CollegeVine's essay prompt database

Find your college’s application essay prompts for 2023-24

Latest essay prompts for the top 100 schools.

At CollegeVine, our goal is to make the college application process a little less stressful, so we’ve compiled the latest essay prompts for the top 100 schools in one easy, searchable database.

Also, every year we create free guides on “ How to Write X School’s Essays ” for the top 100 schools. In these guides, we give you tips and tricks on how to approach each prompt. As such, our prompt database also contains a link to each school's Essay Breakdown.

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Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

Tips for writing an effective college essay.

College admissions essays are an important part of your college application and gives you the chance to show colleges and universities your character and experiences. This guide will give you tips to write an effective college essay.

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Student Story: Admissions essay about personal identity

Get the perspective of a current college student on how she approached the admissions essay.

Student Story: Admissions essay about community impact

Student story: admissions essay about a past mistake, how to write a college application essay, tips for writing an effective application essay, sample college essay 1 with feedback, sample college essay 2 with feedback.

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60+ College Essay Prompts From Actual 2023-2024 Applications

Ideas to inspire every college applicant.

Discuss a time when reflection or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.

Writing a college application essay can be a stressful task for a lot of students. The more practice they get in advance, the better! This roundup of college essay prompts gives applicants a chance to explore their thinking, polish their writing, and prepare to make the best possible impression on selection committees. Every one of these questions is taken from real college applications for the 2023-2024 season, so they’re meaningful and applicable to today’s high school seniors.

Common App 2023-2024 College Essay Prompts

2023-2024 coalition for college essay prompts, life experiences college essay prompts, personal college essay prompts, academics college essay prompts, creative college essay prompts.

Hundreds of colleges and universities use the Common App process . For many schools, this includes responding to one of several college essay topics, which can change each year. Here are the essay prompts for the current application cycle (check with your chosen school/s to see if an essay is required).

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.- college essay prompts

  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

More than 150 colleges and universities use the Coalition for College process . Here are their essay prompts for 2023-2024.

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

  • What interests or excites you? How does it shape who you are now or who you might become in the future?
  • Describe a time when you had a positive impact on others. What were the challenges? What were the rewards?
  • Has there been a time when an idea or belief of yours was questioned? How did you respond? What did you learn?
  • What success have you achieved or obstacle have you faced? What advice would you give a sibling or friend going through a similar experience?

What success have you achieved or obstacle have you faced? What advice would you give a sibling or friend going through a similar experience?

  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Answer these questions by sharing specific examples from your own experience.

  • Who is your favorite conversation partner? What do you discuss with that person?
  • Discuss a time when reflection or introspection led to clarity or understanding of an issue that is important to you.
  • Share an example of how you have used your own critical-thinking skills on a specific subject, project, idea, or interest.

Share an example of how you have used your own critical-thinking skills on a specific subject, project, idea, or interest.- college essay prompts

  • Describe a time when you were challenged by a perspective that differed from your own. How did you respond?
  • What are the best words of advice you have received? Who shared them, and how have you applied them in your own life?
  • Elaborate on an activity or experience you have had that made an impact on a community that is important to you.
  • Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you.
  • Who do you agree with on the big, important things, or who do you have your most interesting disagreements with? What are you agreeing or disagreeing about?
  • Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.
  • When was the last time you questioned something you had thought to be true?
  • Discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved.
  • Reflect on a time when you or someone you observed had to make a choice about whether to act with integrity and honesty.
  • Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.

Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.

  • Describe a time you did not meet expectations and what impact the experience had on you.

These essay topics give schools a better sense of who you are, what you value, and the kind of student citizen you might be.

  • What drives you to create, and what do you hope to make or have you made?
  • Which book, character, song, monologue, or piece of work (fiction or nonfiction) seems made for you? Why?
  • What would you want your future college roommate to know about you?
  • How has your own background influenced the types of problems you want to solve, the people you want to work with, and the impact you hope your work can have?

How has your own background influenced the types of problems you want to solve, the people you want to work with, and the impact you hope your work can have?- college essay prompts

  • Describe any meaningful travel experiences you’ve had.
  • What would you want to be different in your own country or community to further principles of equality, equity, or social justice?
  • What strength or quality do you have that most people might not see or recognize?
  • If you could live your life fighting for one cause, what would it be and why?
  • What gives meaning to your life?
  • If you wrote a letter to yourself to be opened in 20 years, what would it say?
  • If you had the power to change the course of history in your community or the world, what would you do and why?

If you had the power to change the course of history in your community or the world, what would you do and why?

  • Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.
  • What is the greatest compliment you have ever been given? Why was it meaningful to you?
  • Explain how a text you’ve read—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or literature of any kind—has helped you to understand the world’s complexity.

Topics like these show your academic interests and demonstrate your commitment to learning and discovery.

  • What does it mean to you to be educated?
  • What is your motivation for pursuing higher education?
  • Describe your reasons for wanting to attend the specific school you’re applying to. Who or what factored into your decision?
  • Academic inquiry starts with bold questions. What are some of the bold questions you have pondered that get you excited, and why do they interest you?

Academic inquiry starts with bold questions. What are some of the bold questions you have pondered that get you excited, and why do they interest you?- college essay prompts

  • What has been your best academic experience in the last two years, and what made it so good?
  • If you decide to take a “gap year” between high school and college, what would you do during that time?
  • Many schools place a high value on diverse student populations. How can you contribute to and support a diverse and inclusive student population at your chosen school?
  • Imagine you were just awarded a research grant for a project of your choice. What are you researching and why?
  • What do you love about the subject(s) you selected as potential major(s)? If undecided, share more about one of your academic passions.

What do you love about the subject(s) you selected as potential major(s)? If undecided, share more about one of your academic passions.

  • Describe a time when you’ve felt empowered or represented by an educator.
  • Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

Use these college essay topics to show off your creativity and innovative thinking.

  • You are tasked with creating a new category for the Nobel Prize. Explain what it would be, why you chose your specific category, and the criteria necessary to achieve this accomplishment.

You are tasked with creating a new category for the Nobel Prize. Explain what it would be, why you chose your specific category, and the criteria necessary to achieve this accomplishment.

  • Pick one person—a historical figure, fictitious character, or modern individual—to converse with for an hour, and explain your choice.
  • If you could witness a historic event (past, present, or future) firsthand, what would it be and why?
  • If you could have a theme song, what would it be and why?
  • Discuss a book that you would call a “great book.” What makes the book great in your view?
  • If you could give any historical figure any piece of technology, who and what would it be, and why do you think they’d work so well together?
  • If I could travel anywhere, I would go to …
  • My favorite thing about last Tuesday was …
  • Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge.
  • If you had 10 minutes and the attention of a million people, what would your TED Talk be about?
  • What are your three favorite words in the English language? Explain what they mean to you.
  • Imagine that you could have one superpower. What would it be and how would you use it? What would be your kryptonite?

Imagine that you could have one superpower. What would it be and how would you use it? What would be your kryptonite?- college essay prompts

  • Which Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor (real or imagined) best describes you?
  • If you could create a college course that all students would take, what would it be about and why?
  • What website is the internet missing?

How do you help your students prepare their college application essays? Come share your ideas and ask for advice in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out  the ultimate guide to college scholarships.

Looking for writing ideas for your college application? These college essay prompts offer inspirational topics that let every student shine.

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Get help writing your college application essays. Find this year's Common App writing prompts and popular essay questions used by individual colleges.

The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores (and to distinguish yourself from the rest of a very talented applicant pool).

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2023–24 Common App Essays

Nearly 700 colleges accept the The Common Application , which makes it easy to apply to multiple schools with just one form. If you are using the Common App to apply for college admissions, you will have 250–650 words to respond to ONE of the following prompts:

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

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Tackling the Common App Essay Prompts

Prompt #1: share your story..

Answer this prompt by reflecting on a hobby, facet of your personality, or experience that is genuinely meaningful and unique to you. Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in. Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all fair game if you can tie it back to who you are or what you believe in. Avoid a rehash of the accomplishments on your high school résumé and choose something that the admissions committee will not discover when reading the rest of your application.

Prompt #2: Learning from obstacles.

You're trying to show colleges your best self, so it might seem counterintuitive to willingly acknowledge a time you struggled. But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance! That’s why the last piece of this prompt is essential. The obstacle you write about can be large or small, but you must show the admissions committee how your perspective changed as a result.

Perfect your college essay video

Prompt #3: Challenging a belief.

Your answer to this question could focus on a time you stood up to others or an experience when your own preconceived view was challenged. Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific!—experience to recount (and reflect on). A vague essay about a hot button issue doesn’t tell the admissions committee anything useful about YOU.

Prompt #4: Reflecting on gratitude.

Colleges are looking for students with unique experiences that can enhance their future campus community, and this is your chance to share that by recognizing what someone else has done for you. Even though this prompt requires you to reflect on the action of another person, make sure that the focus remains on how the act of kindness impacted you and the way you live your life. This essay should make you and the reader smile.

Prompt #5: Personal growth.

Just like Prompt #2, the accomplishment or event you write about can be anything from a major milestone to a smaller "aha" moment. Describe the event or accomplishment that shaped you but take care to also show what you learned or how you changed. Colleges are looking for a sense of maturity and introspection—pinpoint the transformation and demonstrate your personal growth. 

Prompt #6: What captivates you?

This prompt is an invitation to write about something you care about. (So avoid the pitfall of writing about what you think will impress the admission office versus what truly matters to you). Colleges are looking for curious students, who are thoughtful about the world around them. The "what or who do you turn to when you want to learn more” bit isn't an afterthought—it's a key piece of the prompt. Make sure you explain how you pursue your interest, as well.

Read More: QUIZ: Test Your College Knowledge!

Prompt #7: Topic of your choice.

This question might be for you if you have a dynamo personal essay from English class to share or were really inspired by a question from another college’s application. You can even write your own question! Whatever topic you land on, the essentials of a standout college essay still stand: 1.) Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2.) Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why. There isn’t a prompt to guide you, so you must ask yourself the questions that will get at the heart of the story you want to tell.

More College Essay Topics

Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them:

Describe a person you admire.

Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln. The admissions committee doesn't need to be convinced they are influential people. Focus on yourself: Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you .

Why do you want to attend this school?

Be honest and specific when you respond to this question. Avoid generalities like "to get a good liberal arts education” or “to develop career skills," and use details that show your interests: "I'm an aspiring doctor and your science department has a terrific reputation." Colleges are more likely to admit students who can articulate specific reasons why the school is a good fit for them beyond its reputation or ranking on any list. Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you.

Read More: 5 Ways College Application Essays and High School Essays Are Different

What is a book you love?

Your answer should not be a book report. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. What does your favorite book reveal about you? How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you?

Again, be honest in answering this question—don't choose a classic from your literature class or a piece of philosophy just because you think it will make you seem smarter. Writing fluently and passionately about a book close to you is always better than writing shakily or generally about a book that doesn't inspire you.

