What does one do if the essay topic is cliche? Like, it's something the admission committee would have seen before but it's also meaningful to you?
You can totally still write about it; if the admissions committee has seen the topic before, then your focus would be making sure they’ve never seen anyone write about the topic in the way YOU have.
I had a this same dilemma, my prompt was about student leadership and how I would promote it, and the best example I had was about being a leader in my community during the black lives matter movement. I knew that a lot of students would end up writing about the movement, so I started with a story about how my mom wouldn’t let me throw out the yolk part of fried eggs even though I can’t stand it when they’re runny and turned that into a metaphor for student leadership. Even though I included a common topic (BLM), I added a unique approach to it to better stand out.
That’s just a personal example though, whatever your topic is, you can always make it unique to you. Some may be more difficult, but it’s always doable if it has meaning to you. Hope this helps!
To answer you think of a scenario whereby you have satisfied all the entry requirements to your college and its you against the next person. Your essays are the only ones left to decide whether you'll get admitted. What do you think the admission officers will look at? Uniqueness or Meaningfulness. Try to be unique. Avoid vague essays which another person somewhere else could be writing. Bring something new to the table.