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11 months ago
Admissions Advice

Help Choosing Essay Topic
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Hi, I am trying to decide between two essay topics for a program because I feel that my first topic wasn't original enough. I am applying to a program which entails students from different countries coming together to answer a research question.

One of the short essay prompts is: Please describe a challenge you faced recently. This could be academic or personal. How did you overcome this challenge?

I was wondering whether I should write about how I managed to perfect my pancake-making skills (different, I know) in quarantine, or the difficulty of writing my first song for a school event.

Both show my resiliency, and I have mapped out how I would talk about them to connect to my persistence to solve problems. Which one sounds more unique and like the best topic?

Thanks!

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2 answers

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Accepted Answer
10 months ago

Hey @briannaf, good question here! Choosing an essay topic is always a difficult decision and it can be difficult to find that nice balance of having a unique essay, that's also personal to you, that also gets across some message about who you are as a person. Just out of curiosity, what was your original essay topic going to be?

I think if you included how you would take about these topics and connect them to your persistency it would help but here's my take. While I know this is for a program and not a college, depending on the program you're applying for, I think what I'm about to say will still hold. It's going to be rare for AOs or essay readers for large programs to read truly unique essays. They are forced to read the same general content over and over (sports injury/challenge/success, volunteer trips, working hard to do well in a class you're bad at, etc) and I personally think that any slightly unique essay they read has a better chance at making a good impression just because it's something new and refreshing to read. For these reasons I think you should write about the pancakes. However, and I'm not sure the style you're planning on writing it in, but I'm imagining it written in a somewhat humorous way. I think if you write a very serious/analytical essay on pancakes it might not go over as well as if you take a light-hearted and slightly humorous approach. Also, is this "perfect pancake" something you've been trying to achieve for a while or just since quarantine? I think the essay will be better if this is something you've been trying to accomplish for a long period of time (think years) rather than something that was a challenge you solved in only a couple months.

For what it's worth, I do think the music topic could work too. I just think that's a topic which they've probably seen enough and that won't be as memorable.

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11 months ago[edited]

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