What is an extracurricular activity that has been meaningful to you?

Avoid slipping into clichés or generalities. Take this opportunity to really examine an experience that taught you something you didn't previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow. Sometimes it's better to write about something that was hard for you because you learned something than it is to write about something that was easy for you because you think it sounds admirable. As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: how you discovered this activity, what drew you to it, and what it's shown you about yourself.

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September 13, 2023

The Most Popular College Essay Prompts for 2023-2024

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With the 2023-2024 college admissions cycle in full swing and now that all of America’s highly selective universities have released their supplemental essay prompts , let’s analyze the most popular types of essay questions asked of applicants to the Class of 2028. So here goes!

Most Common Supplemental Essay Prompts for 2023-2024

While there are many supplemental essay prompts across the highly selective universities for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle, we at Ivy Coach have distinguished four prompts as the ones that pop up the most. These four types of supplemental essays are as follows:

The Why College Essay Prompt

Most of America’s elite universities ask applicants why they wish to attend their institutions. Why do they ask this question? Because America’s elite universities are a tad insecure, and they’re trying to control their yields (or the percentage of accepted students who choose to enroll). Asking students why they wish to attend is a proven way of measuring a student’s Demonstrated Interest — or the likelihood they’ll matriculate.

When students respond to Why College essay prompts and fill their answers with names of professors or classes or generic sentences that can apply to virtually any school in America, they’ve fallen through the trap door of effectively proving to the school that they’d attend if admitted. Admissions officers don’t want to waste offers of admission on students who — no matter how well qualified — have no intention of enrolling. It’s why a student can get into Harvard University but be denied to Cornell University. Harvard, we at Ivy Coach have long argued, is the only school that truly doesn’t care about Demonstrated Interest because Harvard knows students wish to attend. When a school’s yield is over 84% , as it was for the Class of 2027, they have that luxury!

Top Colleges with Why College Essay Prompts

The following elite universities have versions of Why College essay prompts. Some of these prompts are worded differently than others, but they’re all essentially asking the same question:

The Why Major Essay Prompt

Many of America’s top colleges ask why students wish to major in the disciplines they’ve selected on the application. They want to understand the origin story of a student’s chief academic interest. Too often, applicants set this origin story during their childhoods when it would behoove them to set it during their high school years.

Top Colleges with Why Major Essay Prompts

The following elite universities have versions of Why Major essay prompts. Some of these prompts are worded differently than others, but they’re all essentially asking the same question:

The Why College/Why Major Hybrid Essay Prompt

Many of America’s top colleges ask an essay with essentially two parts: Why Major and Why College. Thus, their essay should include the origin story of their interest in their chosen field and specifics about the program at the school that only apply to this particular institution.

Top Colleges with Why College/Why Major Hybrid Essay Prompts

The following elite universities have versions of Why College/Why Major hybrid essay prompts. Some of these prompts are worded differently than others, but they’re all essentially asking the same question:

The Community/Background Essay Prompt

In the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s decision to outlaw Affirmative Action , many of America’s elite universities added this prompt to their supplements this year. The prompt capitalizes on Chief Justice John Roberts ’ own words in the majority opinion banning the consideration of race in admissions decision-making.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “Nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.”

The schools that ask this prompt offer all applicants a chance to tell their stories. But by focusing on candidates’ backgrounds, it’s also an opportunity for underrepresented minority applicants to write about their race so these schools can continue to admit diverse classes.

Top Colleges with Community/Background Essay Prompts

The following elite universities have versions of Community/Background essay prompts. Some of these prompts are worded differently than others, but they’re all essentially asking the same question:

Two Schools Deserving of Praise for Their Supplemental Essay Prompts

While many elite universities included a community/background question on their supplements this admissions cycle, few included the word “race” in the language of their questions.

After all, with these questions, America’s elite schools are capitalizing on the loophole penned by Chief Justice Roberts in the majority opinion outlawing Affirmative Action. They want to walk a fine line between continuing to admit a diverse class without facing litigation for not obeying the Supreme Court’s decision.

But there are two  highly selective universities that bucked the trend and dared include the word “race” in their community/background questions: Johns Hopkins University and Rice University. In the world of college admissions, for bucking the trend and staring the Supreme Court right in the eyes, these schools are deserving of Profiles in Courage .

A School Deserving of Criticism for a Supplemental Essay Prompt

And while we applaud Johns Hopkins and Rice for daring to include the word “race” in their supplemental essay questions, we wish to shame the University of Virginia for asking what we at Ivy Coach have deemed the most outrageously inappropriate supplemental essay prompt on any of America’s elite college applications this year. That optional prompt is as follows:

If you have a personal or historic connection with UVA, and if you’d like to share how your experience of this connection has prepared you to contribute to the university, please share your thoughts here. Such relationships might include, but are not limited to, being a child of someone who graduated from or works for UVA, a descendant of ancestors who labored at UVA, or a participant in UVA programs.

While UVA’s admissions committee may defend asking this question with the misguided argument that it’s  optional , that’s  nonsense . UVA’s admissions committee is giving more space to mostly privileged students — the children of alumni and students who attended fancy shmancy UVA summer programs . As such, most students will choose not to answer the essay.

But that’s a mistake because any essay that’s optional in elite college admissions should not be considered  optional . Instead, it’s an opportunity for an applicant to make their case for admission, to tell their story. How dare UVA’s admissions committee give extra space for legacy applicants and students who attended fancy shmancy UVA summer programs!

Get with the times, UVA! Legacy admission is on the way out, especially after the SCOTUS ruling outlawing Affirmative Action. Yet, your institution — a public flagship, no less — is seemingly doubling down on legacy status. Your founder, Thomas Jefferson, didn’t write our Declaration of Independence from an aristocracy so you could perpetuate a ruling class in our American meritocracy. Shame on UVA!

All that said, we encourage  every  applicant to respond to this 100-word question. You don’t need to be a legacy. You don’t need to have attended a UVA summer camp. Just fill the essay with Why UVA specifics. Treat it as a typical Why College essay. Regretfully, we just suspect most students will think the essay doesn’t apply to them — through no fault of their own — and leave it blank.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with College Essays

If you’re looking to optimize your case for admission to America’s highly selective universities by submitting essays that inspire admissions officers to root for you, fill out Ivy Coach ’s free consultation form , and we’ll be in touch to outline our college admissions counseling services for applicants to the Class of 2028.

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Best college essay topics for 2023-2024

The best college essay topics for 2023-2024.

Bonus Material: To check out 30 real examples of essays that worked to get students into schools like Princeton, click the link: Download 30 College Essays That Worked

If you’re getting started on your college application essays, you’re probably looking around for the perfect topic to write about. What isn’t cliche? What will make you stand out? What will get you into your dream school?

PrepMaven’s college essay coaches have helped countless students choose their topics and craft compelling personal statements for the college application process. While we love making our resources freely available on this blog, we always recommend getting personalized help from one of our essay experts . 

In this guide, we break down what you need to know about choosing a college essay topic, and we’ll also cover some topics that you might want to consider–and some you’ll likely want to avoid. 

Download 30 College Essays That Worked

Jump to section: What makes a good college essay topic? So, what kinds of topics work best for college essays? Essay topics to avoid Next steps

What makes a good college essay topic?

While it’s true that a really good writer can write a great essay about anything, it definitely helps to have an interesting and unique topic for college admissions essays. 

College admissions officers will read essays from thousands of other applicants. That means even if you write an incredible essay about a cliche topic, you’re going to risk losing the admissions committee’s attention before you can win them over with your great writing. 

So, how do you decide what makes a good college essay topic? While there’s no objective set of rules, there are guidelines that are backed up by years of experience working with all sorts of student essays. 

Below, check out our list of 7 Qualities of a Great College Essay Topic. 

The best college essay topics should: 

best college essay questions

  • This is always tricky. You don’t have to be a child prodigy to have something interesting to write about. What we really mean here is you should avoid an essay topic if you think it’s likely lots of other people have written about it in the same way. 
  • Remember: the point of this essay is to show how you’ve become the kind of mature, self-aware person who’s ready for college. The specific story you tell only matters insofar as it lets you show the admissions committee how you became that person. 
  • Colleges want students who are passionate! Whatever you write about, it should be something that presents you to college admission officers as someone with interests, passions, and goals. 
  • Don’t overlook this! If you pick a topic just because it seems like what you should write about, odds are you’ll be bored by it. And if you’re bored by it, how could someone else find it interesting?

best college essay questions

  • People often forget about this, but there’s a reason college essays are also often called “personal essays” or “personal statements.” These essays aren’t meant to prove that you’re smart, or that you’re qualified for a particular job. They’re about what kind of person you are, how you view the world, and what kind of member you’d be of the college community. 
  • There are exceptions to this, but you should generally refrain from writing about something that happened in the distant past. The simple reason for that is that college admissions officers want to see who you are now , and most things that happened in early childhood won’t really help them do that. 
  • Naturally, you want to come off well! But students often try too hard to impress, listing their accomplishments or rattling off resume points. Remember that the colleges already have all that info–putting it in your essay will make it seem like you’re a little bit too obsessed with what you’ve already done. 

For our guide on how to brainstorm the best topic for you, check out our post on the Diamond Strategy here. 

So, what kinds of topics work best for college essays?

Because you’re unique, your best college application essay topic likely will be too. We’re not going to list out all the topics of the best essays we’ve seen, precisely because these topics are specific to the people who wrote about them. If you haven’t had to, say, renovate a home by yourself or invent a machine with your father, it won’t help you much to hear that other people wrote great essays on those topics. 

But there are certain kinds of topics that lend themselves much better to strong essays. Here, we’ll list a few of those, though of course you might come up with something totally different for yourself. 

So, what kinds of topics usually work best?

  • This can be a number of things. Many great essays have been written about the experiences of growing up a member of a marginalized or minority community. Others have been written about students’ familial or religious backgrounds. The key in either case: show how experiences linked to this identity have helped you understand some aspect of the world. 

best college essay questions

  • Do you fly planes recreationally? Spend hours each week creating sculptures? Do research in a particular field? Anything of this sort makes for a great essay topic: it’s unusual and lets you explore how this activity helped shape who you are. 
  • Experiences with discrimination, financial difficulties, and even some family problems can be really effective topics. The key: these must be serious problems that were not caused by you, and that you have made some progress in overcoming. Avoid anything that may pose a red flag for admissions committees. 
  • Note: there are lots of obstacles you shouldn’t write about We’ll include a list of these in the section on Internal Link to “Essay topics to avoid” 
  • That’s a bit general, but it has to be, since this looks so different for everyone. But if there was an experience that truly, profoundly changed you for the better, it’s likely to be a great topic (so long as it isn’t in our list of Topics to avoid below). 

Below, we’ve linked a free collection of 30 college essays that worked to get students into schools like Princeton. Read through those, and note how the topics chosen by the students relate to the broad categories we’ve outlined above. 

