced, and seen the stars without having to squint. Crawling along the edge of the tent, a spider confirmed my transformation—he disgusted me, and I felt an overwhelming urge to squash him.
Yet, I realized I hadn’t really changed—I had only shifted perspective. I still eagerly explored new worlds, but through poems and prose rather than pastures and puddles. I’d grown to prefer the boom of a bass over that of a bullfrog, learned to coax a different kind of fire from wood, having developed a burn for writing rhymes and scrawling hypotheses.
That night, I stayed up late with my journal and wrote about the spider I had decided not to kill. I had tolerated him just barely, only shrieking when he jumped—it helped to watch him decorate the corners of the tent with his delicate webs, knowing that he couldn’t start fires, either. When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.
4. Using an everyday experience or object as a metaphor to explore your life and personality
Using an everyday experience as a vehicle to explore your identity is also intriguing in an unexpected way. You’d be surprised at how many everyday routines and objects naturally lend themselves to a unique glance into your life. Some of those things might be: a familiar drive, your running shoes, a recipe from your grandmother, walking to your guitar lesson.
This topic also is a strong choice if you have a descriptive, artful writing style. It allows you to get creative with the transitions from the everyday experience to larger reflections on your life.
Here’s an example of a student who chose to write about showers, all while showcasing their personality and unique aspects of their life.
Scalding hot water cascades over me, crashing to the ground in a familiar, soothing rhythm. Steam rises to the ceiling as dried sweat and soap suds swirl down the drain. The water hisses as it hits my skin, far above the safe temperature for a shower. The pressure is perfect on my tired muscles, easing the aches and bruises from a rough bout of sparring and the tension from a long, stressful day. The noise from my overactive mind dies away, fading into music, lyrics floating through my head. Black streaks stripe the inside of my left arm, remnants of the penned reminders of homework, money owed and forms due.
It lacks the same dynamism and controlled intensity of sparring on the mat at taekwondo or the warm tenderness of a tight hug from my father, but it’s still a cocoon of safety as the water washes away the day’s burdens. As long as the hot water is running, the rest of the world ceases to exist, shrinking to me, myself and I. The shower curtain closes me off from the hectic world spinning around me.
Much like the baths of Blanche DuBois, my hot showers are a means of cleansing and purifying (though I’m mostly just ridding myself of the germs from children at work sneezing on me). In the midst of a hot shower, there is no impending exam to study for, no newspaper deadline to meet, no paycheck to deposit. It is simply complete and utter peace, a safe haven. The steam clears my mind even as it clouds my mirror.
Creativity thrives in the tub, breathing life into tales of dragons and warrior princesses that evolve only in my head, never making their way to paper but appeasing the childlike dreamer and wannabe author in me all the same. That one calculus problem that has seemed unsolvable since second period clicks into place as I realize the obvious solution. The perfect concluding sentence to my literary analysis essay writes itself (causing me to abruptly end my shower in a mad dash to the computer before I forget it entirely).
Ever since I was old enough to start taking showers unaided, I began hogging all the hot water in the house, a source of great frustration to my parents. Many of my early showers were rudely cut short by an unholy banging on the bathroom door and an order to “stop wasting water and come eat dinner before it gets cold.” After a decade of trudging up the stairs every evening to put an end to my water-wasting, my parents finally gave in, leaving me to my (expensive) showers. I imagine someday, when paying the water bill is in my hands, my showers will be shorter, but today is not that day (nor, hopefully, will the next four years be that day).
Showers are better than any ibuprofen, the perfect panacea for life’s daily ailments. Headaches magically disappear as long as the water runs, though they typically return in full force afterward. The runny nose and itchy eyes courtesy of summertime allergies recede. Showers alleviate even the stomachache from a guacamole-induced lack of self-control.
Honestly though, the best part about a hot shower is neither its medicinal abilities nor its blissful temporary isolation or even the heavenly warmth seeped deep into my bones. The best part is that these little moments of pure, uninhibited contentedness are a daily occurrence. No matter how stressful the day, showers ensure I always have something to look forward to. They are small moments, true, but important nonetheless, because it is the little things in life that matter; the big moments are too rare, too fleeting to make anyone truly happy. Wherever I am in the world, whatever fate chooses to throw at me, I know I can always find my peace at the end of the day behind the shower curtain.
5. An in the moment narrative that tells the story of a important moment in your life
In the moment narrative is a powerful essay format, as your reader experiences the events, your thoughts, and your emotions with you . Students assume that your chosen moment needs to be extremely dramatic or life-altering, but the truth is that you can use this method to write about all kinds of events, from the everyday to the unexpected to the monumental. It doesn’t matter, as long as that moment was important to your development.
For example, this student wrote about a Model UN conference where they were asked to switch stances last minute. This might not seem like a huge moment, but this experience was meaningful to them because it showed them the importance of adaptability.
The morning of the Model United Nation conference, I walked into Committee feeling confident about my research. We were simulating the Nuremberg Trials – a series of post-World War II proceedings for war crimes – and my portfolio was of the Soviet Judge Major General Iona Nikitchenko. Until that day, the infamous Nazi regime had only been a chapter in my history textbook; however, the conference’s unveiling of each defendant’s crimes brought those horrors to life. The previous night, I had organized my research, proofread my position paper and gone over Judge Nikitchenko’s pertinent statements. I aimed to find the perfect balance between his stance and my own.
As I walked into committee anticipating a battle of wits, my director abruptly called out to me. “I’m afraid we’ve received a late confirmation from another delegate who will be representing Judge Nikitchenko. You, on the other hand, are now the defense attorney, Otto Stahmer.” Everyone around me buzzed around the room in excitement, coordinating with their allies and developing strategies against their enemies, oblivious to the bomb that had just dropped on me. I felt frozen in my tracks, and it seemed that only rage against the careless delegate who had confirmed her presence so late could pull me out of my trance. After having spent a month painstakingly crafting my verdicts and gathering evidence against the Nazis, I now needed to reverse my stance only three hours before the first session.
Gradually, anger gave way to utter panic. My research was fundamental to my performance, and without it, I knew I could add little to the Trials. But confident in my ability, my director optimistically recommended constructing an impromptu defense. Nervously, I began my research anew. Despite feeling hopeless, as I read through the prosecution’s arguments, I uncovered substantial loopholes. I noticed a lack of conclusive evidence against the defendants and certain inconsistencies in testimonies. My discovery energized me, inspiring me to revisit the historical overview in my conference “Background Guide” and to search the web for other relevant articles. Some Nazi prisoners had been treated as “guilty” before their court dates. While I had brushed this information under the carpet while developing my position as a judge, it now became the focus of my defense. I began scratching out a new argument, centered on the premise that the allied countries had violated the fundamental rule that, a defendant was “not guilty” until proven otherwise.
At the end of the three hours, I felt better prepared. The first session began, and with bravado, I raised my placard to speak. Microphone in hand, I turned to face my audience. “Greetings delegates. I, Otto Stahmer would like to…….” I suddenly blanked. Utter dread permeated my body as I tried to recall my thoughts in vain. “Defence Attorney, Stahmer we’ll come back to you,” my Committee Director broke the silence as I tottered back to my seat, flushed with embarrassment. Despite my shame, I was undeterred. I needed to vindicate my director’s faith in me. I pulled out my notes, refocused, and began outlining my arguments in a more clear and direct manner. Thereafter, I spoke articulately, confidently putting forth my points. I was overjoyed when Secretariat members congratulated me on my fine performance.
Going into the conference, I believed that preparation was the key to success. I wouldn’t say I disagree with that statement now, but I believe adaptability is equally important. My ability to problem-solve in the face of an unforeseen challenge proved advantageous in the art of diplomacy. Not only did this experience transform me into a confident and eloquent delegate at that conference, but it also helped me become a more flexible and creative thinker in a variety of other capacities. Now that I know I can adapt under pressure, I look forward to engaging in activities that will push me to be even quicker on my feet.
At selective schools, your essays account for around 25% of your admissions decision. That’s more than grades (20%) and test scores (15%), and almost as much as extracurriculars (30%). Why is this? Most students applying to top schools will have stellar academics and extracurriculars. Your essays are your chance to stand out and humanize your application.
That’s why it’s vital that your essays are engaging, and present you as someone who would enrich the campus community.
Before submitting your application, you should have someone else review your essays. It’s even better if that person doesn’t know you personally, as they can best tell whether your personality shines through your essay.
That’s why we created our Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. We highly recommend giving this tool a try!
We hope this gives you a better idea of what good essay topic looks like, and that you’re feeling inspired to write your own essay—maybe one of these topics can even apply to your own life!
For more guidance on your essays, see these posts:
How to Write the Common App Essay
What If I Don ’t Have Anything Interesting to Write About in My College Essay?
Wh ere to Begin? 6 Personal Essay Brainstorming Exercises
Want help with your college essays to improve your admissions chances? Sign up for your free CollegeVine account and get access to our essay guides and courses. You can also get your essay peer-reviewed and improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.
Related CollegeVine Blog Posts
Choose Your Test
Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 177 college essay examples for 11 schools + expert analysis.
College Admissions , College Essays
A killer first sentence. You've heard it before, and you'll hear it again: you have to suck the reader in, and the best place to do that is the first sentence. Great first sentences are punchy. They are like cliffhangers, setting up an exciting scene or an unusual situation with an unclear conclusion, in order to make the reader want to know more. Don't take my word for it—check out these 22 first sentences from Stanford applicants and tell me you don't want to read the rest of those essays to find out what happens!
A lively, individual voice. Writing is for readers. In this case, your reader is an admissions officer who has read thousands of essays before yours and will read thousands after. Your goal? Don't bore your reader. Use interesting descriptions, stay away from clichés, include your own offbeat observations—anything that makes this essay sounds like you and not like anyone else.
Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar.
Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges.
Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now :
Links to Full College Essay Examples
Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over 100 of these.
Common App Essay Samples
Please note that some of these college essay examples may be responding to prompts that are no longer in use. The current Common App prompts are as follows:
1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. 2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? 3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? 5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
Now, let's get to the good stuff: the list of 145 college essay examples responding to current and past Common App essay prompts.
