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What is one topic I should definitely avoid on my college essays?

I've heard a lot about the college application process and how important essays can be. While I know it's important to be well-rounded and showcase intelligence, I just want to make sure I'm not immediately getting on the Admission Officer's bad side. A teacher mentioned, for instance, to avoid talking about death or family issues. #college #college-admissions #admissions

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Judy’s Answer

I would say most importantly to be authentic and write about something that you are passionate about. Write about things that have shaped you and made you grow into the person you are today. And I agree with what others have said, do not use big words for the sake of using big words just to impress. Be natural and genuine, it will come through in your writing.


Hope this helps.

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Elizabeth’s Answer

You want to be creative so starting with "I want to go to your school because" or "I am a good candidate for admission because" is not going to catch anyone's attention. I remember reading an essay that starting with "So I was about to jump out of my window....and now that I have your attention, here is my college essay". The opening line made me want to read on.
Feel free to show a sense of humor, but be appropriate. Don't use big words because you think they will impress someone - especially if you aren't sure how to use them correctly. And edit! edit! edit!

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Alice’s Answer

Things to avoid:
-saying things just to impress and please the admission officers
-anything false or exaggerated about yourself


Because I can tell you that they are experts so they know if you make something up just to sound impressive and they can smell ingenuity from a mile away.


What I suggest you do:
-think of the social issues that you care about in the world: poverty, the environmental crisis, sex slavery, education system, etc....
-reflect on how this social issue is something you want to solve through your university studies


If you can think outside of yourself and think of others first, especially the world, I'm telling you that proves such a high level of maturity that the admissions officers would be really impressed and interested in someone as special as you to be at their school being a positive influence on the students. The university looks for mature, thoughtful, leaders ....and anyone including you can be that person...but first you got to follow your heart...and reflect on yourself. It's in all of us.

Thank you comment icon I support you Allie !!! Because I've been through what you have not long ago.... I can still remember how scary and nerve wracking that time was! Feel free to email me or contact me if you want more help or just to be pen pals :) Alice Lai
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Lisa’s Answer

Allie,
I can tell that you care about presenting a stellar application to these schools; that’s commendable.

Like everyone else mentioned, be true to who you are. The goal of the essay is to get admissions to see the person behind the grades. The truth is, everyone is guessing what an admissions team or officers may or may not like or be looking for; the truth is the way you tell a happy or sad narrative is vital to your success. You need to tell a story that is true for you and also share your reasons for telling them that story.

For example, I heard of a student who experienced a very tragic incident that changed her young life and plans. She raised her 2 other siblings at only 18 years old with the help of aunts, uncles and members of her community. Her college plans were interrupted and her grades were affected. She decided to take a break from college to ensure both siblings would finish high school. She managed their homework and activities while working and going to school.

She didn’t have time for extracurricular activities or all the things people tell you to do to make yourself stand out. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with that, you just need to be sure you are doing it for right fit reason. Anyway, I believe she went to a community college before gaining admissions into our prestigious college.

The prompt she chose demonstrated her leadership, authenticity, integrity and altruism. It was a tragic story but without focusing on the tragedy, she demonstrated how she is tenacious and persistent by applying good storytelling. She showed the readers that she was a good leader and will work hard, not by saying it or because of title she got from participating in a club, but she showed them what she did for her siblings and her community. I heard her story over 15 years ago and never forgot it.

So, be yourself, choose a prompt that will help you tell a good story, ask for help to tell your story well, and be sure to tell them why you are sharing it.
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