Essay topics to avoid

While there’s likely a way to write about almost anything successfully, there are some topics that–generally–aren’t worth the risk. 

What makes a topic risky?

Well, think about it this way: your college admissions application is really an attempt to convince a room full of adults that you’ll not only be a good community member and student, but also that you won’t cause problems for the university. Problems can include anything from being someone who ignores rules to being someone who drops out or takes time off from school (remember that universities are always trying to keep their 4-year graduation rates high). 

But something else that can make a college essay topic risky is just that it’s boring! If you write about something cliche or typical, it’ll be much, much harder for you to say something original or interesting about it. And if you can’t say anything original or interesting, then your college admissions essay won’t help you get into that school.

With that in mind, here’s a list of college essay topics that should almost always be avoided :

best college essay questions

  • We know: this is a real bummer for any student athlete who’s really poured their heart into their game. But the reality of it is this: successful essays on sports are extremely rare . It’s just too hard to say anything original about something that so many people have written about. 
  • Another topic to avoid almost always. Why? While the attitudes around this are changing somewhat, revealing a mental health issue will raise a red flag for many admissions officers, who may view it as a risk to your ability to navigate college life. 
  • What we mean by this is any type of essay that recounts an experience you had with a less fortunate group of people–people in poorer countries or communities, people with disabilities, the homeless, etc.–just to say that seeing their struggles helped you understand “how lucky you are.” 
  • Exception: if you’ve actually done specific work in this kind of community and that has shaped how you view your future goals, your academic pursuits, or social issues, that’s different. The key is: did you actually do something meaningful to help this group, and/or will you continue to do so?
  • While heartbreak and fights with friends are a normal and often important part of life, they don’t make good college admissions essays. Not only will it come off as immature, but it’s also the kind of topic that’s cliche and boring. 
  • It might seem clever at first, but writing the essay about how you’re writing the college essay, or directly addressing the admissions committee, or writing about how you don’t want to address one of the prompts–all of these have been done before, and are now almost guaranteed to annoy admissions committees. 

best college essay questions

  • Don’t write an angry essay, period. Did a coach unfairly ruin your chances of playing on the team? Did a teacher arbitrarily deduct points because he hated you? That’s a shame, but leave it out of your essay. 

While all the above are controversial topics you’re better off avoiding, some of them can be made to work with the right kind of essay. But the risks are high, and it’ll be much tougher to write a successful college essay on one of these topics. 

Though everyone would benefit from working with an essay expert, if you’re considering writing on a topic you think might be risky, you would especially benefit by getting a second opinion from a writing expert who’s helped many other students craft compelling essays. 

In the meantime, check out our collection of 30 successful college application essays and note what kinds of topics those students focused on as you prepare to write your own. 

After you review the sample essays we’ve provided here, start thinking about what personal experiences from your own life might work as a topic for your college application essay. 

As you get started with the college admissions process, check out our other linked posts below, which cover everything from brainstorming to proofreading!

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best college essay questions

8 Questions Your College Essay Should Answer

Your college essay should reflect your opinions and experiences and display clear and critical thinking. It’s more than a list of facts or a highlight reel of successes; it helps college admissions officers understand your character. So show them who you are. Set yourself apart from other candidates by painting a vivid picture of yourself.

Colleges may provide writing prompts or leave the topic up to you. Whether requirements are specific or vague, your college essay should answer important questions to grab the attention of each college admissions officer who reads it.

How Important Is the College Essay?

It depends . If you have a high GPA, competitive test scores, and stand-out extracurricular activities, acceptance is less likely to hinge on your essay. If you’re on the borderline, an essay can’t make up for inadequate scores or stats, but a good essay might give you the edge over another student.

Even at top schools, college essays can make a difference by allowing your personality, passions, and determination to show through. Schools like students with a track record of success. Your essay can show them where you shine and what benefits you’d bring to their community.

According to the College Board, “a majority of colleges and universities believe the essay to be of considerable or moderate importance in determining which academically qualified students they would choose.” Since colleges take essays seriously, you should, too.

Questions to Answer

Including all the facts, feelings, and impressions necessary to set you apart in 600 words is a tall order, but you can do it. Below are questions your college essay might address to get the right kind of attention. Consider these common prompts before you write. Then write to the supplied prompt or choose your own focus. First create an outline and estimate how long each section should be before you start writing. Some schools put no upper limit on size, but if you write more than 700 words, overworked admissions officers become frustrated. Aim for about 550 to 600 words.

1. How can you foster your passion and love of learning at this school?

If you mention specific things about a college, get the facts straight. Mention courses, programs, or opportunities that show you’ve done research. Don’t feel you need to praise the school too much. This isn’t about buttering people up; it’s about showing how you’d fit into the college environment. Share something specific to emphasize what makes you a good fit. Describe how the school would benefit from your presence. Mention planned majors or extracurriculars that show how you’d take advantage of their resources. Demonstrate that you’re ready to be active in classes, leadership opportunities, or other activities.

2. What are your long-term goals?

Show that you’re self-aware. Share your plans. Don’t know what you’ll major in? Focus on your most likely general field of study. Discuss what drew you to it and what you’ll do in future. How is the college the best place for you to meet those goals? Focus on one or two; don’t mention too many things without addressing any in depth.

3. Do you intend to go to graduate school?

This question assesses planning abilities and awareness of strengths. If you see yourself going on to graduate school, describe what you’ll study. Express how you’ll use undergraduate time to prepare for that future. Describe resources that will help you achieve your goals.

Show that you’re open to considering further study once you see how you develop during college. Even if you don’t intend to go to grad school, demonstrate that you’re a devoted student. Focus on how you’ll benefit from undergraduate work. Describe how much it matters to have a first-rate undergrad education.

best college essay questions

4. Do you take initiative? Are you self-motivated?

A cardinal rule of good writing is: Show, don’t tell. Don’t tell colleges how important something is— show them what you’ve done. Describe times when you’ve taken action. Write about instances when discipline and persistence helped you. Show evidence of initiative and determination. Describe examples of self-starting behavior so readers imagine you in action.

5. How involved are you in extracurriculars? What have you learned from them?

Extracurriculars show evidence of determination, creativity, teamwork, passion, or civic-mindedness. They clarify what you value, what motivates you, what sets you apart. Give examples of ways you’ve pushed yourself outside of school. Which challenges did you overcome? Focus on one or two and make an impression with personal details.

6. Have you gone beyond the high school curriculum to challenge yourself?

Describing extracurriculars that show talents and interests is valuable. Consider also showing concern for others. Have you volunteered, tutored, been a counselor, helped parents with their business, or worked after school? How do you challenge yourself as part of a team? Help readers see how well you’d integrate into their community.

7. How do you overcome obstacles and problems?

Don’t talk about lofty principles; give examples of problems you’ve solved. Write about ways in which you’ve overcome obstacles. Willingness to get help is good—knowing limits is healthy. Being willing to get assistance and learn from others is impressive. If you show how you’ve improved after getting help, you show willingness to stick to difficult tasks.

8. What sets you apart from other applicants?

Don’t list characteristics; focus on behaviors. Enthusiasm, attitude, and drive are easier to see if you explain that you used them to start a club, work at a dog shelter, or build a boat. Let readers imagine you doing and succeeding. Share times you did something you’re proud of. Let that behavior illuminate who you are.

Once you’ve written your college essay, set it aside, then  re-read it with fresh eyes. Get at least one person (a teacher or counselor is ideal) to proofread i it. Show what you care about and what makes you different. Then you’ll really shine!

Things to Keep in Mind Before You Write

If you’re supplied with a writing prompt, read it carefully. Your essay shows how well you follow directions. Some schools don’t ask a question or suggest a topic; those that do want to see that you address it directly. Don’t let your essay feel generic or written to answer a different prompt.

What’s the reason for the prompt? What does the college hope to learn? Sarah Myers McGinty , author of The College Application Essay , says essays often uncover how well a student might fit at the school, or show whether a student can do the work. She says colleges tend to ask three kinds of questions:

  • You questions about who are you and what you’d offer to the college community
  • Why us questions about why you think the college would be a good fit
  • Creative questions that give you chances to share inventive, original thoughts

Before writing to a prompt, take time to consider what kind of question it asks. What is the college really interested in learning about you? Write to address that interest.

Make answers specific and personal. Don’t write too broadly. Don’t tell your life story or echo the rest of your application. Focus on one thing in detail. Make your story something readers won’t find elsewhere. It should be less about experiences than about how you respond to them. Differentiate yourself from others.

Don’t just describe what happened—reflect on it. Just telling a story isn’t the point. Giving a glimpse into how you think is more important. Show what insights you’ve gained from experiences.

Creative doesn’t mean unfocused. If a college essay prompt is meant to show creativity, you must still write a detailed, logical essay with a point. Avoid meandering or pretention. Even off-the-wall prompts require well-written responses. Don’t let parents or teachers influence your style so much that you sound like they do. Write in your own voice. Also, stick to the truth; don’t embellish your history.

Be careful with humor. Writing vividly without trying to be funny usually works best. Show enthusiasm but avoid jokes or humor that might offend or confuse admissions officers or professors who read what you write.

Don’t write a sob story. Students often write about unusual challenges. Stories about adversity have built-in drama and evoke sympathy. But sympathy alone won’t get you admitted. Don’t rely too heavily on emotions; include important facts. If you focus on challenges, describe how you overcame them.

For more ideas about writing a college essay, check out these articles in the CollegeVine blog:

How to Prepare for College Level Writing in High School

What Is a College Personal Statement?

4 Ways Parents Can Help Their Teen with College Essays

Want help with your college essays to improve your admissions chances? Sign up for your free CollegeVine account and get access to our essay guides and courses. You can also get your essay peer-reviewed and improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

best college essay questions

227 Amazing College Persuasive Essay Topics [Free Ideas]

best college essay questions

Ever wondered what a persuasive essay is? Are you struggling to differentiate it from an argumentative one? Do you think it’s impossible to find original persuasive speech topics for college students?

If you have answered yes to any question, you’ve come to the right place. Our team can help you!

A persuasive essay is a piece of academic writing that convinces readers to accept the author’s position and agree with their ideas. Through clear arguments and examples, the writer demonstrates the legitimacy of their point of view.

Below, we have provided a list of the most interesting and unique college persuasive essay topics. So, don’t waste any more of your time searching for the right title. Use our ideas and create an outstanding persuasive essay!

  • 👉 How to Choose?
  • ✨ Best Speech Topics
  • 🎓 Ideas on Education
  • 📜 Topics on History
  • ⚖ Ideas on Politics
  • 👍 Topics on Sociology
  • 💰 Ideas on Economics
  • 🚌 Transportation
  • 🌿 Environment
  • ⚙ Technology
  • 🌍 Traveling
  • ✌ Lifestyle
  • 🏫 Teenagers
  • 📚 Literature
  • 🖐 25 More Topics

👉 How to Choose a Persuasive Essay Topic for College?