- 12 Common Application essays from the classes of 2022-2025
- 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2022
- 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2018
- 8 Common Application essays from the class of 2012
- 8 Common Application essays from the class of 2007
These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Coalition Application (which Johns Hopkins used to accept).
- 6 Common Application or Coalition Application essays from the class of 2025
- 6 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2024
- 6 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2023
- 7 Common Application of Universal Application essays from the class of 2022
- 5 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2021
- 7 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2020
- 8 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2019
- 6 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2018
- 6 Common Application essays
Essay Examples Published by Other Websites
- 2 Common Application essays ( 1st essay , 2nd essay ) from applicants admitted to Columbia
Other Sample College Essays
Here is a collection of essays that are college-specific.
- 4 essays (and 1 video response) on "Why Babson" from the class of 2020
- 5 essay examples ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) from the class of 2020 along with analysis from Emory admissions staff on why the essays were exceptional
- 5 more recent essay examples ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) along with analysis from Emory admissions staff on what made these essays stand out
- 10 Harvard essays from 2022
- 10 Harvard essays from 2021
- 10 Harvard essays from 2018
- 6 essays from admitted MIT students
- 6 "best gift" essays from the class of 2018
- 9 "Why Tufts?" short essays
- 6 "Let Your Life Speak" essays
- 5 Tufts essays that worked, plus video commentary from Tufts Admissions
Books of College Essays
If you're looking for even more sample college essays, consider purchasing a college essay book. The best of these include dozens of essays that worked and feedback from real admissions officers.
College Essays That Made a Difference —This detailed guide from Princeton Review includes not only successful essays, but also interviews with admissions officers and full student profiles.
50 Successful Harvard Application Essays by the Staff of the Harvard Crimson—A must for anyone aspiring to Harvard .
50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays and 50 Successful Stanford Application Essays by Gen and Kelly Tanabe—For essays from other top schools, check out this venerated series, which is regularly updated with new essays.
Heavenly Essays by Janine W. Robinson—This collection from the popular blogger behind Essay Hell includes a wider range of schools, as well as helpful tips on honing your own essay.
Analyzing Great Common App Essays That Worked
I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more depth so that you can see exactly what makes a successful college essay work. Full credit for these essays goes to the original authors and the schools that published them.
Example 1: "Breaking Into Cars," by Stephen, Johns Hopkins Class of '19 (Common App Essay, 636 words long)
I had never broken into a car before.
We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site. The Hotchkiss volunteers had already left, off to enjoy some Texas BBQ, leaving me behind with the college kids to clean up. Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van.
Someone picked a coat hanger out of the dumpster, handed it to me, and took a few steps back.
"Can you do that thing with a coat hanger to unlock it?"
"Why me?" I thought.
More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. I slid the hanger into the window's seal like I'd seen on crime shows, and spent a few minutes jiggling the apparatus around the inside of the frame. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. (I actually succeeded in springing it.) The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation.
My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally. My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. "The water's on fire! Clear a hole!" he shouted, tossing me in the lake without warning. While I'm still unconvinced about that particular lesson's practicality, my Dad's overarching message is unequivocally true: much of life is unexpected, and you have to deal with the twists and turns.
Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try. I don't sweat the small stuff, and I definitely don't expect perfect fairness. So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people? Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night.
But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power. Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me. I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary. Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder. Different things to different people, as the situation demanded. I learned to adapt.
Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival. But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: "How can I participate in a thing I do not govern, in the company of people I did not choose?"
The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo. Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me.
Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose. It's family. It's society. And often, it's chaos. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence.
What Makes This Essay Tick?
It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives. Stephen's essay is very effective. Let's find out why!
An Opening Line That Draws You In
In just eight words, we get: scene-setting (he is standing next to a car about to break in), the idea of crossing a boundary (he is maybe about to do an illegal thing for the first time), and a cliffhanger (we are thinking: is he going to get caught? Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight?).
Great, Detailed Opening Story
More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. I slid the hanger into the window's seal like I'd seen on crime shows, and spent a few minutes jiggling the apparatus around the inside of the frame.
It's the details that really make this small experience come alive. Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one. The volunteers aren't going to get food or dinner; they're going for "Texas BBQ." The coat hanger comes from "a dumpster." Stephen doesn't just move the coat hanger—he "jiggles" it.
Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. The person who hands Stephen the coat hanger isn't just uncomfortable or nervous; he "takes a few steps back"—a description of movement that conveys feelings. Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking.
Turning a Specific Incident Into a Deeper Insight
Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. (I actually succeeded in springing it.) The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation.
Stephen makes the locked car experience a meaningful illustration of how he has learned to be resourceful and ready for anything, and he also makes this turn from the specific to the broad through an elegant play on the two meanings of the word "click."
Using Concrete Examples When Making Abstract Claims
My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally.
"Unpredictability and chaos" are very abstract, not easily visualized concepts. They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. By instantly following up with highly finite and unambiguous illustrations like "family of seven" and "siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing," Stephen grounds the abstraction in something that is easy to picture: a large, noisy family.
Using Small Bits of Humor and Casual Word Choice
My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed.
Obviously, knowing how to clean burning oil is not high on the list of things every 9-year-old needs to know. To emphasize this, Stephen uses sarcasm by bringing up a situation that is clearly over-the-top: "in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed."
The humor also feels relaxed. Part of this is because he introduces it with the colloquial phrase "you know," so it sounds like he is talking to us in person. This approach also diffuses the potential discomfort of the reader with his father's strictness—since he is making jokes about it, clearly he is OK. Notice, though, that this doesn't occur very much in the essay. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant.
The ending of the essay reveals that Stephen's life has been one long preparation for the future. He has emerged from chaos and his dad's approach to parenting as a person who can thrive in a world that he can't control.
This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays. Colleges are very much looking for mature, self-aware applicants. These are the qualities of successful college students, who will be able to navigate the independence college classes require and the responsibility and quasi-adulthood of college life.
What Could This Essay Do Even Better?
Even the best essays aren't perfect, and even the world's greatest writers will tell you that writing is never "finished"—just "due." So what would we tweak in this essay if we could?
Replace some of the clichéd language. Stephen uses handy phrases like "twists and turns" and "don't sweat the small stuff" as a kind of shorthand for explaining his relationship to chaos and unpredictability. But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring.
Use another example from recent life. Stephen's first example (breaking into the van in Laredo) is a great illustration of being resourceful in an unexpected situation. But his essay also emphasizes that he "learned to adapt" by being "different things to different people." It would be great to see how this plays out outside his family, either in the situation in Laredo or another context.
Want to build the best possible college application?
We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies . We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools , from state colleges to the Ivy League.
We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools .
Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in.
Example 2: By Renner Kwittken, Tufts Class of '23 (Common App Essay, 645 words long)
My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver. I saw it in my favorite book, Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go," and for some reason, I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of driving a giant pickle. Much to the discontent of my younger sister, I insisted that my parents read us that book as many nights as possible so we could find goldbug, a small little golden bug, on every page. I would imagine the wonderful life I would have: being a pig driving a giant pickle truck across the country, chasing and finding goldbug. I then moved on to wanting to be a Lego Master. Then an architect. Then a surgeon.
Then I discovered a real goldbug: gold nanoparticles that can reprogram macrophages to assist in killing tumors, produce clear images of them without sacrificing the subject, and heat them to obliteration.
Suddenly the destination of my pickle was clear.
I quickly became enveloped by the world of nanomedicine; I scoured articles about liposomes, polymeric micelles, dendrimers, targeting ligands, and self-assembling nanoparticles, all conquering cancer in some exotic way. Completely absorbed, I set out to find a mentor to dive even deeper into these topics. After several rejections, I was immensely grateful to receive an invitation to work alongside Dr. Sangeeta Ray at Johns Hopkins.
In the lab, Dr. Ray encouraged a great amount of autonomy to design and implement my own procedures. I chose to attack a problem that affects the entire field of nanomedicine: nanoparticles consistently fail to translate from animal studies into clinical trials. Jumping off recent literature, I set out to see if a pre-dose of a common chemotherapeutic could enhance nanoparticle delivery in aggressive prostate cancer, creating three novel constructs based on three different linear polymers, each using fluorescent dye (although no gold, sorry goldbug!). Though using radioactive isotopes like Gallium and Yttrium would have been incredible, as a 17-year-old, I unfortunately wasn't allowed in the same room as these radioactive materials (even though I took a Geiger counter to a pair of shoes and found them to be slightly dangerous).
I hadn't expected my hypothesis to work, as the research project would have ideally been led across two full years. Yet while there are still many optimizations and revisions to be done, I was thrilled to find -- with completely new nanoparticles that may one day mean future trials will use particles with the initials "RK-1" -- thatcyclophosphamide did indeed increase nanoparticle delivery to the tumor in a statistically significant way.
A secondary, unexpected research project was living alone in Baltimore, a new city to me, surrounded by people much older than I. Even with moving frequently between hotels, AirBnB's, and students' apartments, I strangely reveled in the freedom I had to enjoy my surroundings and form new friendships with graduate school students from the lab. We explored The Inner Harbor at night, attended a concert together one weekend, and even got to watch the Orioles lose (to nobody's surprise). Ironically, it's through these new friendships I discovered something unexpected: what I truly love is sharing research. Whether in a presentation or in a casual conversation, making others interested in science is perhaps more exciting to me than the research itself. This solidified a new pursuit to angle my love for writing towards illuminating science in ways people can understand, adding value to a society that can certainly benefit from more scientific literacy.
It seems fitting that my goals are still transforming: in Scarry's book, there is not just one goldbug, there is one on every page. With each new experience, I'm learning that it isn't the goldbug itself, but rather the act of searching for the goldbugs that will encourage, shape, and refine my ever-evolving passions. Regardless of the goldbug I seek -- I know my pickle truck has just begun its journey.
Renner takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but their essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of this essay.
One Clear Governing Metaphor
This essay is ultimately about two things: Renner’s dreams and future career goals, and Renner’s philosophy on goal-setting and achieving one’s dreams.
