6 months ago
Admissions Advice

Is my essay topic good enough?

I am having a lot of issues with the essay portion of my application regarding essay topics. One idea I had was reflecting on a parents’ immigration experience and comparing it to my own way of growing up. Though I worry if writing about my parent being an immigrant is too cliche and if the essay will sound more focused on them instead of myself. Im also not sure if there should be a clear ‘lesson’ I have to explicitly state (I also have no idea what that could be, input would be greatly appreciated).

Any input or ideas would be great, thank you!


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1 answer

6 months ago

Hi! Different colleges may have different types of applicant they love most, but all of them like to see how you overcame difficulties in the past being somehow reflected in your essay. Did the challenges that arose out of your parents immigrating force you to grow as a person by overcoming them? What were these issues? How did you overcome them exactly? What did you learn along the way? How exactly did you do it? Do you think your experience is different in some way from that of other kids of immigrants? Try to think of something along these lines and write down ideas and details as you think of them.

Along the way, you might see that, for instance, you are focusing too much on a particular aspect of your journey or you think of another topic mid-brainstorming for this one, in which case, try switching them around, or even combining topics together, for example, your parents' immigrant story with your search for belonging in and outside of school, or the challenges you faced growing up in a household where your parents may not be able to help you with schoolwork because they are unfamiliar with the system with the challenges you hope to help other people overcome in your volunteer work. Honestly, I would say the best essays are more nuanced then just focusing on one topic, so be open to combining a few (although note, this doesn't work for all topics!)

Another way to make your essay stand out would be to write it in a more creative format, which you totally do not have to be an experienced writer to do, by the way. Here are a few strategies that come to mind when thinking about writing the 'immigrant essay:'

1. Try drawing a parallel between your parent's journey towards immigration and your own journey towards a particular goal. Has their determination inspired you to keep going even when things got harder and then harder? Did they give you a piece of advice you will treasure forever? Something along these lines...

2. Consider being creative with the actual structure of the essay, for example, writing it as a letter to your parents where you thank them for all the sacrifices they doubtless had to make in their immigration journey and pulling in your own accomplishments as something you owe partly to your parents.

But really, if you have time, the best advice I can give you is to write a few totally different essays and chose whichever one you/your teachers and friends find the best.

Hope this helped in some way,

Good luck!

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