The main secret of the successful persuasive essay is a compelling topic. Therefore, when choosing the right persuasive topic, follow these few simple pieces of advice:

  • Re-read the assignment . The task that you’ve received from your tutor can be of great assistance. You just have to read it correctly. Unfortunately, college students tend to underestimate the power of the question. Don’t make this mistake. Read your assignment carefully because it can provide clues on the topic to look for.
  • Brainstorm ideas. Before writing any paper, college students have to research. It will ensure the argumentative part of the persuasive essay. To understand what to examine, have an ideation session, and consider a variety of ideas. Picking the most appropriate one, you’ll see where to start your research. Try to find as many topics as you can. Free college essays collection is a good place to check out as a part of your session. You’ll be able to see what topics are already covered, and what you can expand upon. It will make your investigation and writing processes easier!
  • Don’t pick an idea if it’s too broad . You may think that in this case, you’ll have plenty of things to argue about. Well, maybe a bit too many. In your essay, you should cover an entire topic so that it sounds convincing. When the idea is too broad, you can’t fit every argument in one paper. So, specify your title. For instance, you want to persuade your readers to stay healthy. Then don’t investigate all the aspects of maintaining health. Focus on one specific issue. For example, explore the positive influence of sport on the general health condition of a human being.
  • Ensure that you have credible sources. In some colleges, even the smallest essays may require a list of references. Thus, make sure you have materials to research and later list as your sources. Remember: Good persuasive paper topics for college have to offer a wide variety of sources to investigate. So, if you are not confident in your materials, better change the title. It will prevent you from a lack of evidence to support your arguments.
  • Choose a topic of personal interest. We’re not compelling you to write something that you enjoy when it contradicts the assignment. But try to select an idea that doesn’t bore you from reading it out loud. It is always more pleasurable to write on a topic you are passionate about. Don’t miss your chance to make turn your essay writing process into an exciting activity.
  • Select something you have an opinion about, but open to debate. Your tutors can disagree with your position. Nevertheless, it is not a reason to give up. It’s the right time to show your critical thinking skills. State your position clearly and provide convincing arguments to support it. Show your readers that you can change your position if you see some compelling data. It can give you some extra credit. The best persuasion topics for college create an environment for debates and discussions.
  • Be unique! In colleges, the amount of papers done daily is enormous. Don’t make your professors read about the importance of waste sorting, for example, yet again. The topic of environmental protection is undoubtedly extremely significant. However: It is way too overused. The professors are tired of reading essays on the same issues again and again. Surprise them and stand out.

Finding an original topic for a persuasive essay is tricky.

✨ 12 Best Persuasive Speech Topics for College Students

  • How important is mental health?
  • Is online school more effective?
  • Are GMO products good?
  • Is social media dangerous?
  • What’s wrong with the education system?
  • Does recycling work?
  • Is veganism bad for the environment?
  • Should foreign policy be feminist?
  • Is marriage an obsolete institution?
  • Can protests and demonstrations bring change?
  • Can alternative medicine actually work?
  • Is modern advertising unethical?

🔑 Essential College Persuasive Essay Topics

We bet, every college student at least once had an assignment to write a persuasive essay. Haven’t you had yet? The best is yet to come! Thus, you have to be prepared to face all the challenges of a persuasive essay composing.

Searching for interesting persuasive essay topics is a complicated issue. However, you don’t have to worry about it. Our team of experts gathered the most popular and effective ideas in one place.

Don’t stress out about the topic:

Take a look at our list of persuasive essay topics for college students. We divided our ideas into sections so that you can find the most appropriate one. So, you can easily navigate throughout our page for a more effective search.

🎓 College Persuasive Essay Ideas on Education

  • An educational system should encourage creativity .
  • Student diversity should be present in a school classroom .
  • Why should college students care about their mental and physical health?
  • Why should we stop girls’ discrimination in the modern educational system?
  • Why should computer science programs be taught in colleges and universities?
  • Why should parents take part in their children’s education?

Parents should participate in their children's studying for numerous reasons.

  • Why reading performance of students with learning disabilities should be improved?
  • Studying abroad results in better education.
  • Homework does not help in the learning process.
  • The costs of higher education should be reduced.
  • A grade does not show a student’s knowledge.
  • The Internet overuse blocks the mental development of a modern teenager.
  • Education should not depend on technologies.
  • Essay writing develops the critical thinking skills of students.
  • Foreign language learning should be mandatory in school . Conduct research on how foreign languages influence children and teenagers. What are the positive sides of such education? Then, persuade your readers that foreign languages are essential in the school core curriculum.
  • Art classes should be a priority in middle school . Elaborate on the importance of the development of the sense of art for children and teenagers. Why should art classes be higher in the list of priorities than technical or science courses? How can the right perception of art help pupils in future life?
  • The core curriculum of the high school should not be too broad. Why do we have to narrow down our focus in high school? Explain how teenagers will benefit from studying particular subjects instead of getting general knowledge. Convince your readers about the importance of focusing on a specific field in high school.
  • A gap year before entering the university is beneficial. Give persuading evidence why students should take a gap year. What are the advantages? Make your readers debate whether a gap year is worth considering. Finally, convince them that it is worth it.
  • Mobile phones should not be allowed in school. State your position regarding the usage of smartphones during the learning process. What adverse ramifications do the mobile phones have on the academic results of pupils? Persuade your readers to prohibit phone usage in school.
  • Traditional education is more effective than remote learning . How the benefits of the conventional way of learning outweigh the advantages of remote education? Compare the aspects of remote learning for different age groups: 1st grade age, 6th grade age, and a college student.

📜 College Persuasive Essay Topics on History

  • The American Revolution was a turning point in USA history.
  • The year 1763 is crucial in US history.
  • The media played a crucial role in promoting the Vietnam War .
  • We shouldn’t underestimate the significance of African-American social reform.
  • Technological advancement of the 17th century was a new era in world history.
  • Without Enlightenment and Romantic Age , the European culture wouldn’t be so progressive nowadays.

Enlightenment took over the period of the 17th and 18th centuries.

  • People should’ve stopped the propaganda of Adolf Hitler and Jim Jones before the intensive development.
  • The historical influence of Abraham Lincoln should become a role model for modern political figures.
  • Americans should have abolished slavery in the United States way earlier.
  • The four voyages by Christopher Columbus are crucial in the progress of world history.
  • Cultural exchanges in the medieval period significantly impacted the civilizations.
  • Protestant reformation was the most influential Christian movement.
  • Japanese women in the Middle Ages should have been more powerful.
  • The world war should never happen again.
  • The age of exploration . Who are the key figures? How did they impact world history formation? Convince your readers of the importance of the age of exploration.
  • The Mayan calendar system did not predict the end of the world . Investigate the Mayan calendar system. What is your explanation of the fact that the calendar system ended in the year 2012? Persuade your readers that the suggestions about the end of the world in 2012 are false.
  • Racial discrimination in America violated human rights to a great extend . Give a brief overview of racial discrimination in the USA. Persuade the readers to perceive racial discrimination as an act of human rights violation.
  • Apollo 11 – the first spaceflight that landed people on the Moon . Discuss the importance of this event. Convince your readers about the significance of the Moon exploration.
  • History studying should become the top priority for students. The knowledge of history may help to prevent mistakes from the past. So, persuade your readers to explore historical events.
  • Holocaust should not be justified and denied . What are the horrible consequences of holocaust tragedy? Analyze an opinion regarding the denial of the holocaust. Persuade the readers not to support this idea.

⚖ College Persuasive Essay Ideas on Politics

  • Civil rights of black Americans should not be limited.
  • Migration should not be restricted because it has certain benefits to modern countries .
  • In the battle of socialism vs. democracy , the second one should win.

Why is socialism becoming so popular in democratic states?

  • Nationalism in international relations should be accepted.
  • E-government should become transparent and accountable for the citizens .
  • Celebrities should stay aside from political activities.
  • The laws for each state of America should become common.
  • A voting system should be transparent.
  • Ordinary people should not be allowed to own guns.
  • The federal tax return process should become more manageable.
  • Individual rights versus the common good . Express your position regarding the issue. What do you support: individual rights or common good? Persuade the readers to follow your ideas.
  • Gay marriage should be allowed . If you don’t agree with the topic, express the opposing opinion. Elaborate on your arguments and provide counterarguments. Exclude harsh comments and offensive language from the narrative.
  • The death penalty cannot be justified . Why do you think so? Give clear arguments to support your opinion. If you believe that the death penalty is justifiable, prove your position.
  • Electronic voting in the United States should not be banned . Present the positive sides of this way of voting and convince the readers in your rightness. Don’t you agree with this opinion? Then, provide counterarguments.
  • Abortion should be legal . Provide clear arguments to express your position. Or provide counterarguments to contradict the idea of abortion legalization.

👍 College Persuasive Essay Topics on Sociology

  • Community services should be provided for mentally disabled people .
  • Equality and diversity are the main social issues .
  • Interpersonal communication skills are crucial in modern society.
  • Gender inequalities in the 21st century should be overcome .
  • Should the Canadian government legalize prostitution?
  • Max Weber’s rationality theory should be accepted by society .
  • China should take specific steps to overcome the overpopulation problem .
  • Gender stereotypes in a family should be dismantled.

Present studies aim to fill a gap in the literature on gender role attitudes and family dynamics.

  • Abusive relationships in a family should not be hidden.
  • Implementing more tough punishments on the lawbreakers should reduce the crime rates of the USA.
  • Does family promote or limit mobility? Choose one side of the issue and provide clear arguments to support your ideas.
  • Divorce has negative effects on children . Do you agree with this statement? Convince the readers to accept your point of view by stating your position clearly and powerfully.
  • Birth control should be monitored on a governmental level. Express your opinion regarding birth control in modern society. Conduct a study on the cultural, religious, and political aspects of the birth control issue.
  • Is there the right age to get married? Decide if there are any age suggestions to create a family or no? Support your choice with bright ideas and appropriate examples.
  • To resolve the conflict, we need to know the nature of the conflict . Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Provide strong arguments to make people believe in your point of view. How do you think psychology works while resolving the conflict?

💰 College Persuasive Essay Ideas on Economics

  • Competing theories are the core of economic development.
  • We have to consider John Locke’s and Karl Marx’s economic ideas nowadays.
  • Demand and supply correlation in the market matters a lot.
  • Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” concept can improve modern economics .
  • If we want to stabilize the economy, we have to implement the monetary policy .
  • Should big banks be broken up?
  • We should consider the relationship between money supply and inflation while preventing the high level of inflation.
  • We shouldn’t take the Keynesian explanation of the recession too seriously.
  • Industrialization plays a significant role in economic development.
  • Small business owners should receive financial support during the period of crisis.

As an example or evidence for this persuasive topic, talk about the COVID-19 crisis.