But instead of listing off all the amazing things they’ve done to pursue their dream of working in nanomedicine, Renner tells a powerful, unique story instead. To set up the narrative, Renner opens the essay by connecting their experiences with goal-setting and dream-chasing all the way back to a memorable childhood experience:
This lighthearted–but relevant!--story about the moment when Renner first developed a passion for a specific career (“finding the goldbug”) provides an anchor point for the rest of the essay. As Renner pivots to describing their current dreams and goals–working in nanomedicine–the metaphor of “finding the goldbug” is reflected in Renner’s experiments, rejections, and new discoveries.
Though Renner tells multiple stories about their quest to “find the goldbug,” or, in other words, pursue their passion, each story is connected by a unifying theme; namely, that as we search and grow over time, our goals will transform…and that’s okay! By the end of the essay, Renner uses the metaphor of “finding the goldbug” to reiterate the relevance of the opening story:
While the earlier parts of the essay convey Renner’s core message by showing, the final, concluding paragraph sums up Renner’s insights by telling. By briefly and clearly stating the relevance of the goldbug metaphor to their own philosophy on goals and dreams, Renner demonstrates their creativity, insight, and eagerness to grow and evolve as the journey continues into college.
An Engaging, Individual Voice
This essay uses many techniques that make Renner sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know them.
Technique #1: humor. Notice Renner's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks their younger self's grand ambitions (this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other).
My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver.
I would imagine the wonderful life I would have: being a pig driving a giant pickle truck across the country, chasing and finding goldbug. I then moved on to wanting to be a Lego Master. Then an architect. Then a surgeon.
Renner gives a great example of h ow to use humor to your advantage in college essays. You don’t want to come off as too self-deprecating or sarcastic, but telling a lightheartedly humorous story about your younger self that also showcases how you’ve grown and changed over time can set the right tone for your entire essay.
Technique #2: intentional, eye-catching structure. The second technique is the way Renner uses a unique structure to bolster the tone and themes of their essay . The structure of your essay can have a major impact on how your ideas come across…so it’s important to give it just as much thought as the content of your essay!
For instance, Renner does a great job of using one-line paragraphs to create dramatic emphasis and to make clear transitions from one phase of the story to the next:
Suddenly the destination of my pickle car was clear.
Not only does the one-liner above signal that Renner is moving into a new phase of the narrative (their nanoparticle research experiences), it also tells the reader that this is a big moment in Renner’s story. It’s clear that Renner made a major discovery that changed the course of their goal pursuit and dream-chasing. Through structure, Renner conveys excitement and entices the reader to keep pushing forward to the next part of the story.
Technique #3: playing with syntax. The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. Most of the essay's written in standard English and uses grammatically correct sentences. However, at key moments, Renner emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences.
Even with moving frequently between hotels, AirBnB's, and students' apartments, I strangely reveled in the freedom I had to enjoy my surroundings and form new friendships with graduate school students from the lab. We explored The Inner Harbor at night, attended a concert together one weekend, and even got to watch the Orioles lose (to nobody's surprise). Ironically, it's through these new friendships I discovered something unexpected: what I truly love is sharing research.
In the examples above, Renner switches adeptly between long, flowing sentences and quippy, telegraphic ones. At the same time, Renner uses these different sentence lengths intentionally. As they describe their experiences in new places, they use longer sentences to immerse the reader in the sights, smells, and sounds of those experiences. And when it’s time to get a big, key idea across, Renner switches to a short, punchy sentence to stop the reader in their tracks.
The varying syntax and sentence lengths pull the reader into the narrative and set up crucial “aha” moments when it’s most important…which is a surefire way to make any college essay stand out.
All of these essays rely on connecting with the reader through a heartfelt, highly descriptive scene from the author's life. It can either be very dramatic (did you survive a plane crash?) or it can be completely mundane (did you finally beat your dad at Scrabble?). Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world.
Check out essays by authors like John Jeremiah Sullivan , Leslie Jamison , Hanif Abdurraqib , and Esmé Weijun Wang to get more examples of how to craft a compelling personal narrative.
#3: Start Early, Revise Often
Let me level with you: the best writing isn't writing at all. It's rewriting. And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. My advice is to write your first draft at least two months before your applications are due.
Let it sit for a few days untouched. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you've written. What's extra? What's missing? What is in the wrong place? What doesn't make sense? Don't be afraid to take it apart and rearrange sections. Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it!
For more editing tips, check out a style guide like Dreyer's English or Eats, Shoots & Leaves .
Interested in learning more about college essays? Check out our detailed breakdown of exactly how personal statements work in an application , some suggestions on what to avoid when writing your essay , and our guide to writing about your extracurricular activities .
Working on the rest of your application? Read what admissions officers wish applicants knew before applying .
Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:
The recommendations in this post are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links PrepScholar may receive a commission.
Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.
Student and Parent Forum
Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com , allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.
Ask a Question Below
Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!
Improve With Our Famous Guides
- For All Students
The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points
How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer
Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:
Score 800 on SAT Math
Score 800 on SAT Reading
Score 800 on SAT Writing
Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:
Score 600 on SAT Math
Score 600 on SAT Reading
Score 600 on SAT Writing
Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests
What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?
15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay
The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points
How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer
Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:
36 on ACT English
36 on ACT Math
36 on ACT Reading
36 on ACT Science
Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:
24 on ACT English
24 on ACT Math
24 on ACT Reading
24 on ACT Science
What ACT target score should you be aiming for?
ACT Vocabulary You Must Know
ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score
How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League
How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA
How to Write an Amazing College Essay
What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?
Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide
Should you retake your SAT or ACT?
When should you take the SAT or ACT?
Get the latest articles and test prep tips!
Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?
Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:
GRE Online Prep Blog
GMAT Online Prep Blog
TOEFL Online Prep Blog
Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”
- How to Write a College Essay
College admissions experts offer tips on selecting a topic as well as writing and editing the essay.
Students can go online to review essay requirements for the colleges they want to apply to, such as word limits and essay topics. Many students may start with the Common App, an application platform accepted by more than 900 schools. (Getty Images)
Not only is the college essay a place to showcase writing skills, it's one of the only parts of a college application where a student's voice can shine through.
Unlike test scores and transcripts, the college admissions essay offers students a chance to showcase their personality.
"The essays are important in part because this is a student's chance to really speak directly to the admissions office," says Adam Sapp, assistant vice president and director of admissions at Pomona College in California.
Prospective college students want their essay, sometimes called a personal statement, to make a good impression and boost their chances of being accepted, but they have only several hundred words to make that happen.
This can feel like a lot of pressure.
"I think this is the part of the application process that students are sometimes most challenged by," says Niki Barron, associate dean of admission at Hamilton College in New York, "because they're looking at a blank piece of paper and they don't know where to get started."
That pressure may be amplified as many colleges have gone test-optional in the past year, meaning that ACT and SAT scores will be considered if submitted but are not required. Other schools have gone test-blind and don't consider such scores at all. In the absence of test scores, some admissions experts have suggested that more attention will be paid to other parts of an application, such as the essay.
But just as each applicant is unique, so are college admissions policies and priorities.
"Being test optional hasn't changed how we use essays in our selection process, and I wouldn't say that the essay serves as a substitute for standardized test scores," Barron wrote in an email. "A student's academic preparation for our classroom experience is always front and center in our application review process."
Essay writing tips offered by experts emphasize the importance of being concise, coherent, congenial, honest and accurate. An applicant should also flex some intellectual muscle and include vivid details or anecdotes.
From brainstorming essay topics to editing the final draft, here's what students need to know about crafting a strong college essay.
Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a College Application Essay
- 1. Explore essay prompts and select a topic.
- 2. Start your college essay outline before jumping in.
- 3. Write the essay and leave time for multiple drafts.
- 4. Edit and proofread your essay.
- 5. Submit your essay.
Getting Started on the College Essay
A good time for students to begin working on their essays is the summer before senior year, experts say, when homework and extracurricular activities aren't taking up time and mental energy.
Starting early will also give students plenty of time to work through multiple drafts of an essay before college application deadlines, which can be as early as November for students applying for early decision or early action .
Students can go online to review essay requirements for the colleges they want to apply to, such as word limits and essay topics. Many students may start with the Common App , an application platform accepted by more than 900 schools.
In addition to the main essay, some colleges ask applicants to submit one or more additional writing samples. Students are often asked to explain why they are interested in a particular school or academic field in these supplemental essays , which tend to be shorter than the main essay.
Students will want to budget more time for the writing process if the schools they're applying to ask for supplemental essays.
"Most selective colleges will ask for more than one piece of writing. Don't spend all your time working on one long essay and then forget to devote energy to other parts of the application," Sapp says, noting there may be additional questions on an application requiring thoughtfully written responses.
How Long Should a College Essay Be?
Though the Common App – which students can submit to multiple colleges – notes that "there are no strict word limits" for its main essay, it suggests a cap of about 650 words.
"While we won't as a rule stop reading after 650 words, we cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention for as long as you'd hoped it would," the Common App website states.
The word count is much shorter for institution-specific supplemental essays, which are typically around 250 words.
How to Pick a College Essay Topic
The first and sometimes most daunting step in the essay writing process is figuring out what to write about.
There are usually several essay prompts to choose from on a college application. They tend to be broad, open-ended questions, giving students the freedom to write about a wide array of topics, Barron says.
The essay isn't a complete autobiography, notes Mimi Doe, co-founder of Top Tier Admissions, a Massachusetts-based advising company. "It's overwhelming to think of putting your whole life in one essay," she says.
Rather, experts say students should narrow their focus and write about a specific experience, hobby or quirk that reveals something personal, like how they think, what they value or what their strengths are. Students can also write about something that illustrates an aspect of their background. Even an essay on a common topic can be compelling if done right.
Students don't have to discuss a major achievement in their essay, a common misconception. Admissions officers who spoke with U.S. News cited memorable essays that focused on more ordinary topics, including fly-fishing, a student's commute to and from school and a family's dining room table.
