The college essay: the longest, hardest, and most feared factor of the application process. You’re a smart, well-traveled, interesting high school student, so this should be easy, right? The only problem is that once you start writing, you may realize your topic isn’t that original after all.
Here are some ideas for unique, one-of-a-kind college essays.
Advocate for an issue you believe in.
Arguing for or against a cause that’s important to you is bold but very interesting. You could discuss your beliefs on federal minimum wage, cigarette smoking and taxes, or environmental policy, for example. All of these issues are usually very polarized, so be sure to provide evidence and strong analysis of your beliefs. You should not seek to be agreeable in all cases, just rational. If you are bold enough to start an important discussion in your essay, the college admissions officers will definitely remember you.
Debate two sides of an issue.
If you do not feel strongly enough about one important issue to only argue one side, try to analyze both sides of the argument. Should junk food be allowed in schools? Should elementary and high school days start later so students can sleep more? If you can demonstrate and argue both sides of the issue, admissions officers will be very impressed. They look for these kinds of qualities in an active, engaged college student.
Discuss a quirky trait in a genuine way.
Many applicants make the mistake of writing about a sad, depressing topic—a bump in the road, and how they overcame the obstacle. While this type of essay shows strength and character, it is often overdone, and will not stand out to many admissions officers. Instead, think of something that makes you unique. Can you juggle six balls at once? Tell the story of when you first tried and failed miserably. Do you love to cook? Describe your favorite recipes, and the ways your siblings bribe you for food (this was my essay). In my opinion, if an admissions officer is left with a smile on his or her face, they will associate your essay with happiness, and ultimately, success.