  • The governments should reduce monopoly power.
  • The role of understanding the goals of human resource management in the context of human capital theory . Explain the significance of effective HR management for a business flourishing. Persuade your readers to invest enough resources in human capital.
  • Exchange regimes have a significant impact on macroeconomic performance . Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Provide well-developed arguments to prove your point of view. Persuade your readers to accept your position.
  • Consumer behavior is different in every country. If you agree, develop this idea by providing strong arguments. If you don’t, state your position. Either way, support your arguments with supporting evidence. Make your readers follow your opinion.
  • The understanding of the basic concepts of economics is essential for every person . Explain how the knowledge of economics can help people to manage their money wisely. How to survive during the crisis? How to lead a business successfully, etc. Persuade your readers to study the basics of economics.

💡 Interesting College Persuasive Essay Topics

Are you already impressed with a diversity of topics our team collected for you? But don’t think that’s all we have to offer for you. Since our mission is to help you, we have more persuasive essay ideas for college to share.

Below, you can find more fascinating ideas for your assignments. For your convenience, we divided persuasive essay topics for college into several sections. Investigate our ideas and don’t hesitate to use them.

🚌 Transportation Persuasive Essay Topics

  • Planes should newer take off if weather conditions are inappropriate .
  • Never drive a car if you are under the alcohol or drug effect .
  • Hybrid cars are environmentally friendly, so they should become the future of the transportation industry .
  • Why should people study driving?
  • The usage of alternative energy resources should reshape the global transportation infrastructure .
  • The governments should invest enough money in public transport advancement .
  • Cars usage should be regulated .
  • A school bus should be checked at least once a month to ensure the safety of pupils.
  • The reserves of petroleum should be replenished to provide a proper transportation industry operation.
  • The shipping of essential goods during the state of emergency (quarantine, dangerous natural conditions, etc.) should be free.
  • We should use public transport instead of private cars to save the environment.
  • Hybrid engine vs. standard engine . Examine the positive and negative aspects of both of them. Which one would you prefer? Persuade your readers to support your opinion by giving clear arguments.
  • Information technology influences the logistics industry to a great extent . Provide appropriate examples of the IT impact on logistics. Convince your readers of the importance of your opinion.
  • The role of transportation in the development of tourism . Prove your audience that transportation progress has a direct impact on tourism opportunities.

Transportation plays a vital role in tourism.

  • We have to reduce the use of crude oil in the transportation industry . What are the possible adverse ramifications of such oil usage? Persuade your readers to limit applying this type of fuel. If you don’t agree with the idea, express the opposing opinion. Elaborate on your arguments and provide counterarguments.

🌿 Environmental Persuasive Essay Topics

  • The government should control the overpopulation to prevent consequences for the environment .
  • Human activity should be limited to preserve biodiversity .
  • We have to examine an ecologically sustainable approach .
  • Alternative energy sources are essential for saving the planet .
  • We should try our best to live a zero-waste lifestyle .
  • Saving endangered species must be a top priority issue for environmental organizations.
  • Solar energy can save the environment.
  • Hunting sports should be banned because they harm biodiversity.
  • The conservation of global resources is necessary for maintaining the lifecycle of the planet.
  • Waste sorting should be mandatory all around the world.
  • Stopping deforestation will prevent the loss of natural habitat for animals.
  • Tourism negatively affects wildlife. Comment no the negative consequences of traveling on nature. If you believe that tourism does not harm wildlife, provide counterarguments to claim your position.
  • Farming has to be wise. Explain how intensive farming damages nature. Convince your readers about the importance of following the farming rules. They can help to prevent intensive farming’s adverse ramifications.
  • The Prime Days on Amazon should be banned . Explain how the incredibly low prices on items during the Prime Days result in extremely high costs for the environment. Persuade your readers to resist the desire to buy unnecessary goods from Amazon.
  • Without rainforests, our planet will suffocate . Prove the significance of the preservation of the rainforests for the environment.

Tropical forests are responsible for around 34 percent of photosynthesis occurring on land.

⚙ Technology Persuasive Essay Ideas

  • Globalization influences computer technologies to a great extent .
  • The government should implement Internet censorship .
  • Cloud computing is an innovative era in computer science .
  • Cyberbullying should be controlled to prevent a negative influence on youth .
  • Dependency on computers is a considerable threat to human well-being .
  • Data and information security should be a top concern of every internet user .
  • Investing money in developing information technology systems is profitable for companies.
  • The internet blocks the development of human intelligence.
  • To prevent the development of serious illnesses, we should use genetic technology.
  • Technological advancement should focus on the improvement of the health sector.
  • We have to use technology wisely to make people smarter.
  • A scientific revolution started the technological advancement. Convince your readers about the importance of the scientific revolution in technological development. If you don’t agree with the topic, express the opposing opinion, providing counterarguments.
  • E-books or audiobooks will never replace paper books. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? State your position clearly and make your readers accept it.
  • Nowadays, society is too dependent on computer technologies . Comment on its negative and positive sides in the life of modern people. Persuade the readers not to overuse technology in everyday life.
  • Technology and science complement each other. Provide clear arguments to prove this idea or counterarguments to disprove it.

😃 Easy College Persuasive Topics

Do you think that persuasive essays have to cover only serious or global issues? Do you feel as if you have to be overwhelmed with the complexity of the subject? You are mistaken. A paper won’t become less successful if it explores even everyday life topics.

That’s why:

We prepared the next section of the article for you. Here you can find simple persuasive essay ideas for college students. Select a fascinating topic and compose an outstanding essay.

🎶 Persuasive Essay Ideas for College about Music

  • Music has a significant impact on culture .
  • Music preferences depend on personality type .
  • Music can influence our behavior .

Research suggests music can influence us a lot. It can impact illness, depression, spending, productivity, and our perception of the world.

  • Songs with lyrics that promote violent behavior should be banned.
  • A musician is not just a job; it is a vocation.
  • Medical workers should investigate the positive effect of music on mental illnesses’ treatment.
  • Music can be helpful in the learning process.
  • Good song lyrics can inspire people . Provide a sample of inspiring verses. How can it motivate listeners? Persuade the readers to pay attention to the song lyrics while listening to music.
  • A guitar is always a good idea for friendly gatherings . Prove to your readers that several songs played on a guitar can create a warm and cozy atmosphere.
  • Rap reflects violence. This is a generally accepted opinion. Do you agree or disagree with it? Prove your point of view by providing well-developed arguments.

🌍 Persuasive Topics for College on Traveling

  • While traveling, health and safety issues should be a top priority .
  • Tourism should be sustainable .
  • A trip to India will make you see the world from the other side.
  • Summer will become more memorable and fascinating if you travel.
  • Traveling broadens people’s minds.
  • Traveling with family or friends is an essential part of a happy life.
  • Spending a holiday on a trip is always more pleasurable than in front of a TV or computer.
  • Every person should visit Europe at least once in life. Explain why Europe is a must-see destination for every tourist.
  • People should travel as much as they want. Persuade people not to resist the desire to explore new places by listing the advantages of traveling.
  • Traveling is affordable for everyone. Persuade people to visit various countries, even with a limited budget.

Give some useful tips to persuade your reader to travel more.

✌ Persuasive Essay Ideas for College about Lifestyle

  • Parents should be responsible for their children’s obesity .
  • Proper nutrition and positive behavior prevent cancer .
  • A healthy lifestyle prevents aging .
  • Weight management programs and hypnotherapy are useful in maintaining good shape and a healthy organism .
  • An active way of life should replace a sedentary lifestyle to prevent heart diseases.
  • You should plan your weight loss process wisely.
  • Well-balanced nutrition is a way to a healthy and beautiful body.
  • Regular yoga and fitness will help you to maintain mental and physical wellness.
  • Regular physical activities and enough sleep can help students to study better.
  • Media influences the development of eating disorders . Explain the mechanisms media’s effect on eating disorders. Persuade your readers to pay enough attention to the information on social media.

📺 Persuasive Topics for College about Media

  • The role of mass media in modern society shouldn’t be underestimated .
  • Media affects the way people look at society .

Dr. Pamela Rutledge says about the media's influence on society.

  • TV shows have a negative influence on children .
  • Parents should control the effects of mass media advertising on teenagers .
  • Professional psychologists should review every cartoon before being released on television.
  • The information on the internet should be filtered to avoid the spreading of fake news.
  • Censorship is a must-have for modern television.
  • Old cartoons are more insightful than modern ones. Compare and contrast old and new animated films. Prove the usefulness of old ones. Convince the audience to make their children familiar with old cartoons.
  • Social media develops an inferiority complex among teenagers . How pictures of luxurious life in social networking sites influence adolescents’ self-esteem? Persuade the readers to filter the information seen in social media.
  • Mass media in the 1950s was more ethical than contemporary mass media. Analyze the ethical issues that are present in modern media. Why is following the ethical rules while sharing the information through the mass media vital?

🏫 Persuasive Essay Ideas for College on Teens

  • Both abstinence and sex education should be taught in high schools .
  • Professional psychologists or psychiatrists should treat anxiety disorders in children and adolescents .
  • Cheating in schools should be strictly punished.
  • Understanding teen depression is a crucial step in overcoming it.
  • The federal government should enact anti-bullying laws .
  • Bullying in school should be the main issue to deal with for the headteacher.
  • The teenage period requires constant monitoring of children’s behavior by parents and teachers.
  • Parents should have access to teenagers’ academic results.
  • The mental health of teens is precarious. Convince the readers to monitor and maintain adolescents’ mental health.
  • Parents should control social media usage by teenagers. Why should parents monitor the social networking accounts of their children? Explain why it is useful to teach teens how to behave on social media.

Persuade the parents to keep track of kids’ social networking activity.

📚 Persuasive Topics for College on Literature

  • Literature studying should be mandatory in schools.
  • Literature teaches us how to live a worthy life.
  • Robin Hood should become an example to follow.
  • You have to read some books several times throughout life to get the idea.
  • Lyric poetry may help in dealing with inner conflicts.
  • William Shakespeare is an outstanding figure of English literature that should always be appreciated.
  • Every person should have one book that will always remain their favorite one.
  • The theme of Romeo and Juliet will always remain relatable. Support this idea by providing compelling arguments and examples from the play. If you don’t agree with the statement, present clear counterarguments to prove your point of view.
  • The parents should read fairy tales to their children from early childhood. Persuade your audience to make their kids familiar with the fairy tales. Explain the importance of positive aspects of this genre of literature.
  • Dorian Gray and Oscar Wilde are connected. Describe Oscar Wilde’s background. Analyze how the author reflected his personality in the character of Dorian Gray. Convince your readers to accept your point of view. Propose examples from the book and the author’s biography.

🖐 25 More Topics to Persuade College Students

Here you can find a pleasant bonus from our team—25 more ideas to write about. You can use them not only for essays but also as persuasive speech topics for college.

So, take the benefit of our list of topics. Show an outstanding academic performance in the college.