What's most important, experts say, is that a college essay is thoughtful and tells a story that offers insight into who a student is as a person.
So, no matter what topic students choose, they'll ultimately be writing about themselves, says Ethan Sawyer, founder of the College Essay Guy website, which offers free and paid essay-writing resources. "What we think of as the topic is just the frame or the lens that we're using to get into other parts of you."
If students are having trouble brainstorming potential topics , they can ask friends or family members for help, says Stephanie Klein Wassink, founder of Winning Applications and AdmissionsCheckup, Connecticut-based college admissions advising companies. Wassink says students can ask peers or family members questions such as, "What do you think differentiates me?" Or, "What are my quirks?"
The essay should tell college admissions officers something they don't already know, experts say. Students should ensure they're writing about something that isn't mentioned elsewhere in their application, perhaps in the activities section, or expand greatly on the topic if it is noted elsewhere.
Writing the College Essay
Some experts encourage students to outline their essay before jumping into the actual writing.
But there isn't one correct way of doing things, says Sara Newhouse, senior consultant at Enrollment Research Associates and former vice president for admission and financial planning at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama.
"Your writing process is your own," she says. Newhouse encourages students to use whatever process worked for them in the past when they completed writing assignments for English and other high school classes.
The first draft of an essay doesn't need to be perfect. "Just do a brain dump," Doe says. "Don't edit yourself, just lay it all out on the page."
If students are having a hard time getting started, they should focus on their opening sentence, Doe suggests. She says an essay's opening sentence, or hook, should grab the reader's attention.
Doe offered an example of a strong hook from the essay of a student she worked with:
"I first got into politics the day the cafeteria outlawed creamed corn."
"I want to know about this kid," she says. "I’m interested."
But Sawyer cautions that students shouldn't get so caught up in writing the perfect hook that they neglect the rest of their essay. He also says he's read some essays that were excellent overall, even though they had what he would consider mundane hooks.
Editing and Submitting the College Essay
While admissions officers try to learn about students via the essay, they are also gauging writing skills, so students want to make sure they submit top-notch work.
"The best writing is rewriting," Sapp says. "You should never be giving me your first draft."
When reviewing a first essay draft, students should make sure their writing is showing, not telling, Doe says. This means students should show their readers examples that prove they embody certain traits or beliefs, as opposed to just stating that they do.
After editing their essay, students should seek outside editing help, experts recommend. While there are individuals and companies that offer paid essay help – from editing services to essay-writing boot camps – students and families may not be able to afford the associated fees.
However, there may be options to defray the costs. Sawyer, for example, says he offers scholarships to students from low-income families that cover the cost of one-on-one essay consultations.
The availability of and level of feedback from free essay advising services vary. Some college prep companies offer brief consultations at no charge. Free essay workshops may also be available through local high schools, public libraries or community organizations. Khan Academy, a free online education platform, also offers a series of videos and other content to guide students through the essay writing process.
Colleges themselves may also have resources, Barron notes, pointing to pages on Hamilton's website that offer writing tips as well as examples of successful admissions essays. Likewise, Hamilton also holds virtual panel discussions on writing admissions essays.
Students have other options when it comes to essay help. They can ask peers, teachers, school counselors and family members for help polishing an essay.
Newhouse says it works well to have other people proofread an essay in two stages. The first stage focuses on content. Readers should look for information gaps in the essay – anything they are confused about. Once the content is nailed down, the second proofing stage focuses on style, including grammar, punctuation and spelling.
But proofreaders should not change the tone of the essay. "Don't let anyone edit out your voice," Doe cautions.
And while proofreading is fair game, having someone else rewrite your essay is not.
When an essay is ready to go, students will generally submit it online along with the rest of their application. On the Common App, for example, students copy and paste their essay into a text box.
Sapp says even though students often stress about the essay in particular, it's not the only thing college admissions officers look at. "The essay is the window, but the application is the house," he says. "So let's not forget that an application is built of many pieces."
Strong College Essay Examples
Below are two examples of strong essays written by students accepted into Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
"This is a personal statement, so what works in these essays works because of who the student is and how it fits into the rest of his or her application," notes Ellen Kim, dean of undergraduate admissions at Johns Hopkins.
Hover over the circles along the sides of the letters to read more about what worked.
Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of Best Colleges.
10 Ways to Discover College Essay Ideas
- See College Essay Examples
- Colleges Weigh in on Common Essay Topics
- College Supplemental Essay Tips
- Read 2 Transfer Essays That Worked
Tags: education , colleges , college admissions , college applications , students
2022-2023 Best Colleges
Search for your perfect fit with the U.S. News rankings of colleges and universities.
College Admissions: Get a Step Ahead!
Ask an Alum: Making the Most Out of College
You May Also Like
What to know about new ncaa nil rules.
Cole Claybourn March 2, 2023
Facts About the Work-Study Program
Sarah Wood March 2, 2023
Intersection of Business, Human Rights
Sarah Wood March 1, 2023
College Scholarships for Your Hobbies
Cole Claybourn Feb. 27, 2023
Online Programs With Diverse Faculty
Sarah Wood Feb. 24, 2023
Avoid These 7 Scholarship Mistakes
Sarah Wood Feb. 21, 2023
Networking While You're in College
Jackson Nimesheim Feb. 21, 2023
Teacher Training for High Schoolers
Kate Rix Feb. 16, 2023
How to Perform Well on SAT, ACT Test Day
Cole Claybourn Feb. 16, 2023
High School Mistakes to Avoid
Anayat Durrani Feb. 15, 2023
there’s nothing worse than thinking of a good idea for an essay when you already applied
I just thought of a great essay idea for Cornell. And I literally didn’t apply to Cornell because I hated every draft I wrote for their fat supplemental 💀
not the same but when I submitted my first application after multiple readings, I thought of a better ending for my personal statement MINUTES later 😭 changed it for my other applications
I liked that it was just one essay..not like 3 or 4 painful ones.
Please be careful of plagiarism when asking for essay reviews. Do not publicly post your essays and be cautious of who you’re sharing your essays with.
I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.
Hey there, I'm a bot and something you said made me think you might be looking for help!
It sounds like your post is related to essays — please check the A2C Wiki Page on Essays for a list of resources related to essay topics, tips & tricks, and editing advice. You can also go to the r/CollegeEssays subreddit for a sub focused exclusively on essays.
Ranked by Size
Best 160 Engaging College Essay Topics for Academic Writing
Table of Contents
Engaging College Essay Topics
Are you seeking the best essay topics for college applications? Do you want to submit an impressive assignment on any interesting college essay topics? If yes, then this blog post is for you.
Essay writing is one of the best ways to showcase your writing skills. Generally, when applying for higher education, some colleges or universities will ask you to write a persuasive essay about yourself or any college essay topics as a part of their college application process. Other than the college application, as a part of the academic education, some faculty may ask you to complete college essay writing assignments. So, if you are a college student, then you can’t escape from essay writing.
For writing a good essay or an article, the first and foremost thing that you need is an essay topic. At times you will be provided with a list of college essay topics for your college application or assignment, and sometimes you will be givenan option to choose the impressive college essay topics of your choice.
If you want to select an essay topic on your own, then, first, you need to gather a wide range of college essay topic ideas, and then you need to identify the best essay topic of your choice from them. More than writing an essay, searching for college essay topic ideas is a tiresome process. So, in order to make your college essay topic searching process easier, here in this blog post, we have compiled a list of the best college essay topics that you can consider for essay writing assignments or college application essay writing.
Also, Read – How to Write an Informative Essay?
Essay Topics for College Application
- Why have you chosen this university/college/course?
- A book that you love the most.
- Share your personal story.
- What difference do you want to make in the world?
- Write about an extracurricular activity that is meaningful to you.
- Narrate an important moment in your life.
- What motivates you?
- The lessons learned from your success or failure.
- Describe a person you admire.
- Write about the challenges you faced in life.
Unique College Essay Topics
- As an individual, how are you helping the world?
- How will you navigate your identity as a multiracial, multi-ethnic or multilingual person?
- Discuss a family tradition that embarrasses you.
- Who is your role model?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 or 20 years?
- As a female, how will you handle a male-dominated field?
- Has discrimination affected you?
- Advice you would give to your younger self about friendship.
- How do you define home?
- How did you overcome the particular anxiety or phobia you had?
Creative College Essay Topics
- How can an average person help orphans without spending money?
- Choosing the right idols for teenagers to encourage positive lifestyle changes.
- What is your career plan after your college graduation?
- Describe an experience that forever changed your life and your outlook on life.
- If you were given the ability to change one moment in your life, would you do so? Why or why not?
- Describe the most unique or special skill that differentiates you from everyone else.
- What are your long-term goals in life?
- If you were given a chance to travel back in time to any period in history, where would you head to and why?
- Banning social media: can it be a solution to reduce suicides?
- How to make students more responsible?
Descriptive Essay Topics for College Level
- Describe yourself to someone who has never met you.
- Describe your favorite piece of furniture where you like to spend time and relax.
- Describe a place that exists only in your imagination.
- Describe one of your most embarrassing moments.
- Describe your lucky object.
- Describe a time that you felt scared.
- Describe a haunted place you know.
- Describe your perfect fantasy vacation destination.
- Describe what the first house on the moon would look like.
- Describe the strangest person you’ve ever met.
- Describe the first time you met one of your friends.
- Describe a famous person that you would like to meet.
- Describe any help that you have received from a stranger.
- Describe a place where your pet likes spending time.
- Describe a person you envy.
See Also – What is descriptive writing? Tips and Tricks for Descriptive writing
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students
- Compare and contrast life as an elderly person with life as a small child.
- Traditional Education or Remote Learning
- Coffee or tea
- Driving a car or riding a bus
- Camping in the woods versus resting by the sea
- Feeling sad versus feeling lonely
- Living in a big city or staying in a village
- Fascism and Nazism: Are These Two Concepts Different or the Same?
- Gender Issues: Different Mental Processes of Females and Males.
- Which is harder: living up to other people’s expectations or following your own dreams?
- Compare and contrast home-schooling with public school.
