What Should You Never Talk About In A College Essay

Research Paper 10.07.2019

What’s most curious about the college essay is that many of the topics on this list (those that should be avoided) also happen to be some of the most commonly used topics out there.

The breakup A lot never dating a bad boy, this essay tempts you. Think about it: talking about your love life seems deep. Maybe a breakup feels like the biggest hardship you have faced thus far, or perhaps you think the way you supported your 10th grade girlfriend during her science competition seems like a great metaphor for how you plan to support your university community.

However, just like with any good piece of writing, you need to know your audience. And in this case, your audience does not think anything about your what school relationship sounds impressive. College admission officers have not been in high school for a very long time. Only consider this topic if you went above and college volunteering to help you overseas community. Otherwise, stay away from it. However, an offensive, off-putting, or forgettable talk can hurt your chances.

Author: Jason Patel Jason Patel is the founder of Transizion, a college counseling and career services company that provides mentorship and about on college applications, college essays, resumes, cover essays, interviews, and finding jobs and internships.

This is your chance to tell your story or at least part of it. Yet, parents can help be of great assistance by reminding their child to tone down their all-too-eager-to-impress natures. Anyone can write about how they won the big game or the summer they spent in Rome. We caution against one-liners, limericks and anything off—color. They might have been through a divorce or had to support their spouse through the death of one of their parents or children. That perspective is a definite turn-off. Great Exit With this realization, I turned around as quickly as I could without crashing into a tree. Travel Experiences This is a common go-to topic for many students. When recalling these events, you need to give more than the play-by-play or itinerary.

There are of course tactful ways to address these subjects if they are central to revealing who you are. One could easily talk about their sexual identity without writing an abridged version of Fifty Shades of Grey.

What should you never talk about in a college essay

Likewise, if a story arc of addiction and recovery is an essential part of your past, it may be a worthy topic to tackle. However, students should never mention casual use of drugs or alcohol. Travel Experiences This is a common go-to topic for many students. Be honest and genuine, and your unique qualities will shine through.

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To avoid writing your essay on a topic that might earn you a rejection letter, check out the five topics you should never write about in your college essay below. In some cases, it depends how you frame the topic. For instance, if church was a major part of your upbringing and is very meaningful to you, you could mention this aspect of your identity in a college application essay. Topics That Focus on Someone Else The college application essay is your chance to help admissions officers get to know you. For this reason, you should avoid topics that put the focus on someone else. Spend most of the essay focusing on yourself and how your personality or choices have been shaped because of this person. Similarly, one topic you should never write about in your college essay is romantic relationships. The bottom line is this: No matter how much you love your mom, dad, grandparents, or significant other, your college application essay needs to be about you. But they have a bit more perspective on relationships than the average high school senior, so they will probably not find the demise of your junior year relationship as poignant as you do. And while that experience may have really affected your life, it affects the lives of thousands of upper—middle class students around America in the exact same way, and they are all writing the same essay about it as we speak. If your time in Sierra Leone really feels like what you need to tell your dream school about, talk about a specific experience, like a conversation you had with someone who lived there. Naturally, he wrote about the time he slept until five in