College Persuasive Essay Topics: Family

  • A happy relationship should be based on trust and honesty.
  • In small and big families, parents should treat their children equally.
  • After giving birth, motherhood should become the primary concern of a woman’s life.
  • Parents should be the most significant support for their kids when they are sad, confused, or lost in life.
  • Children should take their retired parents to their home instead of the nursing home.

Support your position by providing strong arguments.

College Persuasive Essay Topics: Health

  • Physical activity is an effective way to prevent heart diseases.
  • People should quit smoking .
  • Mental health is not less important than physical health.
  • Well-balanced nutrition is key to a healthy body.
  • Taking care of general wellness should be everyone’s primary concern.

College Persuasive Essay Topics: Medicine

  • Strong pain killers should be sold by prescription only.
  • Drug prices should be set ethically .
  • Herbal medications are the safest.
  • Self-medication is extremely dangerous, even in the case of a simple cold or an allergy.
  • Differentiating various forms of medicines is essential . What is the working principle of a capsule, pill, syrup, etc.? Prove that the inappropriate application will not have an appropriate effect.

College Persuasive Essay Topics: Sports

  • Visiting a gym is extremely useful for our health .
  • Physical education should be mandatory in high school.
  • Extreme sports are only for professional athletes.
  • The governments should invest enough money in the development of sports schools.
  • Football is not only for boys. Women can create a successful football team, as well.

College Persuasive Essay Topics: Religion

  • Discrimination by religion or culture should not be acceptable in modern society.
  • Every person should have a right to choose a god or goddess to worship.
  • The representatives of different religions should be tolerant of each other.
  • The attitude towards wealth in Christianity differs from the perception of wealth in Islam.
  • Any other religious representatives should not criticize the central beliefs of Judaism .

Select a persuasive topic on a touchy subject with care.

Thank you for visiting our page! We hope the information was useful to you. Don’t forget to leave your comments and share the article with other students.

🔗 References

  • Persuasive Essays, Writing Resources, Hamilton College
  • Persuasive Essay Outline: HCC Learning Web, Houston Community College
  • Choosing a Topic for Your College Essay: Essay Writing Center, International Student
  • Choosing College Essay Topics: Accepted
  • 35 College Essay Prompts and Topics: Kayla Rutledge, SignUpGenius
  • How to Write a College Essay: Kelly Mae Ross, Devon Haynie, and Josh Moody for U.S. News
  • How To Answer the 2022-23 Common App Essay Prompts: College Essay Advisors
  • Writing a Political Science Essay: Charles King, Georgetown University
  • Writing a Paper about an Environmental Issue: Frederic Beaudry, ThoughtCo
  • Evidence: The Writing Center, the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill
  • Introducing Quotations and Paraphrases: UNSW Current Students
  • How Do I Write an Intro, Conclusion, & Body Paragraph: College of Literature, Science, and Arts, University of Michigan
  • Essay Writing Guide for Psychology Students: Saul McLeod, Simply Psychology
  • How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Writing Guides, Ultius
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10 Strategies for Writing a College Application Essay

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Strategies How to Write a College Application Essay

Your college essay, frequently asked questions about writing a college application essay.

Writing a college application essay can have an incredible influence on the college admissions committees . The essay is designed to give students a chance to really show colleges who they are and what they aspire to be. This is why it’s important to compose something that makes your personal statement stand out amongst the hundreds of other students.

You want to write something captivating and impactful without overwhelming the reader yet staying true to you. But between knowing where to start and what to write about, the essay itself seems almost impossible to conquer. And this is where I come in.

Today’s article focuses on my carefully crafted 10-step strategy for writing the perfect college application essay . With some colleges no longer considering factors like high school grades and standardized test scores (i.e., SAT and ACT scores ), the pressure to create a college application essay can be fierce but stress no more. With the help of these ten strategies, you will be on your way to writing the strong college application essay that just might get you a seat at your dream college. Let’s get right into it!

Visit our Scholarship blog for more insight on college-related topics, plus access to hundreds of exclusive scholarships . So, don’t wait. Start applying today !

Start Early:

Because the whole application process is tedious from beginning to end, you want to give yourself plenty of time to work on your essay. Be sure to start brainstorming ideas early and create and outline your essay. Not only will this give you an idea of how you want to structure your essay, but it will also provide an ample amount of time to work on the essay. If you start early, you will also have more than enough time to edit and go through multiple drafts until your final draft is complete.

Understand the Prompt:

Before you begin writing anything, make sure you fully understand the essay prompt. The last thing you want to do is write an essay that has nothing to do with the theme/prompt the school has given prospective students. Look into the essay’s guidelines beforehand to have a clear understanding of what your topic is. That way, you don’t waste words and time.

Show, Don’t Tell:

It’s easy to put words on a paper and call it an essay, but that’s boring (and lazy)! Show your readers what you want them to see; don’t just tell them. Use specific examples to illustrate your points and qualities. Try adding some humor in there to give them an even clearer sense of your personality, as well.

Whatever theme or prompts you are focusing on in your essay, just make sure you show who you truly are. Bring your readers on your journey through any experience you’re highlighting rather than just telling them you were there. Use your achievements and moments of clarity to draw them in. An admissions officer will want to see your colors, not just hear about them.

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Be Authentic:

This is the key and probably the most important part of your essay. Be authentic and unapologetically you. Write in your own voice, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Share your experiences, passions, and aspirations, but focus on how who you truly are, your values, and your goals. It’s easy to tell when something is forced, so stray away from generic tones and cliché jargon. Be fun, use humor, and showcase your natural tone. College admissions committees respect transparency and honesty as these characteristics usually line up with their institution’s values, so be authentically you.

Focus on a Specific Topic:

When you’re working on something like a college application essay where your goal is to stand out, it’s easy to ramble on about yourself, and that’s okay! But it’s important to know what is necessary and what overflow is. Choose a specific topic/theme that gives your story a way to showcase your personality and stick to it. You want to focus on key details and not details about the details. Stick to what you want to convey and use supporting information and/or characteristics.  

Structure Your Essay:

The key to a well-thought-out, formed essay is a strong outline. Organizing your thoughts will help you more than you know, so make sure you start your outline with a clear introduction that leads to strong body paragraphs that support your main points. And when all is said and done, you will wrap up your essay with an impressionable conclusion. You might go through a few outlines before you get to your final one, but that’s okay! Whatever works for you will shine through your essay.

writing an essay for college applications

Edit and Revise:

Editing is going to be your best friend. The first draft is always going to be a little messy, so make sure you go back and proofread your work for any grammar and spelling errors. The editing and writing process can also help you gain some clarity on what you are trying to convey to the college admissions committee. Because we’re the ones writing it, our thoughts make sense as soon they spill onto the paper, so proofreading your work will give you a chance to realign those thoughts and make it more coherent and smoother to read.

And since you’re the one writing it, it’s easy to overlook typos and missed punctuation, so I suggest taking breaks. And this can go any way! You can complete the first few paragraphs and then take a break; you can do one paragraph at a time or even the entire essay and then take a break. Whichever way you choose to go when it comes to writing essays, stepping back from your words can help you regain that sharp eye that will catch the errors.

Seek Feedback:

If you’re anything like me, you don’t like to bother people or ask for help, but for your college application essay, you have to put that aside. Don’t be afraid to ask teachers, counselors, your parents, peers, and friends to read your essay and provide constructive feedback in areas that need improvement. A second, third, and even fourth set of eyes will be able to catch things you can’t. Just be sure the people you know will set time aside to help you.

Also, request that your readers tell you what they gained from the essay. Did you perceive yourself well, did you miss anything, should you include a detail you don’t think it relevant to personal essay, but they do? You want to make sure your essay represents you academically, professionally, and personally, so listen closely to what they have to say and revise until it’s ready to go.

Be Positive:

Though I know it’s important to share your experiences and stories in your applications essay, I want to make sure you don’t focus on the negative aspects of your experiences (if any!). Colleges want to see their prospective student’s personalities and how they get through even the happiest of life experiences, and not just the challenging ones. Focus on your strengths, achievements, and growth while maintaining a positive and optimistic tone throughout your essay.

Leave them wanting more:

The goal point of your application’s essay is to stand out, so ending your essay with a strong closing sentence will amplify the reader’s interest that much more. Not only will these strategies inspire a well-written and authentic essay, but they can also increase your chances of making a strong, lasting impression on college admissions committees. Make sure your closing statement is witty and powerful and ties it all together.

Your college essay should show your personality, special qualities, experiences, and aspirations to the college admissions officers and committee. You don’t want to do too much, but you also don’t want to leave anything out . So, in case you get stuck, here are some elements to include in your college application essay:

  • Personal Story : Share your story and experiences that have shaped your identity and/or influenced your passions.
  • Academic Achievements : This is not the time to be modest about academic achievements, so highlight any awards or honors that demonstrate your dedication to education.
  • Goals and Aspirations : Clearly state your goals and aspirations and explain how attending the college you are applying to support those dreams.
  • Unique Perspective : Offer the unique perspectives or insights that set you apart from other applicants. This will showcase your individuality.
  • Writing Style : You want your essay to demonstrate strong writing skills, creativity, and clarity. Provide vivid language, clear storytelling, and proper grammar and punctuation.
  • Relevance : Make sure your essay directly addresses the college’s prompts or questions and aligns with the values and mission of the institution.
  • Reflection : Reflect on your experiences, challenges, and growth, and show how they have shaped your character and prepared you for college.
  • Be Yourself : But most importantly, be You. Stay true to your authenticity, as it is the one thing that will make you stand out the most!

In truth, your college application essay doesn’t have to drag . Include some of these elements into your work, and you might even (dare I say) have fun showing every college board member who you are and what you have to offer the world of academia. Good luck, and happy writing your admissions essays .

college essay writing

What should I write about in my college application essay?

When it comes to topics for your college application essay, choose a subject that boasts your unique personality, experiences, and personal values. Consider sharing a personal story that shines a light on your strengths, or write about any challenges you’ve overcome gracefully or a significant moment that helped shape your identity. The goal of college essays is to provide admissions officers with insight into who you are beyond your academic achievements, not just that you can put together an essay.

How long should my college application essay be?

Most colleges have specific guidelines regarding the length of the application essay, typically ranging from 250 to 650 words. It is important to adhere to the word count limit provided by the college to ensure that your essay is concise and focused. Be sure to carefully review the college application process and instructions to determine the appropriate length for your essay.

How can I make my college application essay stand out?

To make your college application essay stand out, focus on your authentic voice and perspective. Avoid clichés and generic statements, and instead, strive to convey your unique personality and experiences. Use bold language, descriptive details, and storytelling techniques to captivate the reader’s attention. Don’t be afraid to get feedback from teachers, counselors, or peers to ensure that your college essay topic is well-written and effectively communicates your message.

Interested in learning more from Bold.org ? Visit our Scholarship Blog to stay up to date on everything you need to know about college topics and apply for scholarships today.