- Is being a freelancer a good alternative to being a Full-time Employee?
- Which is easier: being a boy or being a girl?
- Anthropology versus Religious studies
- Compare and contrast the importance of speaking well versus listening well.
Proposal Essay Topics for College Students
- Paid internships as a solution for youth unemployment.
- How should corporate companies reward employees, apart from paying money?
- Should children in high school learn religious studies as a part of the curriculum?
- How to reduce the rates of underemployment?
- How to teach kids about winning and losing in sports and life?
- How to eliminate the erosion of trust in business for good?
- Financial education should come to children from parents.
- What should an individual do to combat global climate change?
- How to spot and interpret social media dishonesty?
- The best methods for handling manipulative people.
- In what ways does the educational process depend on both students and teachers?
- Can money motivate you to work better?
- How to cultivate the most productive sleep pattern for your needs?
- How to get out of a bad friendship?
- How can teachers make classes more fun and increase student engagement?
Popular College Essay Topics
- How do you handle bullying in schools?
- An example of a rebellion from your life.
- Cats vs. dogs: which ones make better pets?
- What historical event do you think was the most important?
- Explain why tolerance in the workplace is crucial.
- E-commerce strategies for the attraction of new customers.
- Global Warming: Is it real or is it propaganda?
- Does traveling help you to love languages?
- What is Instagram doing to modern photography?
- Types of Social Evils in Poorly Developed Countries.
- Should more rights be given to immigrants?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Globalization
- To Be a Politician: Art or Talent?
- A negative example of cowardice.
- How does “fake news” change political and social life?
Interesting College Essay Topics
- How to lower the divorce rate through matchmaking?
- How teachers can use more artistic supporting materials in class?
- Describe the intellectual challenges you would like to solve.
- Successful people without formal education.
- What is the best way to raise respectful teenagers?
- Effective ways of saving money.
- High school graduates should take a year off before entering college.
- Animal characteristics in people.
- What is more critical: wealth or happiness?
- In what ways can more self-confidence improve your life?
- Participating in team sports helps to develop good character.
- The best advice you have received in your life.
- Choose the invention that you think has had the most negative impact on our world and explain why you chose that invention.
- How do you leave your comfort zone?
- Pick a quote that describes a lot about you, and explain why you connect with it.
Fabulous College Essay Topics
- How much does freedom matter in your life?
- How much money do you need for happiness?
- What book would you recommend to everyone?
- What does your ethnic identity mean to you?
- What impact do sports have in your life?
- Is it important to be crazy about fashion?
- How are you unique?
- Tell a story that directly or indirectly illustrates the type of person you are.
- Does listening to music help you complete your homework faster?
- Your attitude towards getting a tattoo.
Top Grade Engaging College Essay
- Tell us about the best advice you’ve ever received, who gave it to you, and whether or not you followed it.
- Write about how a particular activity (sports, theatre, band, etc.) has influenced your life.
- If you could spend an hour with any person, living or dead, who would it be and what would you say to them?
- What subject would you teach if you were to teach a class?
- Tell us about a “Eureka” moment you had and what triggered it.
- Write an essay about a time when you had to be courageous or stand up for something you believed in.
- What irritates you? What are you doing about it, or what have you done?
- What would you change if you could change one day in your life? Why?
- Discuss a personal achievement that is unrelated to academics but means a lot to you.
- Where would you go if you could time travel to any time and place?
- What would you say to a new high school student if you could give them any advice?
- What would you do if you could prevent one invention from being invented?
- Why are you interested in attending this college/university?
- Choose a law and explain why it is significant to you.
- What do you want people to know about you but are too shy to tell them?
Trending College Essay Topics for Students
- An instance in which you attempted to handle a challenging circumstance at school while you were working as an intern or a part-time job
- the procedures you followed to find and fix a programming fault on software or website.
- the benefits of choosing a particular program or academic major in order to further your education or advance your career.
- What kind of tools or facilities on campus are you looking forward to using?
- a situation in which you interacted favorably and fondly with professors or students at your school.
- Your suggested club’s goal would be to increase public awareness of a significant problem.
- a fascinating study abroad opportunity or comparable event that you are truly looking forward to.
- A statement made to you once that made you realize you were mistaken.
- films that drew your attention to a social, economic, or political issue taking place in your nation or the world.
- What advise would you give yourself regarding friendship, drive, school, etc.?
College essay topics for Assignment:
- Choosing local farmers over large international supermarket chains in order to encourage the growth of small companies.
- How can the decline in business trust be stopped for good?
- Internships that are paid as a way to combat young unemployment.
- Parents should teach their children about money.
- How can underemployment rates be lowered?
- When a customer discovers a manufacturer is lying, what should they do?
- What actions can the typical person do to stop climate change? What action can the government take?
- You must alter yourself if you want to change the world. Can you do something to protect the environment?
- Think about a time when you had to choose between taking a chance and playing it safe. Which option did you choose? What resulted from your decision?
- Describe some of the non-academic jobs you have completed during the last two years.
College Essay topics for Academic Writings:
- What do you do to simplify people’s life, and do you create tools like apps or other software to do this?
- An instance in which you attempted to handle a challenging circumstance at school when you were working as an intern or a part-time job
- the procedures you used to find and fix a programming fault on a software or website.
- the benefits of choosing a certain program or academic major in order to further your education or advance your career.
- What type of tools or facilities on campus are you looking forward to using?
- A program you might implement at your college to address a well-known issue, like the extreme amount of trash on campus.
- A situation in which you served as a mediator between two parties.
From the list of college essay topics suggested in this blog post, you can pick any topic that is convenient for you to express your thoughts and ideas. Remember, when you choose an essay topic for your college application, avoid selecting topics on controversies, humor, tragedy, etc. because these topics may spoil the impression that your readers have on you.
Sometimes the essay topic that is exciting for you will not persuade your faculty or the admission panel. Also, sometimes the topic that you are confident about will not help you to get top scores. So, always be careful when you are selecting college essay topics because it adds more value to you than your content.
If you are not sure what topic to choose or if you have no idea how to write an engaging college essay, then contact us and get instant high-quality assistance on academic essay writing service . We have a team of professional writers to help you in writing a persuasive essay for your assignment or college application on any topic.
150 Outstanding Big Data Research Topics for Every Student to Explore
198 Captivating Social Issues Topics for Essay or Research Paper
146 Best Geology Research Topics for Academic Writing
Comments are closed.
- Featured Posts
Top 140 Bioethics Topics To Consider For Writing a Research Paper
160 excellent business essay topics and ideas to focus on, how to write a reflective essay, different types of essay formats- mla, apa, and chicago, apa vs. mla: learn the major differences between the citation styles, top 152 cybercrime research topics for students to consider, an understanding of the language features and structural features, 150+ fabulous criminology dissertation ideas for you to consider, 153 fantastic narrative essay topics for you to explore and consider, 100 motivational quotes for students to succeed in academic life, get help instantly.
Raise Your Grades with Great Assignment Help
A List of 120+ Good College Essay Topics
Good college essay topics can be very subjective. What is good and meaningful to you will not be to another person. You may not understand why a college has set a particular topic for their essay. That’s fine. You still need to write it. This article contains a number of different essays you will come across in your college career. Each section will have a number of different essay topics listed in it. These college essay ideas will hopefully give you some topic of expectations surrounding the essays you will need to write.
If you have already found a proper topic for your next college essay then you might ask EssayZoo to write it for you. We provide essays for sale for our first-time clients with a satisfaction guarantee.
College Application Essays Topics
Problem-solution essay topics for college students, unique college essay topics, choose the best college essay topic in 2021, creative college essay topics, interesting college essay topics, process essay topics for college, descriptive essay topics for college students, proposal essay topics for college students, college level compare and contrast essay topics, college essay topics to avoid.
Here are some good college admission essays topics:
- Share your story . This is possibly the most essential topic for a college essay. Sharing about yourself serves several purposes, including whether or not you can write well!
- Learning from obstacles . It will show people who are you are as a person.
- Challenging a belief . Can you think outside the box correctly?
- Solving a Problem . It shows that you can apply critical thinking skills
- Personal growth . What happened to make you who you are today?
- What captivates you ? It gives people some background into who you are
- The topic of your choice . It shows your creativity in writing essays and thinking
- Why do you want to attend this school ? It is one that often crops up. You will need to impress people with what you write!
- What is a book you love ? It is a good essay since you are bound to be able to give a good answer!
- What is an extra-curricular activity that is meaningful to you ? This essay will show that you are more than just college work.
Here are some excellent essay topics for college students wanting to show off their problem solving:
- Stricter measures should be enforced for offenders
- Students should get a constant orientation on how to say ‘No.’
- Intensified screening for newly-employed teachers in the sector
- Better enforcement of security
- Teaching self-defense
- Ban on gun possession in American schools
- A more individualized approach to working with every student
- Creating time and space for additional explanations
- Reviewing results per session and finding new ways to get students into understanding the subject
- Topic on educating learners about dangers of bullying
- Working with parents to keep children on the best behavior
- Discouraging any form of bullying, no matter how insignificant
- Additional training for teachers before they commence teaching
- Regular assessment to be completed by all teachers
- Educating teachers on knowing their teaching strengths
- Encouraging teachers to initiate home visits to affected students
- Stimulating parents to take an active part in their children’s studies. They should also be accommodating to teachers who need to make home visits
- Creating attractive incentives that will motivate students to attend classes regularly
- Choosing fewer problematic jobs that allow one more availability at home
- Going to the games with your kids; cheering and supporting their efforts
- Putting away all one is doing at a particular time to answer any doubts the kids might have
- Someone within your community whom you aspire to emulate
- A family tradition you used to be embarrassed about but are now proud of
- Your experience with learning English upon moving to the United States
- A close friend in the LGBTQ+ community who supported you when you came out
- A time you were discriminated against, how you reacted, and what you would do differently if faced with the same situation again
- How you navigate your identity as a multiracial, multiethnic, and/or multilingual person
- A project or volunteer effort you led to help or improve your community
- A particular celebrity or role model who inspired you to come out as LGBTQ+
- A program you implemented at your school in response to a known problem, such as a lack of recycling cans in the cafeteria
- Your biggest challenge (and how you plan to tackle it) as a female in a male-dominated field
If you want to be topics, here are some of the top college application essay ideas of the moment:
- Students worldwide have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your designs.