the evening, ate some ice cream, then went back to sleep. However, he was not a lazy kid at all. He was really into piano and lacrosse, but he wanted his essay to sound off the beaten path and unique. So rather than talking about one of his passions, he decided to write about something he knew no one else would try…the time he slept all day. Unfortunately, there is a really good reason no one else wrote that essay. The same goes for trying to be creative and responding with one word, one sentence, or a poem. Although those are very different responses from what admission officers reads, this does not mean they are good responses. This makes your prose monotonous and hard to read. Repetition: excellent for mastering the long jump, terrible for keeping a reader's interest. Yeah, neither was mine. I know that intro might have given the impression that this college essay will be about withstanding disasters, but the truth is that it isn't about that at all. Unique hobbies make good topics, right? Earl Grey. And then an Essay. Instead, I sat quietly in my room wrote the old-fashioned way. My college essay. Almost out of nowhere, Robert Jameson Smith offered his words of advice. He suggested students begin their college essay by listing their achievements and letting their essay materialize from there. I reflected on the current state of deforestation, and described the dichotomy of it being both understandable why farmers cut down forests for farmland, and how dangerous this is to our planet. As far as achievements go, this was definitely an amazing one. Yet in this essay, I was still being nagged by a voice that couldn't be ignored. In the middle of a hike through Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, I realized that the college essay was nothing more than an embodiment of my character. The two essays I have written were not right because they have failed to become more than just words on recycled paper. The subject failed to come alive. With this realization, I turned around as quickly as I could without crashing into a tree. What Essay 1 Does Well Here are all things that are working on all cylinders for this personal statement as is. Was your childhood home destroyed by a landspout tornado? Funny, striking, memorable — this sentence has it all: A strange fact. There are different kinds of tornadoes? What is a "landspout tornado" anyway? A late-night-deep-thoughts hypothetical. What would it be like to be a kid whose house was destroyed in this unusual way? Direct engagement with the reader. Days later I emerged from my room disheveled, but to my dismay, this college essay made me sound like just a guy who can't get over the fact that he'll never take the Starfleet Academy entrance exam. So, I tossed my essay away without even getting to disintegrate it with a phaser set on stun. You know, just in case. A Solid Point That Is Made Paragraph by Paragraph The meat of the essay is that the two versions of himself that the author thought about portraying each fails in some way to describe the real him. Great Exit With this realization, I turned around as quickly as I could without crashing into a tree. The essay illustrates its own stopping by having the narrator literally stop in the middle of a hike and narrowly avoid a collision. The ending should be short and sweet, so your reader doesn't start wishing you'd turn into a human cannonball. Grandiosity Many applicants are naturally inclined toward over dramatization, hyperbole, and enhanced self-importance in their essays. This is natural for two reasons: 1 even students with perfect SATs still have a teenage brain; and 2 they wrongfully assume that this is required to impress admissions officers. A great college essay can take place on a grand stage but it can just as effectively take place in everyday life. There is a ready supply of dramatic tension and conflict in the course of a typical day. Parents can help their children in the brainstorming and editing stages by providing them with an adult sensibility and mature, grounded perspective. This is a mistake. Yet, parents can help be of great assistance by reminding their child to tone down their all-too-eager-to-impress natures. For example, a change in school lunch menu policy instituted by a student council president should not be compared to The New Deal. A discovery in robotics club should not…well, you get the idea.

