Essay Topics to Avoid

Summer is a great time to kick back, relax, have fun…and write your college essay.  Just think about all the schoolwork and applications you will have in the fall.  The summer is the perfect time to get one big thing out of the way.


One of Campus Bound’s most unique and remarkable features is our staff of Essay Specialists.  Our Essay Specialists are experts in the area of writing mechanics and have extensive experience with college essays. They can help you brainstorm topics, edit your work, and put forth essays that make a difference.


When considering the topic for your “big” college essay, there are a few topics you should avoid. We outlined these for you below and let you know the reason why each topic is not recommended.


Athletics:  We know it’s tempting to write about how you overcame an athletic injury or hit the game-winning home run, but both topics are over done.  Think about the admission counselor on the other side of the desk reading hundreds, if not thousands, of college essays.  It’s best to avoid athletics, or your essay won’t stand out. There are ways to incorporate sports into your essay, but it has to be done very carefully, with the support of an Essay Specialist, so as to not sound like everyone else.


A service project or trip:  At first thought, it sounds like a good idea to write about a service trip, right?  You helped other people and wound up learning a lot about life and yourself in the process. Unfortunately, this is also over done, and can end up making you sound privileged, rather than humble.  Again, if you insist on writing on this topic, seek advice from our Essay Specialist about how to make it stand out.


A family member or role model:  Grandpa Joe may have changed your life; he may have an amazing story and be a super person.  But you are applying to college, not Grandpa Joe.  So you can mention Grandpa (or other mentor) in some capacity, but make sure the essay is about YOU.


Politics:  Just as in life, with acquaintances, it’s always best to avoid discussing politics. You have no idea who is on the other side of the desk reading your essay.  This is a particularly heated political time, and you may have strong feelings, but best to avoid it in your college essay!


Something TOO personal: Yes, the college essay is supposed to be personal, but sharing your struggles with mental health, for example, could be a red flag to colleges (it probably shouldn’t be, but it usually is). Writing about a family strife can also be tricky. These topics perhaps can be worked into your essay in some way, but shouldn’t be the focus. You may also choose to write about one of these things in the Additional Information section. For more information, see this previous post, When Your Personal Essay is Too Personal, and this one, The Additional Information Essay, What You Need to Know.

Campus Bound knows how important the college essay is, and we want to help you come up with a topic that will help your application, not hurt it.  Contact us for essay support today.


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