4 years ago
Admissions Advice

How to brainstorm an idea for a college essay?

Hi, I am a junior in high school. How do you come up with an idea that is specific and unique for a personal statement essay? I am having some trouble doing this.:( I am still in high school but we have an assignment where we are practicing writing these types of essays. Our prompts are the ones given from the common app ones! I don't know why but I find this to be really tricky.

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
4 years ago

I would suggest writing about something that you have done that not a lot of your friends have done. For me, that was international travel, so I discussed how that had changed my life and any skills that I had learned from it such as an appreciation for different cultures and independence.

Loss in a common topic that many people choose. You could discuss the loss of a family member or friend and how you got through it/how it changed you. Mending relationships is another good topic. If you had a fight with your friend or don't get along well with your parents or siblings you could discuss how you made-up and learned to understand each other. Or you could discuss how you grew and what lessons you learned if the fight wasn't solved.

Community service is also great. You could discuss a certain club or organization that you volunteer with and how this has helped your community and what lessons you have learned from this.

Your essay does not have to be about a large, life-changing event. Just think about what makes you unique. When comparing yourself to your friends and your peers, what's something about your life that stands out? This makes for a great college essay!

4 years ago

I am also a high school junior and we had a similar assignment. I chose my involvement in a community service activity or extra curricular. I brainstormed some of my favorite activities and used that as my examples. Our essay was shorter (less than 300 words) and this was actually difficult because it was hard to fit many examples with detailed information in 300 words. If your essay is bigger (around 500 words) you can give more details towards your examples or add another activity that you did in your club.

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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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