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5 Tips to Choose the Perfect College Essay Topic

College essays are an important part of the application process. They are your golden opportunity to showcase your strengths, values and traits while letting the admissions committee get to know you better and decide whether you are a good fit. 

Considering there is a lot riding on these essays, you need to think wisely before you choose the topic. After all, the quality of your essay will hugely depend on the topic you choose to write about. 

Many students make the mistake of choosing a topic and later struggle to populate the essay. However, such an approach never works well. Always work backwards – brainstorm content ideas and put together an outline before you narrow down on the final topic.

Here are 5 tips to help you choose the right topic that will get you a green flag -


It’s important to put your thoughts together before you start drafting the college essay. What is it that you want to achieve out of it? What do you want the reader to take away? Which traits do you want to highlight? What fascinates you? What values do you want to bring to the forefront through the essay?

It’s important to ask yourself these key questions to attain clarity on the essay goal which is essential to keep you in track and not derail while drafting. 

The admissions committee reads multiple essays in a day. You need to choose a topic that is unique and makes you stand out among other candidates. Afraid you will find nothing to write about? Get help here and have the essay writing experts identify the right essay topic and write it for you. 

Explore Hobbies

Everyone has hobbies, but the trick is to talk about a certain hobby or interest that genuinely sets you apart and manages to surprise the reader. Essays on hobbies can either bore the reader and be slated as yet another cliché essay or it can truly demonstrate your capabilities and make your personality shine through. Basically, it all boils down to the treatment of the essay.

So, choose to write about a hobby that has an interesting story attached to it or one that gives you enough fodder to write about. Stay away from the run-of-the-mill hobbies like reading or playing a sport because they are painfully predictable and add no value to your application.

Consider Challenges Faced

The best part about adversities is that they make for great stories. So, why not reflect on all the challenges you have faced so far from your school and college days to internship and work experience? Jot them down and see which of these will make for an interesting read.

Remember to focus on stating how you overcame the challenge and what you learnt from it. Writing about your fears and challenges puts you in a positive light and projects you as someone who does not shy away from embracing failures. Be sure to make it insightful and engaging rather than turning it into a sob story that will end up being too dull.

Share an Anecdote

Look back at your life – do you have a turning point in your life? How was your childhood different? How have you grown over the years? Do you recall any meaningful interactions? 

Put on the storyteller hat - you’re likely to have interesting anecdotes to share which can be put to some good use in college application essays. Don’t juggle with too many anecdotes. While you may be tempted to write volumes, you must not lose track of the word count. 

Anecdotes are hugely personal and aptly showcase your personality – exactly what the admissions committee is seeking. So, go ahead, pick a story from your life and write it an endearing manner. It does not have to be something gigantic. Sometimes even the smallest incidents can be a defining experience. 

Be Yourself

When you’re writing about something that resonates with you vis-à-vis when you are writing just for the sake of it – it shows. So, choose a topic that truly moves you or something that you are passionate about in order to do a good job at it. You cannot do justice to the essay if you choose a topic you do not believe in.

Yes, you want to impress the admissions officer but that does not mean you lose your identity or voice in the process. Be authentic and showcase your true self because that’s something that is truly revered. 

Choosing the appropriate essay topic does add to the stress in the life of college students but adhering to these 5 tips will surely help you streamline your thoughts and kickstart the brainstorming session!