College application essays are practically the second most difficult thing ever – right after jumping off a plane. There is simply too much pressure and too little confidence to cope with it easily. So, what should you write about in your application essay?
First, think about the first five topics that come to your mind. Ready? Now forget about them. If you could come up with them so easily, then plenty of people could as well. It is hard to compete in the area where so many applicants tried their hand.
Then, do some research about the college you want to get in, about its primary focus and main activities. This is the area to work in. If they are all into sport, relate to it. Even if you are not much of a sportsman, somewhere in your life you had these moments when your dad taught you to play football or something. Show that you have qualities which are to be found in a good sportsman, even though you don’t really play.
What exactly you write about is not important at all. Except of overly used topics and those that might cause resentment from the otherwise minded (death penalty), you are free to choose. The point is, they don’t want to know more about the thing you are describing. They want to know more about you.
Every college essay is a story about you or even about one of your personal qualities, so it has to show up everywhere and hint at the fact that you would be a great addition to this school.
On the other hand, trying to impress the judges many students pack their essays with their merits and achievements. Don’t fall in this trap – the board already knows about that, and by restating the facts you won’t be able to impress them anymore.
Concentrate on one event, one person or one object and show that it means the world to you. Life difficulties, people who taught you to fight, examples of what formed you as a person will make good topics for your essay. Even the smallest and the most mundane object can become a great essay topic if for you have a story behind. Even better if no one else could see through its boring wrapping.
Don’t let your thought wonder around and stay focused. It is tempting to plunge into lyrical asides just to show that you are a good writer. Unless this aside is directly related to your topic, forget about it and keep the original route.
Give your reader images instead of descriptions. You can tell what happened, or you can show it. Guess what is better. By using metaphorical language and simply adding adverbs and adjectives to your writing, you will enrich it and attract attention. Images flow more smoothly than words and show you as a deeply thinking and observing person.
To top it all, be casual and never complain. Even if you are telling about a life difficulty or adversity, focus on how you overcame with it rather than sobbing all over your piece. These kinds of essays are designed to make admission officers feel bad for the author and thus accept him or her, but in fact they only cause annoyance.
Be original and be fun. The topic is not important. What does matter, however, is how you cover it and how successful you are in describing your personality through it. It is a good idea to write several essay, and wait for a week or two, and then choose the one you like best. This trick will help you see fresh and identify which of your iterations was the strongest.