Essay Topics to Avoid

October 21, 2012 Category: College Tips

college application essaysUnfortunately, there are many things that can go wrong when going through the college admissions process.  Many of these things can be avoided by focusing on your objective and have all your paperwork in order.  One college application disaster though can be writing a “bad” essay.  There are some topics that you can write about that could land your whole application in the reject pile.

A bad essay topic can crush your chances when applying to a selective college.  There are a few topics that you should do your best to avoid.  Even though, there may be a great writer that can manipulate one of the following topics and turn it into a strong college admissions essay, but for the most part these topics do more harm than good to your application.

Past Drug Use:  Many colleges out there have to deal with substance abuse on or around campus.  College personnel have probably seen more students’ academic careers and lives ruined by drugs than they would care to admit.  So, if you have had problems with drugs in the past and overcame them, the essay would probably be a poor choice to bring attention to you use of illegal substances.

Time Spent in Jail:  Many students have had their run-ins with the law, but you really do not want to draw attention to it in your application.  Colleges work hard in creating a safe and secure campus community.  If you bring up something in your past, it may work against you in this regard.

What an Outstanding . . .  You Are:  Fill in the blank with what you would like, but if you are going to brag about how you were the reason the football team had a winning season or how you helped you friend turn his life around, well don’t.  You do not want to sound arrogant or self-absorbed in your essay.  An essay where you are humble or sensitive is a much more pleasant reading.

Oh, Poor Me:  Writing is excellent therapy for working through difficult or traumatic events, but you do not want your college admissions essay to be a self-analysis of your pain and suffering.  It may make your reader uncomfortable or they may question if you are ready to move on socially and academically being that college can already be difficult without extra baggage.

Too Much Humor:  It is fine to reveal a bit of your sense of humor, but if your whole essay involves jokes, well, that may be an automatic red flag.  You need to show through your essay your passions, intelligence and strengths and a comic play just will not do.

There are many more topics that should be avoided.  Use your best judgment when choosing an essay topic and make sure that your character and personality shine through in a positive light.  Good luck.

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