If you want to be creative, here are some creative college essay topics:
- Describe an experience where you were unsuccessful in achieving your goal . What lessons did you learn from this experience?
- Cleaning marathons as a way to engage citizens in keeping the neighborhoods clean.
- Safe driving educational materials as a preventive measure.
- Is there a way to make students more socially responsible?
- How can an average person help orphans without spending money?
- The ways of promoting subcultures but managing their activities.
- Banning social media: can it be a solution to reduce suicides ?
- Knowing what you are buying or how not to let advertisements catch you?
- Choosing the right idols for teenagers to encourage positive lifestyle changes.
- How to support single-parent families in times of need?
- Changing your social connections list to reduce body shaming.
- Brainstorm a situation in your life where you had to decide between taking a risk and playing it safe. Which choice did you make? What was the outcome of your choice?
- What movie, poem, musical composition, or novel has most influenced your life and the way that you view the world? Why?
- Describe an experience that forever changed your life and your outlook on life.
- Why have you chosen to spend the next four years of your life in college?
- What do you plan on doing after you graduate from college?
- As of right now, what do you see as your long-term goals in life ?
- If you were given the ability to change one moment in your life, would you do so? Why or why not?
- Presuming there was only one open admission spot remaining, why should this college choose to accept your application and not that of another student?
- What would you describe to be the most unique or special skill that differentiates you from everyone else?
- Describe some tasks that you have accomplished over the past two years that have no connection to academic studies.
- If you had the chance to have a 30-minute conversation with any person in human history (either living or deceased), who would be the person you choose? Why? What topics would you discuss with this person?
- If you could be any animal in recorded history, what animal would you choose? Why?
- If you were given the capability to travel back in time to any period in history, where would you head to and why?
Here are some of the most common college essay topics:
- What historical event do you think was the most important?
- How can a Palestinian hunger strike bring change?
- Outsourcing as a solution for backup business activities.
- Corporate culture transformations needed for effective mergers.
- Training programs for effective assimilation of new employees.
- Feedback about performance for retention of valuable employees.
- E-commerce strategies for the attraction of new customers.
- Lessons from the Hajj I went on
- How do you define home?
- My Little Pony is not just for little girls
- What is Instagram doing to modern photography?
- Does traveling help you love languages?
- What taught you respect for family?
Here are some college-level essay topics:
- How to lose weight on a keto diet
- How your immune system fights COVID-19
- How to start selling on Amazon
- How to improve your credit score
- How to decrease your social media usage
- How to apply for unemployment insurance
- How to improve your college performance
- How to open your first bank account
Here are some excellent essay topics for college for descriptive essays:
- Give a tour of one room in your house by describing the most important objects in that room
- Describe one of your favorite outfits
- Describe a place that is special, either in memories or in the present
- Describe your favorite toy as a child
- Describe your favorite place as a child
- Describe your favorite cafe
- Describe a lucky object
- Describe your favorite piece of art
- Describe the first time you rode a bicycle
- Describe a happy memory
- Describe the strangest person you’ve ever met
- Describe a person you envy
- Describe an inspiring friend or family member
- Describe a haunted place you know
- Describe how you get around
- Describe your favorite piece of furniture where you like to spend time and relax
If you need to write a proposal, here are the best topics for college essays:
- How can small businesses recover quickly after economic crises?
- Preferring local farmers to the international grocery chains to support the development of small businesses.
- How to eliminate the erosion of trust in business for good?
- Paid internships as a solution for youth unemployment.
- Financial education should come to children from parents.
- How to reduce the rates of underemployment?
- What should a consumer do when they notice the producer lying?
- What can the average person do to combat global climate change? What can the government do?
- To change the world you have to change yourself. What can you do to help the environment?
- Should animal exploitation by the dairy and meat industries be banned? Is veganism the only way to protect animal rights?
Remember that this particular subject may not go down well during the college application process!
Here are good essay topics for college for compare and contrast essays:
- Modern living as compared to the 19th century
- The Roman Empire as compared to the Egyptian empire
- Comparison of Lincoln’s and Washington’ Ideas
- Renaissance vs. Baroque Epoch
- Anthropology vs. Religious Studies
- American Government vs. Soviet Government
- US President vs. UK Prime Minister
- North and South Before the Civil War in the US
- Henry VIII vs. King Louis XIV
- Medicine in Ancient China vs. ancient Greece
- Feng Shui vs. Vaastu Shastra
- Coffee and Tea: The Effects of Both
- Living in a Big City or Staying in a Village
- Driving a Car or Riding a Bus
- Feeling Sad versus Feeling Lonely
- Differences and Similarities between American and British Traditional Dishes
- Camping in the Woods or Resting by the Sea?
- The welfare programs run by Canada vs. the US
- Singaporean government as compared to the Chinese government
- The Korean Border vs. the Mexican-US border
- The liberalism of the classic kind vs. the modern kind
This final topic would be a perfect topic for a college essay
There are always bad college essay topics that you shouldn’t choose. Read on for a list:
A Summary of Your Accomplishments
The plain fact of the matter is, you don’t need to make your essay into a summary of your accomplishments. If you are writing this as a college application essay, the information is already freely available. A college application essay is there to show your writing skills. If you simply go through the news again, it gives the impression that you have nothing else to say. It will reflect poorly on your application as a result. Try and avoid anything which might make you seem overly focused on that one thing you have done.
Highly Polarized or Sensitive Topics
These topics should be avoided whenever possible! These topics just have so much emotion in them that it is impossible to give them a fair hearing. If you are in college, try and find something else to write about. If you are applying for college, definitely find something else to talk about! Your goal here is to get into college, not inflame opinions or offend people. You never know who might be reading your work! You may think that using a sensitive topic will make you stand out and get you noticed, but it rarely works out.
Essays work best when they have a small number of viewpoints to choose from. Unless you study a subject surrounding the sport, it is best to avoid talking about sports in essays. It could almost be considered a separate category of highly polarized or sensitive topics. Sports, in general, are highly divisive by their very nature. How do you know what other people like or don’t like? At worst, you will offend them, and at best, you will bore them with your essay. An essay that bores people is unlikely to get you high marks or an acceptance letter.
Humour is a lot like sport. It is very subject, and that makes it a complex subject to write about. Humour is difficult to write about because what is funny changes so rapidly. It also changes across cultures and requires a basic level of knowledge about what you are joking about. So much goes into humor that any essay you attempted to write would be a very complicated one. Pieces typically have a maximum word count. You would most likely end up at that word count when you were only halfway through what you wanted to say!
Why You’re So Lucky
It is a subject to stay away from, mainly because it would annoy most people who read it. It is much like summarizing your accomplishments. Nobody wants to see it in an essay, and if they do see it, they will wonder if you have anything else to offer. Think about what this essay is saying. You are writing about the opportunities you have that other people maybe didn’t. You are talking about how you had a better chance than many others. Is that an essay you would want to read? Maybe not.
Volunteer Experiences and Trips
Volunteer experience and trips are topics to avoid in college essays, simply because it is so overdone. Everyone tries to pad their applications and resumes with these experiences because they can make you seem like a better and more well-rounded person. If you write an essay on this subject, you will just blend into the crowd of people who do this. Ironically, while many people try and use volunteer experience and trip to stand out, they all do similar trips and experiences. So they end up sounding the same as each other anyway.
Make sure you remember this because it is vitally important. Sometimes you might be explicitly told that you can work on any kind of assignment you want. If you aren’t told this, don’t hand in anything other than an essay! It is hugely important. People don’t usually look kindly on students who think they can defy the rules like this. Colleges typically have stringent rules about what an essay is and what can go into it. Don’t go for any self-expression here. You will get a lot more marks and goodwill by doing what you are told.
Illegal or Illicit Behaviour
This one shouldn’t need any explanations. Illegal or illicit behavior is criminal and unlawful. At best, your chosen college will take action against you somehow (either by refusing your application or by taking disciplinary action against you). At worst, you will be arrested. Nobody will be impressed by your illegal activity. It might seem brave and exciting to you, but you are automatically a liability to everybody around you. No college will look kindly on that or you. Keep the illegal and illicit behavior to yourself when it comes to writing essays.
The Most Important [Person, Place, Thing] in My Life
You might think that writing about the most important person, thing, or place in your life would make you stand out. Especially when it comes to people, you will always be unique, won’t you? You might think this would be the case, but think of how many other people will have the same thought. Everyone wants to write about a particular person in their life because they are unique. And while the person involved may be excellent, the essays are not. Think before you go down this essay writing path!
Writing about a tragedy has the same problems as writing about the most crucial person in your life. A disaster may be unique to everyone who writes about it, but the essays are not uncommon. People can get bored very quickly when they read endless cookie-cutter reports about these things. While it may seem blunt, remember this. A tragedy and its aftermath will be meaningful to you. That does not necessarily translate to it being meaningful to other people. Remember that people have different standards of what constitutes pain. Something might be deeply painful to you, but not have the same emotional weight as another person.
- ➡️ Process Analysis Essay Ideas
- ➡️ Evaluation Essays Examples
- ➡️ Critical Thinking Paper Topics
- ➡️ Fun Cause And Effect Essay Topics
- ➡️ Classification Essay Topics Examples
- ➡️ Topics For A Proposal Essay
- ➡️ Funny Satire Topics You Can Write About Today
- ➡️ Problem Solution Essay Topics For College Students
- ➡️ Topics For A Descriptive Essay
- ➡️ Informative Topics To Write About
- ➡️ Good Compare Contrast Topics
- ➡️ Topics For A Definition Essay
- ➡️ Topics For Personal Essays Worth Your Attention
- ➡️ Controversial Topics For Argumentative Essay
- ➡️ Topics For A Persuasive Essay
- ➡️ Interesting Argumentative Essay Topics
3 thoughts on “ A List of 120+ Good College Essay Topics ”
The college essay topics you have shared here are useful and fantastic. I was looking for this kind of topic ideas. I am thankful a lot.
