20 Questions to Help you Brainstorm for your College Essay

by | Aug 15, 2017 | Essay Writing

It’s essay-writing season. You know what that means… you sit down to your computer, open a Word document and within an hour you have written a beautiful, funny, poignant essay that will get you into any college in the world.

Ah, if only it was that easy. Chances are, you’ll go through the motions of opening the Word doc, but then stare at it for an hour (while periodically checking your phone, let’s be real) and not have a clue where or how to start. Don’t fret. It’s very common!


That’s actually one of the most frequent reasons families decide to hire a Campus Bound Counselor. We sit down with each student individually and work on brainstorming essay topics. We also discuss the format and intent of the essay. Then, our students send their essays to our dedicated team of Essay Specialists for edits and revisions. We call it an “essay writing process” for a reason.


Below is a list of questions to get the ball rolling and possibly inspire essay topic ideas. Answer each question and see where it leads you… perhaps you can write an essay in an hour. *wink*



  1. Tell the story of a time you laughed so hard you cried.
  2. What is your favorite quote?
  3. Which teacher made the biggest impact on you?
  4. When was a time you were most afraid?
  5. What is the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
  6. What is your favorite book and why?
  7. Which family member are you closest to?
  8. What is the best money you’ve ever spent?
  9. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  10. Do you have a recurring dream?
  11. What is your bad habit?
  12. Is there something that makes you cringe?
  13. Have you ever been in love?
  14. What is your favorite family tradition?
  15. Do you have a favorite grandparent?
  16. Has there been a teacher or coach who has inspired you?
  17. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  18. What is the best money you’ve ever spent?
  19. Why is your best friend your best friend?
  20. When was the last time you were speechless?
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