Break Free from Overused College Essay Topics

Break Free from Overused College Essay Topics

As high school seniors embark on their college application journey, they face the daunting task of crafting compelling and unique essays that capture the attention of admissions officers. But certain topics have become so overused that they risk blending into a sea of sameness. Writing about a creative and unique topic catches the attention of the admissions officer, making you a more memorable and appealing candidate. Let’s examine some of the most overused college essay topics and provide insights on how to approach them in a unique and authentic way.

 

The sports triumph:

One of the most common essay topics centers around athletic achievements. While discussing sports can showcase dedication and teamwork, it's important to transcend the surface level and delve into the personal growth, values, or lessons learned from the experience. Consider focusing on the transformative power of sports, or how they have shaped your character beyond the scoreboard.

 

The travel epiphany:

Writing about transformative travel experiences has become increasingly popular. To avoid falling into the cliché trap, delve deeper into the cultural or personal impact of your travels. Reflect on how these experiences shaped your worldview, challenged your assumptions, or inspired a sense of empathy and understanding. 

 

The community service savior:

Community service essays often revolve around the act of volunteering itself rather than the personal growth or impact it had on the writer. To break free from this cliché, highlight the specific moments or interactions that deeply influenced you. Discuss how these experiences sparked a commitment to social change, instilled empathy, helped you decide on a career path, or fostered your passion for making a difference.

 

The academic epiphany:

Essays centered solely on academic achievements risk becoming predictable and generic. Instead, showcase your intellectual curiosity and growth by delving into the inspirations behind your academic pursuits, the challenges you've encountered, or the interdisciplinary connections you've made. Unveil the personal significance of your academic journey beyond the accolades.

 

The tragedy and triumph:

While overcoming personal hardships can be a powerful narrative, it has also become a common theme. To differentiate yourself, focus on the growth and resilience that emerged from these challenges. Share insights gained from navigating adversity, highlighting the personal strength and determination that have shaped your character.

 

The role model homage:

Essays centered on influential individuals in your life may risk overshadowing your own story. Instead, use these figures as a springboard to showcase your own values, accomplishments, and aspirations. Discuss how their impact inspired your personal growth and motivated you to become a role model for others.


While it is still possible to write a compelling college essay on one of these topics, adding your own personal flare will help you to stand out from the crowd. ESAI can help you take a basic essay topic, and infuse it with a fresh, original perspective.


Crafting a college essay that stands out requires avoiding the pitfalls of overused topics and embracing a fresh, authentic approach. By delving deeper into your experiences, focusing on personal growth, reflecting on the broader impact, and highlighting unique insights, you can breathe new life into these common topics. Remember, the goal is to captivate the admissions officers and provide them with a genuine glimpse into your character, passions, and aspirations. ESAI’s College Application Tool can help you take an overused topic, and turn it into a unique, personal, standout essay.

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