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Don't include your stellar achievements in your essay. If not, what makes the best topics?

Were you ‘the one’ who developed the vaccine for COVID? Or, perhaps you are working on the cure? Have you sailed across an ocean all by yourself? Of course, very few of us can say we did any of these things. But… even more so, these topics rarely make a good essay topic. You may be wondering why your most stellar achievements shouldn’t be included in your essay.

First, the admissions counselor has already seen these achievements on your activity sheet/resumé. DON’T REPEAT YOUR RESUME IN YOUR ESSAY. This will both annoy and bore your reader.

Second, these grand subjects are quite the opposite of a strong essay topic. Most students think that the essay should be about a ‘big something’ that you make smaller in the limited word limit of the essay. NOT SO! The subject of the essay is quite the opposite: THE ESSAY TOPIC IS NARROW, WHICH YOU SHOULD EXPAND UPON, ADDING DEPTH TO YOUR ESSAY.

Third, does the grand topic you’ve chosen tell us an important thing about you? THE ESSENCE OF A STRONG ESSAY TOPIC IS ALL ABOUT YOU! Ask yourself, “If the reader did not know ‘this’ about me, they’d be missing a big part of who I am. The ‘this’ is at the heart of the best essay topic.

Fourth, although you may be tempted, admissions people don’t like to read anything braggy.

The beauty of the best kinds of essay topics is that they are all about you, so it shouldn’t be difficult to generate content. This content is what you’re familiar with, what you’ve thought and felt about. It will make the essay personal, which is what the admissions staff are looking for.

As the school is filling up the freshman class, they want to make it a diverse group. They want introverts, extroverts, leaders, followers, athletes, artists, thinkers, readers, movie goers, various ethnicities, and backgrounds, etc. THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THE ESSAY TOPIC IS TO TELL THE READERS WHO YOU ARE! If the admissions staff don’t know this, you put yourself at a disadvantage since you haven’t helped them put together their freshman class. If admissions can know who you are, no matter what that is, you will be way ahead of the pack of essay submissions! Next step: write the essay in the preferred style of narrative. But, that’s another narrow topic for later!


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