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Application Essay Writing: What Topics Can Make You Stand Out

If you’re in your last year of high school, your college applications are probably dominating much of your time. Applying to college is a lengthy and challenging pursuit, and can cause a ton of uncertainty and worry. This is particularly true for writing application essays, which are notoriously open ended, high stakes, and difficult to pen.

Choosing a strong application essay topic can make the work of preparing your application far easier. Even more importantly, a good essay topic can make your paper stand out from all the other applicants’, and earn you a favorable admissions decision, a membership to the school’s honor’s program, or even an additional scholarship.

A memorable essay can make all the difference, and it starts with selecting an interesting subject. But which topics have this potential to wow and dazzle admissions committees? The following are just a few general ideas you should consider. Feel free to brainstorm some of your own ideas, using this list as a jumping off point!


Write About A Personal Experience

No one has the same past and set of life experiences as you do. Probably there is at least one experience in your past that is utterly distinct from every other college applicant you are competing with. Spend some time brainstorming and free writing about your family history, your educational experiences, and interesting things that have happened in your life.

The event you choose to write about could be tragic, strange, silly, morbid, unusual, funny, or remarkable. It can be either an academic accomplishment or a personal journey. Perhaps it’s a piece of family lore. Take advantage of what makes you an original person and share a bit of that uniqueness with the college admissions committee.


Write About A Controversial Subject

Admissions committees love it when an applicant is willing to take a strong stance. They also love topics that are truly worthy of their attention and interest. Too many college applications feature dull, tepid essays that are written to be as inoffensive as possible. Instead of making this mistake, let your essay stand out by choosing a topic that could ruffle some feathers.

Some examples include politically dicey topics, such as gun control, abortion rights, affirmative action policies, discrimination policies, health care reform, foreign policy events, military spending, and rights for LGBT people. Other, non-political examples include feminism, anti-racism, approaches to death and dying, end of life decisions, the role of technology in society, or the end of print media. Let your own opinion shine. Your paper will dazzle as a result.

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