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Great Topic Ideas for College Application Essays and Free PDF

The essay you write as part of your application for college is possibly the most important and critical type of writing you will ever be asked to do. It is important because its success has a direct bearing on your future. The primary purpose of an application essay is to show your true and unique personality. By choosing your college application essay topics well, your essay will also serve to show how coherently you can arrange your thoughts, how logically you can express yourself and how well you are able to write. 

Consistency is the key to a good college application essay. Be yourself and convince the admissions panel how brilliant and unique you are. The way you write and present your information will demonstrate all these qualities. Your true talent will be evident without you having to promote it. Write concisely and draw upon your own life experiences. This will make what you write sound realistic because nothing is more convincing that the truth. 

When writing a common application essay, don’t forget that you will be conveying your ideas, interests and feelings through the content. Write in a profound and thought-provoking way. Look into the heart of the matter and put a philosophical spin on whatever you are talking about. Undoubtedly, it is always a lot more interesting to read a genuine piece rather than something that is banal and meaningless.  

College Application Essay Topics

Whether you are writing a UC application essay or any other type of admissions essay, it is important to choose a winning topic. You should use this opportunity to show that you are different and better than all the other applicants. Choose your topic carefully. Do not select some random topic because how successful you are will depend on how well you understand what you are writing about and how well you reveal yourself in your true light to the reader(s). 

The following is a list of original topic ideas for your college application essays. These ideas are all current and popular. Take the ideas you are interested in, do a little brainstorming and add your own personal touch. Any of these prompts are sure to generate some fresh thoughts in your own mind, which you will be able to apply appropriately in your writing.

  • Talk about a particular experience or interest that has added significant meaning to your life.
  • What has helped you develop and grow over several years?
  • What is motivating you to devote between four and six years of your life to studying at a particular college or university?
  • What plans do you have once you have obtained your degree?
  • What is it about this particular discipline that appeals to you?
  • Do you have any long-ranging career plans?
  • How will your degree help you meet your objectives?
  • What particular qualities, characteristics or skills set you apart from other applicants? How did you come to have these qualities or skills?
  • Look back at your childhood. How did you develop particular interests?
  • Did your background and upbringing shape your interests?
  • Take an outside view of yourself. What words would your friends use to describe you?
  • Do your experiences include a moment of revelation, a time when your senses were awakened to something new? Use your application essay to tell your readers about this experience.
  • Do you have aspirations for the future? And, with the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you would change about the past?
  • From a career perspective, what do you envision yourself to be doing ten years hence?
  • What is the one thing in the entire world you would most like to be doing now? Is there a particular place you would like to be or a particular person you would like to be with?
  • What mission do you want to accomplish in the long term?
  • With what attitude or philosophy do you approach life? Share those qualities with your readers.
  • Was there an especially difficult period you had to face? What did you do to get through this tough time?
  • Did this difficulty change your view of life?
  • What experience in your life did you find most joyful and/or rewarding?
  • How have your career objectives been shaped by your life experiences? 
  • On your journey, have you encountered victory and disaster? What was your method of dealing with these encounters? Are you able to say you countered them with modesty or fortitude?
  • Has it ever been the case that you failed to achieve something you really wanted? What was your response? Have you ever felt dissatisfied or disappointed with yourself?
  • Put yourself in the place of a stage performer. Think about how you would feel before a big performance where you had a leading role.
  • Take an important experience and analyze it. Have you ever face a moral dilemma or had to take a risk? What was the impact?
  • Have you been influenced by an important intellectual encounter?
  • Describe your learning philosophy.
  • Discuss how an event can alter an individual’s plans or direction.
  • What hopes do you have of your future career?
  • Has there ever been a time when you faced a mighty struggle and were triumphant? How did you feel?
  • What is the single biggest contribution you have ever made to any element of your life?
  • Tell your readers about your academic record and achievements.
  • Describe an important person (real, fictional, dead or alive) that you would like to talk to and why.
  • Tell about a particular person who influenced you significantly and tell your readers what that influence was.
  • What qualities does a student need to have to be successful?
  • How important is a college education to you?
  • Is there any artist – actor, musician or writer – that has influenced your thinking? Why was this person so important? Did they give you another perspective on life?
  • Have you ever written and delivered a speech to a group or have you ever had an article published?
  • Is there a particularly significant achievement you would like to share? What was this achievement and who helped you?
  • Let your readers see your personality. Describe some of the negative things as well as the positive things about yourself. What would you like to change or improve about yourself?
  • Do you have any particularly strong or prominent traits? Have you strong convictions or is there any particular philosophy you adhere to?
  • Describe the most memorable experience in your life.
  • Have you undertaken any research projects? Is there any research work you would like to do?
  • Describe a book that has especially influenced you? This is a good prompt when you need interesting college application essay topics.
  • Are there any community or extracurricular activities you take part in? What is it about these activities that appeals to you?
  • Say why you would especially like to join a specific university or college.
  • What subject do you want to study? What are your academic aspirations?  

College Application Essay Topics

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