We hope that the article helped you to solve your issue.
Pingback: college essay topics – Priority Articles
Comments are closed.
Essay Writing Guide
Last updated on: Feb 8, 2023
Essay Topics: 100+ Best Essay Topics for your Guidance
By: Nova A.
14 min read
Reviewed By: Rylee W.
Published on: Jan 29, 2019
Let’s face it, essay writing can be tedious and boring. Spending hours to write a good essay is difficult, and brainstorming essay topic ideas can be even more confusing.
This is what makes writing essays difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, you can learn essay writing with practice and by following some good examples. But before that, you should know how to choose a good and engaging topic for your essay.
To help you get started, we have categorized a list of a number of different types of essay topic lists.
On this Page
Argumentative Essay Topics
An argumentative essay investigates a topic in great detail, forms an argument over it, and defends it using supporting data.
Below are some good argumentative essay topic ideas to help you draft winning essays.
- School students should be allowed to curate their high school curriculum.
- The role of physical education in the school system.
- Should the death sentence be implemented globally?
- It should be illegal to use certain types of animals for experiments and other research purposes.
- Should the government do more to improve accessibility for people with physical disabilities?
- Do people learn the art of becoming a politician, or are they born with it?
- Social media platform owners should monitor and block comments containing hateful language.
- Does technology play a role in making people feel more isolated?
- Will there ever be a time when there will be no further technological advancements?
- It should be illegal to produce and sell tobacco.
- Girls should be motivated to take part in sports.
- Rape victims should abort their unborn children.
- Fathers should get equal paternity leave.
- Do teenagers get into trouble because they are bored?
- Individuals who have failed at parenting should be punished.
- Vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
- Covid-19 vaccination has more cons than pros.
- Social media is the real cause of teenage depression.
- Is the American education system perfect for society?
- Recycling should be made compulsory.
Choosing a strong topic is key to writing a great essay. Have a look at our blog to select good argumentative essay topics to impress the audience.
Persuasive Essay Topics
A persuasive essay is similar to an argumentative paper. However, in it, the writer wants to convince the readers of their point of view. Simple essay topics would make better essays as they help the students stay focused.
Below is a list of some good persuasive essay topics for you:
- Energy drinks should be banned in schools and colleges.
- Gambling should be banned in the United States.
- Should abortions be banned worldwide?
- Hunting is an immoral act.
- Is it okay to use animals in a circus?
- Harmful dogs should be euthanized.
- Cell phones should not be allowed in schools.
- Teachers should pass a professional exam, just like students.
- Schools should reduce the workload on students.
- Sex education should be mandatory in high schools.
- Vlogging isn’t an actual profession.
- Is LinkedIn helpful for finding a job?
- Social media has played a big role in increasing business opportunities.
- Is Java becoming obsolete?
- Should employers go through the candidate’s social media profiles?
- Animal testing should be banned.
- Violent video games should be banned.
- Parents with mental disabilities should not be allowed to adopt children.
- Alcohol consumption should be legalized in Muslim countries.
- Every person should get Covid-19 vaccination.
For your help, we have gathered a wide range of persuasive essay topics . Give it a read.
Descriptive Essay Topics
A descriptive essay describes a specific thing by using sensory data. It is done to engage the reader’s five senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight).
The following is a list of descriptive essay topic ideas for the students.
- The person who is responsible for making a difference in my life.
- Describe a smartphone and its benefits to someone from the ‘60s.
- The most interesting piece of art I have ever seen.
- Describe the experience of falling in love.
- What does a place that only exists in your imagination look like?
- Describe meeting a famous person.
- Describe yourself and your personality to a stranger.
- What will life be like in 2050?
- An experience that changed my life forever.
- Your idea of the perfect day.
- My first trip abroad.
- The most significant event in American History.
- A popular book series that disappointed you.
- A look into my daily life.
- A day in the life of an ER doctor.
- A trip to the museum.
- The most interesting movie I watched during my summer vacation.
- My favorite childhood memory.
- An incident that changed my life.
- An incident that restored my faith in humanity.
Here are some more descriptive essay topics to help you find a good idea for your essay.
Narrative Essay Topics
In a narrative essay, your goal is to share a personal experience by telling a story. This creative form of writing depends on how strong and exciting the theme is. The article topics for students given here are carefully curated and would help the students do good in their essays.
Some examples and topics of narrative topic ideas are presented below.
- The experience that taught me how looks could be deceiving.
- A week without internet and technology.
- The impact your first love had on your life.
- How much did your teachers contribute to making you the person you are today?
- An experience that made you realize your parents were or weren’t always right.
- A moment when someone you didn’t like surprised you with kindness.
- The influence technology has had on your hobbies and life.
- An achievement outside of academic life?
- Which school lesson had the biggest influence on your life?
- A day when you fought procrastination.
- The time you faced rejection.
- The time when you stood against your parents.
- An experience that left you helpless.
- The time you prayed to be an only child.
- An act of kindness you can never forget.
- Death of a loved one.
- Your biggest pet peeve.
- Your definition of a perfect weekend.
- The things you regret most in life.
- Your first experience of an air trip.
Choosing interesting narrative essay topics is essential to make the content compelling for the readers.
Research Essay Topics
While writing a research essay, the most crucial step is choosing a topic for your essay. Select a topic that is broad enough to compose an entire research essay on it.
Below are some of the best topics for your research essay.
- Effects of violent cartoons on children.
- Should universities provide accommodations to disabled students?
- Events and experiences I agree are causing the increase in terrorism.
- How do technology and gadgets affect the studies of children?
- Do children who attend preschool do better in school?
- Universities are becoming business-driven.
- Does college debt affect the future lives of students?
- Why has the divorce rate changed in the past decade?
- Schools should allow the use of smartphones in school.
- Effective ways to decrease depression among our youth.
- Analyze the relationship between the United States of America and North Korea.
- Why did the UK decide to leave the EU?
- Is it true that students learn better in a same-sex school?
- How does giving kids different gadgets affect their studies?
- Compare the immigration policies of two different countries.
- Events that lead to World War I.
- Pros and cons of studying abroad.
- How has Covid-19 influenced the education system of the world?
- Individual acts that lead to Global Warming.
- Effectiveness of the policies made to control Covid-19.
Looking for more? We have an extensive range of research essay topics to make the audience fall in love with your work.
Expository Essay Topics
While writing an expository essay, you have to explain and clarify your topic clearly to the readers.
Below is a list of expository essay topics:
- Why do teenagers commit suicide?
- What is the impact of music on our youth?
- What are the consequences of skipping school?
- Why do teenagers use drugs?
- How can pets make you happy and improve your life?
- Consequences of having alcoholic drinks within a school campus.
- How does drug use affect relationships?
- Is global warming a cause of skin cancer?
- Is sodium bad for your health?
- What is the line between being overweight and being obese?
- Why do you want to pursue your desired career?
- Explain how advancements in science improve the quality of life for humans.
- What are some unconventional ways of relieving stress?
- If you could swap your lives with someone, who would it be and why?
- What are some major stress factors in a teenager’s life?
- Why is getting a degree important for job life?
- Pros and cons of getting financial aid.
- How emotional support animals help in treating mental conditions.
- How does prostitution influence society?
- The environmental causes of smoking.
5StarEssays.com has gathered an additional and extensive list of expository essay topics .
Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
In a compare and contrast essay, you evaluate and analyze the similarities and differences between the two subjects. Your reader must be able to form an opinion after weighing the pros and cons you have set forth.
Below are some topics for you to choose for your compare and contrast paper:
- Extroverts and introverts.
- Generation Y Vs. Generation Z.
- Traditional Helicopters Vs. Lifesize Drones.
- Unemployed students Vs. students with a part-time job.
- SAT and TOEFL.
- Persuasive and argumentative essays - How are they similar?
- How were the causes of World War I different from the causes of World War II?
- Education vs. professional career: what is more difficult?
- Real-life or spending your time daydreaming.
- Consequences of earthquake and tsunami: what’s worse?
- Being popular in high school or alone?
- Part-time work or studying for a higher degree?
- Getting married at an old age or a young age?
- Fashion today Vs. twenty years ago.
- Donald Trump Vs. Hillary Clinton.
- Democracy Vs. Dictatorship
- Vietnam War Vs. War on Terror.
- Benefits of drinking tea Vs. coffee.
- Greek and Roman methodologies - Similarities and differences.
- Traditional Vs. distant learning.
Get more interesting compare and contrast essay topics at 5StarEssays.com to impress your instructors.
Cause and Effect Essay Topics
The cause and effect essay explains why something happens and what happens as a result of those happenings. A cause and effect essay is a type of expository essay.
Here are a few topics for your cause and effect essay:
- What are the causes of eating disorders?
- Effects of climate change and global warming.
- The effects of the Feminism movement.
- What are the causes of increasing depression among teenagers?
- What are the causes of suicidal thoughts?
- Is keeping a pet effective in calming your mind?
- How does divorce affects children?
- Why are men afraid of commitment?
- Effects of social media on youth.
- Has social media affected relationships among families?
- Discuss the effects of homeschooling on children.
- Causes of heart diseases.
- Causes of sibling rivalry.
- Cramming doesn't help improve test scores.
- Cause and effect of depression in the workplace.
- How do abusive parents influence the mental stability of a child?
- Causes and effects of bullying.
- Causes of obesity in teenagers.
- Effects of taking a balanced diet on health?
- Causes and effects of insomnia.
To get more ideas, visit our cause and effect essay topics that are remarkable and well-suited for a great essay.
Controversial Argumentative Essay Topics
Argumentative essay topics are quite popular assignments in universities. If you are a student searching for a captivating argumentative essay topic, here is a list of ideas you can consider.
- Third world war should be prevented by the Russian and US governments.
- Political policies and practices affecting students.
- Is gun control effective in reducing crime?
- Same-sex marriage and constitutional law.
- Is society over-regulated?
