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College Application Essay Topics: Strategies, Tips, and Examples

Some people find the college application process to be grueling. Others enjoy the challenge and look forward to the personal essay portion of the procedure. No matter what level of writing skills that you might possess, drafting a winning college admissions essay is easy as long as you are armed with college application essay writing tips and essay ideas.

Some colleges and universities give their applicants a choice in subject matter. Others require that a person write on a pre-selected topic. Whatever the case may be, you must find a way to make your personality shine well on paper.

There are three different kinds of questions commonly asked of applicants.

1. "Who Are You" Essay

The first and most popular is the "who are you" essay. Despite absolute knowledge of the subject matter, students have a tendency to go overboard when highlighting their accomplishments.

Topics centered around personal achievements can seem vain and over the top if not balanced with biographical information. Although it may be necessary to point out all the great things about you, keep bragging to a minimum. If the topic asks you to write a one page essay stating your greatest qualities, pare down your attributes and use clear, clean text.

For example:

"During the four years that I served on the Student Council at Jefferson High School, I maintained a 4.0 Grade Point Average and still found time to contribute to the Volleyball Team as Team Captain."

 Although a lot is being said in one sentence, it sums up your accomplishments and demonstrates your commitment to maintaining your grades and the relationships that you have built with your classmates and team members.

Sample personal essays:

2. "Why This College" Essay

The second most asked about topic on a college application is "why this college"?.

Steer clear from stating any facts that may be considered unflattering like "I heard that XYZ is the number one party school in the nation."

Opt for genuine statements that are related to the degree that you are pursuing. "XYZ is a top ranking university with an award winning Theatre Department. I plan on majoring in Fine Arts and obtaining a role in Annie Get Your Guns in the fall."

Example essay: Sample entrance essay for criminal justice degree

3. Creative Viewpoint Essay

Last but not least, the third most common question asked on a college admission's application comes from a creative viewpoint.

Students may be asked, "What is the greatest problem plaguing your generation today?" Rather than launch into a 40 page Manifesto stating the wrongs of society, pick an issue that is near and dear to your heart. Use your experience to write about a topic that carries significant consequences for you and your peers.

A sample sentence might say, "With the rising costs of college tuition and a shortage of private donations to scholarship funds worldwide, students are finding it harder and harder to pay for college."

Students are encouraged to put their own spin on things and create an essay that is not only entertaining but also memorable. By writing in first person, applicants give the admissions committee an opportunity to get to know a man or a woman without ever arranging a formal meeting.

Example essay: Sample college application essay on media stereotypes

Remember To KISS (Keep It Simple And Sensible)

Cut out any unnecessary wording. Admissions committees have their work cut out for them without you adding your two cents worth in. Answer the question in the simplest terms that you can but always provide concrete evidence to back you up.

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