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College Essays

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If you grow up to be a professional writer, everything you write will first go through an editor before being published. This is because the process of writing is really a process of re-writing —of rethinking and reexamining your work, usually with the help of someone else. So what does this mean for your student writing? And in particular, what does it mean for very important, but nonprofessional writing like your college essay? Should you ask your parents to look at your essay? Pay for an essay service?

If you are wondering what kind of help you can, and should, get with your personal statement, you've come to the right place! In this article, I'll talk about what kind of writing help is useful, ethical, and even expected for your college admission essay . I'll also point out who would make a good editor, what the differences between editing and proofreading are, what to expect from a good editor, and how to spot and stay away from a bad one.

Table of Contents

What Kind of Help for Your Essay Can You Get?

What's Good Editing?

What should an editor do for you, what kind of editing should you avoid, proofreading, what's good proofreading, what kind of proofreading should you avoid.

What Do Colleges Think Of You Getting Help With Your Essay?

Who Can/Should Help You?

Advice for editors.

Should You Pay Money For Essay Editing?

The Bottom Line

What's next, what kind of help with your essay can you get.

Rather than talking in general terms about "help," let's first clarify the two different ways that someone else can improve your writing . There is editing, which is the more intensive kind of assistance that you can use throughout the whole process. And then there's proofreading, which is the last step of really polishing your final product.

Let me go into some more detail about editing and proofreading, and then explain how good editors and proofreaders can help you."

Editing is helping the author (in this case, you) go from a rough draft to a finished work . Editing is the process of asking questions about what you're saying, how you're saying it, and how you're organizing your ideas. But not all editing is good editing . In fact, it's very easy for an editor to cross the line from supportive to overbearing and over-involved.

Ability to clarify assignments. A good editor is usually a good writer, and certainly has to be a good reader. For example, in this case, a good editor should make sure you understand the actual essay prompt you're supposed to be answering.

Open-endedness. Good editing is all about asking questions about your ideas and work, but without providing answers. It's about letting you stick to your story and message, and doesn't alter your point of view.

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Think of an editor as a great travel guide. It can show you the many different places your trip could take you. It should explain any parts of the trip that could derail your trip or confuse the traveler. But it never dictates your path, never forces you to go somewhere you don't want to go, and never ignores your interests so that the trip no longer seems like it's your own. So what should good editors do?

Help Brainstorm Topics

Sometimes it's easier to bounce thoughts off of someone else. This doesn't mean that your editor gets to come up with ideas, but they can certainly respond to the various topic options you've come up with. This way, you're less likely to write about the most boring of your ideas, or to write about something that isn't actually important to you.

If you're wondering how to come up with options for your editor to consider, check out our guide to brainstorming topics for your college essay .

Help Revise Your Drafts

Here, your editor can't upset the delicate balance of not intervening too much or too little. It's tricky, but a great way to think about it is to remember: editing is about asking questions, not giving answers .

Revision questions should point out:

  • Places where more detail or more description would help the reader connect with your essay
  • Places where structure and logic don't flow, losing the reader's attention
  • Places where there aren't transitions between paragraphs, confusing the reader
  • Moments where your narrative or the arguments you're making are unclear

But pointing to potential problems is not the same as actually rewriting—editors let authors fix the problems themselves.

Want to write the perfect college application essay?   We can help.   Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will help you craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay to proudly submit to colleges.   Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now:

Bad editing is usually very heavy-handed editing. Instead of helping you find your best voice and ideas, a bad editor changes your writing into their own vision.

You may be dealing with a bad editor if they:

  • Add material (examples, descriptions) that doesn't come from you
  • Use a thesaurus to make your college essay sound "more mature"
  • Add meaning or insight to the essay that doesn't come from you
  • Tell you what to say and how to say it
  • Write sentences, phrases, and paragraphs for you
  • Change your voice in the essay so it no longer sounds like it was written by a teenager

Colleges can tell the difference between a 17-year-old's writing and a 50-year-old's writing. Not only that, they have access to your SAT or ACT Writing section, so they can compare your essay to something else you wrote. Writing that's a little more polished is great and expected. But a totally different voice and style will raise questions.

Where's the Line Between Helpful Editing and Unethical Over-Editing?

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether your college essay editor is doing the right thing. Here are some guidelines for staying on the ethical side of the line.

  • An editor should say that the opening paragraph is kind of boring, and explain what exactly is making it drag. But it's overstepping for an editor to tell you exactly how to change it.
  • An editor should point out where your prose is unclear or vague. But it's completely inappropriate for the editor to rewrite that section of your essay.
  • An editor should let you know that a section is light on detail or description. But giving you similes and metaphors to beef up that description is a no-go.

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Proofreading (also called copy-editing) is checking for errors in the last draft of a written work. It happens at the end of the process and is meant as the final polishing touch. Proofreading is meticulous and detail-oriented, focusing on small corrections. It sands off all the surface rough spots that could alienate the reader.

Because proofreading is usually concerned with making fixes on the word or sentence level, this is the only process where someone else can actually add to or take away things from your essay . This is because what they are adding or taking away tends to be one or two misplaced letters.

Laser focus. Proofreading is all about the tiny details, so the ability to really concentrate on finding small slip-ups is a must.

Excellent grammar and spelling skills. Proofreaders need to dot every "i" and cross every "t." Good proofreaders should correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar. They should put foreign words in italics and surround quotations with quotation marks. They should check that you used the correct college's name, and that you adhered to any formatting requirements (name and date at the top of the page, uniform font and size, uniform spacing).

Limited interference. A proofreader needs to make sure that you followed any word limits. But if cuts need to be made to shorten the essay, that's your job and not the proofreader's.

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A bad proofreader either tries to turn into an editor, or just lacks the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job.

Some signs that you're working with a bad proofreader are:

  • If they suggest making major changes to the final draft of your essay. Proofreading happens when editing is already finished.
  • If they aren't particularly good at spelling, or don't know grammar, or aren't detail-oriented enough to find someone else's small mistakes.
  • If they start swapping out your words for fancier-sounding synonyms, or changing the voice and sound of your essay in other ways. A proofreader is there to check for errors, not to take the 17-year-old out of your writing.

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What Do Colleges Think of Your Getting Help With Your Essay?

Admissions officers agree: light editing and proofreading are good—even required ! But they also want to make sure you're the one doing the work on your essay. They want essays with stories, voice, and themes that come from you. They want to see work that reflects your actual writing ability, and that focuses on what you find important.

On the Importance of Editing

Get feedback. Have a fresh pair of eyes give you some feedback. Don't allow someone else to rewrite your essay, but do take advantage of others' edits and opinions when they seem helpful. ( Bates College )

Read your essay aloud to someone. Reading the essay out loud offers a chance to hear how your essay sounds outside your head. This exercise reveals flaws in the essay's flow, highlights grammatical errors and helps you ensure that you are communicating the exact message you intended. ( Dickinson College )

On the Value of Proofreading

Share your essays with at least one or two people who know you well—such as a parent, teacher, counselor, or friend—and ask for feedback. Remember that you ultimately have control over your essays, and your essays should retain your own voice, but others may be able to catch mistakes that you missed and help suggest areas to cut if you are over the word limit. ( Yale University )

Proofread and then ask someone else to proofread for you. Although we want substance, we also want to be able to see that you can write a paper for our professors and avoid careless mistakes that would drive them crazy. ( Oberlin College )

On Watching Out for Too Much Outside Influence

Limit the number of people who review your essay. Too much input usually means your voice is lost in the writing style. ( Carleton College )

Ask for input (but not too much). Your parents, friends, guidance counselors, coaches, and teachers are great people to bounce ideas off of for your essay. They know how unique and spectacular you are, and they can help you decide how to articulate it. Keep in mind, however, that a 45-year-old lawyer writes quite differently from an 18-year-old student, so if your dad ends up writing the bulk of your essay, we're probably going to notice. ( Vanderbilt University )

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Now let's talk about some potential people to approach for your college essay editing and proofreading needs. It's best to start close to home and slowly expand outward. Not only are your family and friends more invested in your success than strangers, but they also have a better handle on your interests and personality. This knowledge is key for judging whether your essay is expressing your true self.

Parents or Close Relatives

Your family may be full of potentially excellent editors! Parents are deeply committed to your well-being, and family members know you and your life well enough to offer details or incidents that can be included in your essay. On the other hand, the rewriting process necessarily involves criticism, which is sometimes hard to hear from someone very close to you.

A parent or close family member is a great choice for an editor if you can answer "yes" to the following questions. Is your parent or close relative a good writer or reader? Do you have a relationship where editing your essay won't create conflict? Are you able to constructively listen to criticism and suggestion from the parent?

One suggestion for defusing face-to-face discussions is to try working on the essay over email. Send your parent a draft, have them write you back some comments, and then you can pick which of their suggestions you want to use and which to discard.

Teachers or Tutors

A humanities teacher that you have a good relationship with is a great choice. I am purposefully saying humanities, and not just English, because teachers of Philosophy, History, Anthropology, and any other classes where you do a lot of writing, are all used to reviewing student work.

Moreover, any teacher or tutor that has been working with you for some time, knows you very well and can vet the essay to make sure it "sounds like you."

If your teacher or tutor has some experience with what college essays are supposed to be like, ask them to be your editor. If not, then ask whether they have time to proofread your final draft.

Guidance or College Counselor at Your School

The best thing about asking your counselor to edit your work is that this is their job. This means that they have a very good sense of what colleges are looking for in an application essay.

At the same time, school counselors tend to have relationships with admissions officers in many colleges, which again gives them insight into what works and which college is focused on what aspect of the application.

Unfortunately, in many schools the guidance counselor tends to be way overextended. If your ratio is 300 students to 1 college counselor, you're unlikely to get that person's undivided attention and focus. It is still useful to ask them for general advice about your potential topics, but don't expect them to be able to stay with your essay from first draft to final version.

Friends, Siblings, or Classmates

Although they most likely don't have much experience with what colleges are hoping to see, your peers are excellent sources for checking that your essay is you .

Friends and siblings are perfect for the read-aloud edit. Read your essay to them so they can listen for words and phrases that are stilted, pompous, or phrases that just don't sound like you.

You can even trade essays and give helpful advice on each other's work.

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If your editor hasn't worked with college admissions essays very much, no worries! Any astute and attentive reader can still greatly help with your process. But, as in all things, beginners do better with some preparation.

First, your editor should read our advice about how to write a college essay introduction , how to spot and fix a bad college essay , and get a sense of what other students have written by going through some admissions essays that worked .

Then, as they read your essay, they can work through the following series of questions that will help them to guide you.

Introduction Questions

  • Is the first sentence a killer opening line? Why or why not?
  • Does the introduction hook the reader? Does it have a colorful, detailed, and interesting narrative? Or does it propose a compelling or surprising idea?
  • Can you feel the author's voice in the introduction, or is the tone dry, dull, or overly formal? Show the places where the voice comes through.

