College Essay Topics: Tips and Ideas

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Getting admitted into your dream college requires a unique essay that can make you stand out from the other applicants. But how do you write a college essay? More importantly, what are the best topics?

You need to consider many options, such as the course you wish to take in the future, the college's reputation, your strengths, your experience, and more. So, in this article, you have a simple yet thorough guide to writing a college essay that can turn you from an applicant to a student.

Step 1: Guidelines


Before starting to think about writing an essay, you might want to keep some guidelines in mind at all times:

  • Uniqueness. You're not the only applicant for your course. This means that many people might've picked a similar topic to yours. Hence, try to dig deep in your memory and find something unique that happened to you, that impacted or inspired you. Try to avoid copying other applicants or picking a generic topic.
  • Storytelling. A college essay is 50% about storytelling. So, whatever your topic you may pick, try to make it appealing to the reader emotionally and intellectually.
  • Morality. Try to avoid experiences that might put you in a bad light. Reputable colleges look for potential students that show maturity and flexibility. Nevertheless, if you pick a negative experience, the ending should reflect positive growth within you.
  • Pertinence. Your essay should connect more or less to the course you wish to take. For instance, if you apply for mechanical engineering, you could tell the story of how you helped your dad fix the car and how you always used to imitate him as a little child.
  • Don't forget to make your essay rich in details that add character and show your skills. But don't exaggerate with adjectives and descriptions.

Step 2: Choose your college essay topic

For this step, you might want to get a pen and some paper to note down some of the possible prompts for your essay. We advise reading each prompt and thinking for a minute what personal experiences, opinions, or lessons might connect to it. Then, write a couple of those down before reading the next prompts. Here are some of the topics:

1. Identity


Talking about your identity is a challenging prompt because there are many layers to a person. Hence you can't talk about everything. Also, all college essays require personal input, almost like a CV. But you can choose to focus on yourself and your life rather than picking a particular subject such as the following prompt categories.

The best approach to writing a personal essay is recognizing your strengths such as commitment, discipline, compassion, a strong sense of duty, being courageous, and so on. Then, try to remember an experience that highlights that trait. Try to keep a humble tone, but don't be afraid to show your most special abilities to make you a valuable addition to your college.

When it comes to this prompt, there are a million ways to write an essay around identity, but here are some ideas:

  • How do people describe you: what do they think about when they hear your name?
  • Your purpose in life and how your college can help you fulfill it
  • What was the most challenging thing you ever had to do?
  • What was the experience that most required bravery?
  • The most significant risk you ever had to take
  • What quote would best describe you and your life?
  • Your worst mistake or failure: how you survived it and grew
  • Your absolute passion
  • What caused you to change your mind drastically?

2.  Philosophy and psychology

You can choose to write a philosophical or psychological essay that involves self-reflection. You can connect it to your ambitions and your abilities. Or you can tie it to the course you'd love to take. Just remember to attach it to your own opinions and strengths. You don't want to write a thesis; you're presenting a piece of yourself through an exciting idea:

  • What do you think about the world?
  • Why do we live, and what's our role in the Universe?
  • How do we tell good from the bad?
  • Does education guide us through life?
  • Why happiness depends on our chosen passion
  • Is depression related to knowing too much?
  • The fear of choosing and how to solve it
  • What would you change about the world/yourself if you could?

3. Literature, arts, and media

Literature, arts, and media

You can choose cultural inspiration to guide you: books, movies, art, music, etc. Remember to express your opinion or to tell your own story through those cultural elements:

  • Your favorite movie/book/song/piece of art and why
  • Your favorite character and why
  • A controversial art piece that you love
  • What would you say to your preferred character if they existed?
  • What fictional world would you like to visit? Why?

4. Academic work and learning

Another great topic is writing about what you'd love to learn or something around your academic world:

  • If you were a teacher, what would you teach?
  • Who's your role model or mentor? Why?
  • Who would it be if you met a symbolic figure of all time?
  • What's the most genius idea you've ever had?
  • What would you invent? Or what invention would you erase forever?
  • If the whole world listened to you, what advice would you tell them?
  • What's your preferred law? Why?
  • What rules would you implement?

How to write a college essay

When it comes to writing a unique and appealing paper, there isn't only one way. Nonetheless, you might start by writing the first draft after picking your topic. Try to keep the previous guidelines in mind and keep making adjustments. You can ask your family and friends to read your essay and make suggestions. Then, revise it with the help of your teachers or peers.

Alternatively, if you don't know where to start, you can ask an online freelancer, a college essay writing service, or a professional writer to help you. Getting advice from specialized writers is always a good idea that increases your chances of success. So, don't be afraid to ask.


When you write your college essay, pick a particular and personal topic. Add character to it and focus on the storytelling details. Don't forget to revise it with friends or professional help. Good luck!

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