What are some essay topics to avoid?
Lately I've been thinking about what I'm going to write about for my college essay. I've mostly just been brainstorming ideas though and haven't actually started writing anything yet. I know my essay should try and be unique but are there any topics I should definitely avoid? I heard a lot of people write about sports and you should avoid that unless you can make it really interesting. Are there other ones like that I should know about?
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@stressedjunior made some really great recommendations and I think I'll mainly echo them—the most important things to remember are that your essay shouldn't just be a reiteration of your resume or other things that will show up elsewhere on your application. It should be separate, and provide a look into who you are as a person beyond just your grades, test scores, and activities.
One other small piece of advice is, when you're writing school-specific essays, try to gauge the sensibilities of the school that you're applying to. This means if you're applying to a liberal arts college, you shouldn't write an essay that focuses on your excitement to be able to do nothing but study one subject in college. Or, for example, if you were to apply to a school that has a big agriculture program (like Cornell or Texas A&M), don't share a personal anecdote about how you've never been a fan of rural communities. Hopefully that illustrates some idea of what to avoid.
I think this is a really good video to watch about this topic - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsIWYyKmalQ
and here's an article that helps too - https://www.fastweb.com/college-search/articles/college-admissions-essay-topics-to-avoid
@stressedjunior covered most of the big ones with the article they posted. That video is also pretty good and some of the related ones seemed like they might help you. Other ones I might add include the metaphor essay where you basically compare your life or some event to a random object. Sometimes it could be sometime like food, think a hamburger, or other times something random like a blanket. Maybe people only do this type when they think they don't have any shot at a school but the quirky/random essays where you try to stick out and are essentially a meme. Don't do that. Avoid the essay where it looks like every other word was replaced with something from a thesaurus. It doesn't make you look as smart as some people think it does. That's not to say you can't use a thesaurus, but do so sparingly.
I think something important to remember is that all of this comes with a caveat. It's not really you can't (or shouldn't) write about these topics, it's more that it's going to be more difficult for you to stand out. You're free to write about one of these topics if that's what you want. You're just going to have to write it in an incredibly interesting and unique way to stand out compared to other applicants who write about something that hasn't been done a million times.