- Are leaders born or made?
- No one should be above the law.
- Monarchy: pros and cons.
- Rules on Political Activities by Federal Employees.
- The most corrupt countries in the world.
- Mercy killing should be legalized in all countries of the world.
- Death penalties should be abolished.
- Third-world countries should be provided with education plans by the developed countries.
- Muslims should not be labeled as terrorists.
- Illegal immigrants should be given equal rights.
- Abortions should be legalized.
- Live-in relationships should be encouraged.
- Professional athletes should be allowed to consume steroids.
- Should physical punishments be given to children?
- Smoking in public should be an offensive crime.
Funny Argumentative Essay Topics
Are you looking for some funny argumentative essay topics for your essay? If so, choose a topic from the following list.
- Why do people like watching funny videos?
- What your cat is really thinking.
- Why spam emails should be your favorite type of email.
- Why wearing braces is fun.
- School dropouts are the best in our society.
- Why I don't like country music.
- Types of dates.
- A better way to get things done.
- What organic food really is.
- Things guys do that girls hate.
- How to annoy your friend.
- Why do women pretend that they enjoy sports?
- Things preventing you from completing your homework in time.
- Funny things we see in wedding ceremonies.
- Why are spam emails more interesting?
- Why does Starbucks coffee taste better?
- Why are backbenchers smarter than other students?
- Clowns are scarier than funny.
- Should we be maintaining social distancing even after Covid-19?
- Why is watching movies better than reading books?
Informative Essay Topics for Students
Essay writing requires depth. However, you don’t have to choose a complex topic in middle school, high school, or college.
Here is a list of interesting essay topics for middle school, high school, and college students.
Essay Topics for College Students
- Virtual classes cannot replace the traditional class system.
- Advantages and disadvantages of online classes.
- Is there a need to reform the college education system?
- Assault weapons should not be legal.
- People with a history of mental illness should not be allowed to purchase firearms.
- The taxation system needs to be changed around the globe.
- Kids should not be the target audience in advertising.
- The number of calories should be mentioned with every meal.
- Feminists have effectively improved the workforce for women.
- Is the death penalty effective?
- How to identify fake news?
- How to maintain a healthy life?
- How to treat PTSD naturally?
- Should people be judged on their appearance?
- How is technology influencing the work performance of people?
- Private Vs. public schools
- How to choose majors in high school?
- Impact of legalizing drugs on society.
- Significance of learning social values.
- How to prevent bullying on campus?
Essay Topics for High School
- The choice to join the armed forces should be an individual decision.
- Listening to music can increase work efficiency.
- Being honest has more cons than pros.
- People who have been in an accident value life more than others.
- Embarrassing moments help boost your confidence.
- Kindness is the most valuable personal trait.
- Spontaneity can improve your life.
- Can hobbies help improve the richness of one’s life?
- Dressing properly in the office improves work efficiency
- Being organized can help in school as well as the office.
- Impact of homosexuality on society.
- What is feminism?
- How to overcome fears and phobias?
- Significance of having leadership skills in job life?
- Causes and treatments for bipolar disorder.
- Side effects of consuming antidepressants.
- How important is mental health in succeeding professionally?
- How do teaching methods influence learning abilities?
- Should specially-abled people be allowed to work in offices?
- Discrimination and racism in the US.
Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!
Essay Topics for Middle School
- Every child should have chores at home.
- There should not be any summer classes.
- Should students continue studying during summer vacation?
- Parents should pay attention to the amount of time their children spend watching television.
- Favorite family summer vacation.
- Sports should be mandatory in every school.
- Processed foods should not be part of private and public school lunch.
- Do students still use newspapers for research?
- Every individual should spend a year doing community service.
- The weekend should be 3 days long.
Hopefully, you would have selected a topic for your essay. If you are looking for more ideas, try this free essay topic generator . You will find plenty of ideas for your essay.
Still need help choosing an essay topic? 5StarEssays is a professional essay writing service that helps you get a high quality essay. We have a team of essay writers who are professionals and can do your essay .
As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.
Was This Blog Helpful?
- How to Write an Essay - A Complete Guide with Examples
- Interesting Thesis Statement Examples for Your Essay
- Writing a 500 Word Essay - Easy Guide
- What is a Topic Sentence – Easy Guide with Examples
- A Complete Essay Outline - Guidelines and Format
- 100 Best Transition Words for Essays
- Essay Format: Detailed Writing Tips & Examples
- How to Write a Conclusion - Examples & Tips
- How to Title An Essay in 5 Minutes
- How to Write a Perfect 1000 Word Essay
- How To Make An Essay Longer - Easy Guide For Beginners
- Learn How to Start an Essay Effectively with Easy Guidelines
- Types of Sentences With Examples
- Hook Examples: How to Start Your Essay Effectively
- Essay Writing Tips - 10+ Essential Tips and Techniques
- Thesis Statement - A Detailed Writing Guide & Examples
- Art Topics - Brilliant Ideas to Begin With
- Writing Conventions and Tips for College Students
People Also Read
- persuasive essay outline
- persuasive essay writing
- writing an analytical essay
- article review
- writing personal statement
Burdened With Assignments?
© 2023 - All rights reserved
2000+ SATISFIED STUDENTS
95% Satisfaction RATE
30 Days Money-back GUARANTEE
95% Success RATE
© 2022 5StarEssays.com. All rights reserved.
LOGIN TO YOUR ACCOUNT
SIGN UP TO YOUR ACCOUNT
- Your phone no.
- Password Password must be minimum 8 characters.
- Confirm Password
- SEND PASSWORD
Good college essay topics are typically those that: You remember well (so nothing that happened when you were really young) You're excited to write about You're not embarrassed or uncomfortable to share with others You believe will make you positively stand out from other applicants Step 2: Figure Out Your Focus and Approach
As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: how you discovered this activity, what drew you to it, and what it's shown you about yourself. Looking for strategic college advice? Get one-on-one help from former Ivy League and top tier admission officers.
Here are a few questions to get started: What are your top five values? What lived experiences demonstrate these values? What adjectives would your friends and family use to describe you? What challenges or failures have you faced and overcome? What lessons did you learn from them? What makes you different from your classmates?
Below are questions your college essay might address to get the right kind of attention. Consider these common prompts before you write. Then write to the supplied prompt or choose your own focus. First create an outline and estimate how long each section should be before you start writing.
Write an essay about a time that you had to be brave or stand up for what you believed in. This can be a great opportunity to talk about what's important to you and what beliefs you hold most central to who you are. Center the essay around one experience or time in your life. Don't play this one down the middle — take a stance and defend it.
Essay 1: Sharing an identity or background through a montage Essay 2: Overcoming a challenge, a sports injury narrative Essay 3: Showing the influence of an important person or thing Frequently asked questions about college application essays Essay 1: Sharing an identity or background through a montage
Essay Topic: My First Flight Failed, But My Love Was Born While my attempt at flight when I was five years old ended in disaster, my passion only grew as I became older. My love of engineering has taught me collaboration, social justice, curiosity, and diligence. To read the full essay, click here. Essay Topic: Poop, Animals, and the Environment
Top 10 Essay Topics for College Students Career aspirations and goals to achieve. Your favorite writers and poets. Personal feelings on marriage. What is the definition of honor? Traits that make an influential person. Great inventors and their contributions. Historical perspective on ecological problems. The society of tomorrow.
Short Answer Questions. Short answer questions are almost harder to write than a personal essay, since you usually have a word limit. Often, this may be as short as 150 words (a paragraph). This means that your answers must be clear and concise without being so bare bones that you don't seem to have a personality.
The format of an argumentative essay typically consists of three basic elements: Supporting paragraphs, presenting arguments and unique facts. The final paragraph, restating supporting evidence and thesis. The length and complexity of the essay will vary depending on the level of the student—typically high school or college level.
Frequently asked questions about college application essays Want some extra inspiration? What makes a good topic? Here are some guidelines for a good essay topic: It's focused on you and your experience It shares something different from the rest of your application It's specific and original (not many students could write a similar essay)
Don't Repeat. If you've mentioned an activity, story, or anecdote in some other part of your application, don't repeat it again in your essay. Your essay should tell college admissions officers something new. Whatever you write in your essay should be in philosophical alignment with the rest of your application.
A good essay topic will do the following: Answers the 4 core questions. These questions are: "Who Am I?" "Why Am I Here?" "What is Unique About Me?" "What Matters to Me?" At its core, your essay should show who you are, how you got there, and where you're going. Is deeply personal. The best essay topics allow you to be raw and vulnerable.
On top of the Common Application essays students submit, Tufts asks applicants to answer two short essay questions which vary depending on which program you're applying to. 9 "Why Tufts?" short essays 6 "Let Your Life Speak" essays 5 Tufts essays that worked, plus video commentary from Tufts Admissions Books of College Essays
Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a College Application Essay 1. Explore essay prompts and select a topic. 2. Start your college essay outline before jumping in. 3. Write the essay and...
It sounds like your post is related to essays — please check the A2C Wiki Page on Essays for a list of resources related to essay topics, tips & tricks, and editing advice. You can also go to the r/CollegeEssays subreddit for a sub focused exclusively on essays. tl;dr: A2C Essay Wiki. I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically.
Argumentative essays are persuasive essays that use facts and evidence to support their side of the argument. Most argumentative essays follow either the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model. By reading good argumentative essay examples, you can learn how to develop your essay and provide enough support to make readers agree with your opinion.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students. Compare and contrast life as an elderly person with life as a small child. Traditional Education or Remote Learning. Coffee or tea. Driving a car or riding a bus.
College Level Compare and Contrast Essay Topics. Here are good essay topics for college for compare and contrast essays: Modern living as compared to the 19th century. The Roman Empire as compared to the Egyptian empire. Comparison of Lincoln's and Washington' Ideas. Renaissance vs. Baroque Epoch.
The following is a list of descriptive essay topic ideas for the students. The person who is responsible for making a difference in my life. Describe a smartphone and its benefits to someone from the '60s. The most interesting piece of art I have ever seen. Describe the experience of falling in love.