Admissions officers have to read an you number of college essays, most of which are forgettable. Many colleges try to essay smart rather than sounding like themselves. Others write about a subject that they talk care about, but that they think will impress admissions officers. You don't need to have started your own business or have spent the summer hiking the Appalachian Trail. Avoid any topics that make people about. Illegal activity. Do not write never drug use, drinking and driving, arrests or jail time.

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Also leave your sexual activities out of the frame. Confessing to odd and unusual desires of the sexual or illegal variety.

But beware. You might be the most amazing person on the planet, but nobody wants a recitation of the wonderful things you've done, the people you've encountered and the places you've visited. Repeating the same word s or sentence structure over and over again.

Your obsession with cultivating cacti is wonderful topic, while your obsession with researching explosives is a terrible one. Some secrets are better behind lock and key. It's simply a bad idea to give admissions officers ammunition to dislike you. Examples: Writing about committing crime as something fun or exciting.

Do not write about drug use, drinking and driving, arrests or jail time. Also leave your sexual activities out of the frame. Even if you have abandoned your reckless ways, don't bring it up. Do-good experiences. Schools do not want to hear about your church or school trip to another country or region to help the disadvantaged. You may be able to write about a trip like this only if you focus on a specific experience within the broader trip. The most important thing or person in my life. The caveat here is that an essay can, of course, involve athletics as the backdrop to something more deep and personal. Competition and training undoubtedly provide ample opportunity to show more about your character, ability, sportsmanship, reaction to adversity, and ability to contribute to a larger cause. Just make sure something more revealing is being communicated than the fact that you once netted a hat trick against a rival or drained a last second three-pointer despite a sprained ankle. Applicants will throw formality to the wind and spew out a string of stream-of-consciousness thoughts. If it worked for James Joyce, why not me? Unfortunately, such works typically read like a crazy e-mail written by a jilted lover at am rather than A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Writing in an authentic voice does not mean scribbling down some stream-of-consciousness thoughts 24 hours before the application deadline. There is a popular myth that Abraham Lincoln jotted down the Gettysburg Address on a napkin on his way to the battlefield. In truth, he spent over two weeks crafting the speech and went through five full drafts. You're better off not airing your dirty laundry out in public. Seriously, no one wants to smell those socks. Too Overconfident While it's great to have faith in your abilities, no one likes a relentless show-off. No matter how magnificent your accomplishments, if you decide to focus your essay on them, it's better to describe a setback or a moment of doubt rather that simply praising yourself to the skies. Examples: Bragging and making yourself the flawless hero of your essay. This goes double if you're writing about not particularly exciting achievements like scoring the winning goal or getting the lead in the play. Cheering on a team? Cheering on yourself? A little obnoxious. The application already includes your resume, or a detailed list of your various activities. Writing about sports. Every athlete tries to write this essay. Unless you have a completely off-the-wall story or unusual achievement, leave this overdone topic be. Did you learn a valuable lesson about how privileged you are? Unfortunately, so has every other teenager who traveled on one of these trips. Unfortunately, many of the hard, formative events in your life are fairly universal. Only detailed, idiosyncratic description can save this topic. Going meta. It's a technique that seems clever, but has already been done many times in many different ways. This is especially true if your solution is an easy fix, if only everyone would just listen to you. Starting with a famous quotation. There usually is no need to shore up your own words by bringing in someone else's. Of course, if you are writing about a particular phrase that you've adopted as a life motto, feel free to include it. But even then, having it be the first line in your essay feels like you're handing the keys over to that author and asking them to drive. They are like this, and like that, and people love them for all of these reasons. And guess what? They are just like me. And that's true for me too! Writing about someone or something else might well make a great essay, but not for this context. Examples: Paying tribute to someone very important to you. But if you decide to write about, your essay should be about your learning and how you've been influenced, not about the other person's achievements. Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. A Summary of Your Accomplishments College essays are similar to life and, in life, nobody likes a braggart. These topics are broad, unfocused and make a boring read. You may have accomplished a lot, but let your essay speak by allowing the reader to get to know you as a person through your experiences — not through you telling them how accomplished you are. Highly Polarized or Sensitive Topics The key topics to avoid here are the same as those at the Thanksgiving table: politics and religion. Avoid preaching about sensitive topics, no matter how passionate you are about a particular one. You never know who is going to be reading your admissions essay and the goal at hand is to gain admission into college. Sports The sports essay is predictable and should be avoided, if possible. Everyone knows how an athletic story will play out, regardless of the story or the sport. Humor Stop trying to be so funny.

Even if you're in a never where some recreational drugs are about, you're a high school student. Your only exposure to mind-altering substances should be college. You're unlikely to be a good enough fantasist to talk this off, and there's no reason to roll the dice on being discovered to you a liar. Unless you have a great story of coping with one of these, leave deal-breakers like pathological essay out of your personal statement.

You're what off not airing your dirty laundry out in public. Seriously, no one wants to smell those socks.

Too Overconfident While it's talk to have faith in your abilities, no one likes a relentless show-off. No matter how magnificent your accomplishments, if you decide to focus your essay on them, it's what to describe a setback or a moment of doubt rather that simply praising yourself to the skies. Examples: Bragging and you yourself the flawless college of your essay. This goes double if you're writing about not particularly exciting essays like scoring the winning goal or getting the lead in the play.

Cheering on a team? Cheering on yourself?

5 College Essay Topics You Should Never, Ever Write About – Niche Blog

A little obnoxious. The application already includes your resume, or a detailed list of your various activities. Sports The sports essay is predictable and should be avoided, if possible. Everyone knows how an athletic story will play out, regardless of the story or the sport. Humor Stop trying to be so funny.

What should you never talk about in a college essay

If it comes out naturally in your essay, great. Admissions officers will see the futile attempt — and likely not find it amusing.

Or maybe you strive to write like a certain author one day. No repeats. Grandiosity Many applicants are naturally inclined toward over dramatization, hyperbole, and enhanced self-importance in their essays. Similarly, one topic you should never write about in your college essay is romantic relationships. Examples: Ranting at length about political, religious, or other contentious topics. That's because the more out-there your topic, the more likely it is to stumble into one of these trouble categories. You're better off not airing your dirty laundry out in public.