What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Loading…
UCLA
Loading…
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
1.0
4.0
SAT: 720 math
200
800
| 800 verbal
200
800

Extracurriculars

Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Worst college essay topics?

Hey guys! I'm starting to brainstorm ideas for my college essays and I want to avoid any clichés. What are some topics I should steer clear of when writing a strong personal statement?

7 months ago

Hello! It's wise to think about avoiding cliché topics when writing your college essay, as admissions officers read thousands of essays and may grow tired of seeing repetitive themes. Here are some common cliché topics that you might consider avoiding:

1. Sports injuries or victories — This is a typical narrative where students focus on overcoming an injury or winning a championship. It's important to think beyond this and show how sports shaped you in a unique way.

2. Moving or adjusting to a new school/country — Many students write about the challenges and adjustments faced when moving to a different place or country. To stand out, consider how your personal experience deviates from the typical narrative.

3. First-generation immigrant stories — Though your background is important, remember to avoid focusing solely on clichéd topics such as language barriers or culture shock. Instead, try to share a unique perspective or experience related to your background.

4. Overcoming a challenging class — This topic might focus on struggling with a particular subject but ultimately triumphing. Instead, think about showcasing your intellectual curiosity and passion for learning in a more creative, less predictable manner.

5. Volunteering or mission trips — Many students write about how their volunteering or mission trip changed their perspective on life. While it's great to share your community involvement, make sure to dig deeper into your personal growth and lessons learned from the experience.

6. Death or illness of a loved one — While this can be a transformative event, many students tend to write about this topic in a cliché way. If you choose this theme, be sure to focus on an authentic and personal experience that highlights your resilience or character.

7. Overused quotes or cliché phrases — Starting your essay with a famous quote or cliché phrase can make it less memorable. Instead, be original from the start and draw the reader in with your unique voice.

Remember that you can still write about these topics, but it's important to provide a unique angle or a specific personal experience. The key to a strong personal statement lies in self-reflection and showcasing your genuine voice. Good luck with your brainstorming process!

7 months ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.