Essay Body Questions

  • Does the essay have a through-line? Is it built around a central argument, thought, idea, or focus? Can you put this idea into your own words?
  • How is the essay organized? By logical progression? Chronologically? Do you feel order when you read it, or are there moments where you are confused or lose the thread of the essay?
  • Does the essay have both narratives about the author's life and explanations and insight into what these stories reveal about the author's character, personality, goals, or dreams? If not, which is missing?
  • Does the essay flow? Are there smooth transitions/clever links between paragraphs? Between the narrative and moments of insight?

Reader Response Questions

  • Does the writer's personality come through? Do we know what the speaker cares about? Do we get a sense of "who he or she is"?
  • Where did you feel most connected to the essay? Which parts of the essay gave you a "you are there" sensation by invoking your senses? What moments could you picture in your head well?
  • Where are the details and examples vague and not specific enough?
  • Did you get an "a-ha!" feeling anywhere in the essay? Is there a moment of insight that connected all the dots for you? Is there a good reveal or "twist" anywhere in the essay?
  • What are the strengths of this essay? What needs the most improvement?

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Should You Pay Money for Essay Editing?

One alternative to asking someone you know to help you with your college essay is the paid editor route. There are two different ways to pay for essay help: a private essay coach or a less personal editing service , like the many proliferating on the internet.

My advice is to think of these options as a last resort rather than your go-to first choice. I'll first go through the reasons why. Then, if you do decide to go with a paid editor, I'll help you decide between a coach and a service.

When to Consider a Paid Editor

In general, I think hiring someone to work on your essay makes a lot of sense if none of the people I discussed above are a possibility for you.

If you can't ask your parents. For example, if your parents aren't good writers, or if English isn't their first language. Or if you think getting your parents to help is going create unnecessary extra conflict in your relationship with them (applying to college is stressful as it is!)

If you can't ask your teacher or tutor. Maybe you don't have a trusted teacher or tutor that has time to look over your essay with focus. Or, for instance, your favorite humanities teacher has very limited experience with college essays and so won't know what admissions officers want to see.

If you can't ask your guidance counselor. This could be because your guidance counselor is way overwhelmed with other students.

If you can't share your essay with those who know you. It might be that your essay is on a very personal topic that you're unwilling to share with parents, teachers, or peers. Just make sure it doesn't fall into one of the bad-idea topics in our article on bad college essays .

If the cost isn't a consideration. Many of these services are quite expensive, and private coaches even more so. If you have finite resources, I'd say that hiring an SAT or ACT tutor (whether it's PrepScholar or someone else) is better way to spend your money . This is because there's no guarantee that a slightly better essay will sufficiently elevate the rest of your application, but a significantly higher SAT score will definitely raise your applicant profile much more.

Should You Hire an Essay Coach?

On the plus side, essay coaches have read dozens or even hundreds of college essays, so they have experience with the format. Also, because you'll be working closely with a specific person, it's more personal than sending your essay to a service, which will know even less about you.

But, on the minus side, you'll still be bouncing ideas off of someone who doesn't know that much about you . In general, if you can adequately get the help from someone you know, there is no advantage to paying someone to help you.

If you do decide to hire a coach, ask your school counselor, or older students that have used the service for recommendations. If you can't afford the coach's fees, ask whether they can work on a sliding scale —many do. And finally, beware those who guarantee admission to your school of choice—essay coaches don't have any special magic that can back up those promises.

Should You Send Your Essay to a Service?

On the plus side, essay editing services provide a similar product to essay coaches, and they cost significantly less . If you have some assurance that you'll be working with a good editor, the lack of face-to-face interaction won't prevent great results.

On the minus side, however, it can be difficult to gauge the quality of the service before working with them . If they are churning through many application essays without getting to know the students they are helping, you could end up with an over-edited essay that sounds just like everyone else's. In the worst case scenario, an unscrupulous service could send you back a plagiarized essay.

Getting recommendations from friends or a school counselor for reputable services is key to avoiding heavy-handed editing that writes essays for you or does too much to change your essay. Including a badly-edited essay like this in your application could cause problems if there are inconsistencies. For example, in interviews it might be clear you didn't write the essay, or the skill of the essay might not be reflected in your schoolwork and test scores.

Should You Buy an Essay Written by Someone Else?

Let me elaborate. There are super sketchy places on the internet where you can simply buy a pre-written essay. Don't do this!

For one thing, you'll be lying on an official, signed document. All college applications make you sign a statement saying something like this:

I certify that all information submitted in the admission process—including the application, the personal essay, any supplements, and any other supporting materials—is my own work, factually true, and honestly presented... I understand that I may be subject to a range of possible disciplinary actions, including admission revocation, expulsion, or revocation of course credit, grades, and degree, should the information I have certified be false. (From the Common Application )

For another thing, if your academic record doesn't match the essay's quality, the admissions officer will start thinking your whole application is riddled with lies.

Admission officers have full access to your writing portion of the SAT or ACT so that they can compare work that was done in proctored conditions with that done at home. They can tell if these were written by different people. Not only that, but there are now a number of search engines that faculty and admission officers can use to see if an essay contains strings of words that have appeared in other essays—you have no guarantee that the essay you bought wasn't also bought by 50 other students.

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  • You should get college essay help with both editing and proofreading
  • A good editor will ask questions about your idea, logic, and structure, and will point out places where clarity is needed
  • A good editor will absolutely not answer these questions, give you their own ideas, or write the essay or parts of the essay for you
  • A good proofreader will find typos and check your formatting
  • All of them agree that getting light editing and proofreading is necessary
  • Parents, teachers, guidance or college counselor, and peers or siblings
  • If you can't ask any of those, you can pay for college essay help, but watch out for services or coaches who over-edit you work
  • Don't buy a pre-written essay! Colleges can tell, and it'll make your whole application sound false.

Ready to start working on your essay? Check out our explanation of the point of the personal essay and the role it plays on your applications and then explore our step-by-step guide to writing a great college essay .

Using the Common Application for your college applications? We have an excellent guide to the Common App essay prompts and useful advice on how to pick the Common App prompt that's right for you . Wondering how other people tackled these prompts? Then work through our roundup of over 130 real college essay examples published by colleges .

Stressed about whether to take the SAT again before submitting your application? Let us help you decide how many times to take this test . If you choose to go for it, we have the ultimate guide to studying for the SAT to give you the ins and outs of the best ways to study.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

The genre is often maligned for being formulaic and melodramatic, but it’s more important than you think.

An illustration of a high school student with blue hair, dreaming of what to write in their college essay.

By Nell Freudenberger

Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn’t supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they’re afraid that packaging the genuine trauma they’ve experienced is the only way to secure their future. The college counselor at the Brooklyn high school where I’m a writing tutor advises against trauma porn. “Keep it brief , ” she says, “and show how you rose above it.”

I started volunteering in New York City schools in my 20s, before I had kids of my own. At the time, I liked hanging out with teenagers, whom I sometimes had more interesting conversations with than I did my peers. Often I worked with students who spoke English as a second language or who used slang in their writing, and at first I was hung up on grammar. Should I correct any deviation from “standard English” to appeal to some Wizard of Oz behind the curtains of a college admissions office? Or should I encourage students to write the way they speak, in pursuit of an authentic voice, that most elusive of literary qualities?

In fact, I was missing the point. One of many lessons the students have taught me is to let the story dictate the voice of the essay. A few years ago, I worked with a boy who claimed to have nothing to write about. His life had been ordinary, he said; nothing had happened to him. I asked if he wanted to try writing about a family member, his favorite school subject, a summer job? He glanced at his phone, his posture and expression suggesting that he’d rather be anywhere but in front of a computer with me. “Hobbies?” I suggested, without much hope. He gave me a shy glance. “I like to box,” he said.

I’ve had this experience with reluctant writers again and again — when a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously. Of course the primary goal of a college essay is to help its author get an education that leads to a career. Changes in testing policies and financial aid have made applying to college more confusing than ever, but essays have remained basically the same. I would argue that they’re much more than an onerous task or rote exercise, and that unlike standardized tests they are infinitely variable and sometimes beautiful. College essays also provide an opportunity to learn precision, clarity and the process of working toward the truth through multiple revisions.

When a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously.

Even if writing doesn’t end up being fundamental to their future professions, students learn to choose language carefully and to be suspicious of the first words that come to mind. Especially now, as college students shoulder so much of the country’s ethical responsibility for war with their protest movement, essay writing teaches prospective students an increasingly urgent lesson: that choosing their own words over ready-made phrases is the only reliable way to ensure they’re thinking for themselves.

Teenagers are ideal writers for several reasons. They’re usually free of preconceptions about writing, and they tend not to use self-consciously ‘‘literary’’ language. They’re allergic to hypocrisy and are generally unfiltered: They overshare, ask personal questions and call you out for microaggressions as well as less egregious (but still mortifying) verbal errors, such as referring to weed as ‘‘pot.’’ Most important, they have yet to put down their best stories in a finished form.

I can imagine an essay taking a risk and distinguishing itself formally — a poem or a one-act play — but most kids use a more straightforward model: a hook followed by a narrative built around “small moments” that lead to a concluding lesson or aspiration for the future. I never get tired of working with students on these essays because each one is different, and the short, rigid form sometimes makes an emotional story even more powerful. Before I read Javier Zamora’s wrenching “Solito,” I worked with a student who had been transported by a coyote into the U.S. and was reunited with his mother in the parking lot of a big-box store. I don’t remember whether this essay focused on specific skills or coping mechanisms that he gained from his ordeal. I remember only the bliss of the parent-and-child reunion in that uninspiring setting. If I were making a case to an admissions officer, I would suggest that simply being able to convey that experience demonstrates the kind of resilience that any college should admire.

The essays that have stayed with me over the years don’t follow a pattern. There are some narratives on very predictable topics — living up to the expectations of immigrant parents, or suffering from depression in 2020 — that are moving because of the attention with which the student describes the experience. One girl determined to become an engineer while watching her father build furniture from scraps after work; a boy, grieving for his mother during lockdown, began taking pictures of the sky.

If, as Lorrie Moore said, “a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage,” what is a college essay? Every once in a while I sit down next to a student and start reading, and I have to suppress my excitement, because there on the Google Doc in front of me is a real writer’s voice. One of the first students I ever worked with wrote about falling in love with another girl in dance class, the absolute magic of watching her move and the terror in the conflict between her feelings and the instruction of her religious middle school. She made me think that college essays are less like love than limerence: one-sided, obsessive, idiosyncratic but profound, the first draft of the most personal story their writers will ever tell.

Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Limits” was published by Knopf last month. She volunteers through the PEN America Writers in the Schools program.

Are you seeking one-on-one college counseling and/or essay support? Limited spots are now available. Click here to learn more.

Best College Essay Help — 2024

May 10, 2024

college essay help, college essay coach

In today’s hyper-competitive admissions landscape, the stakes have never been higher, and college essays are more important than ever. They’re also more scrutinized and more mysterious than ever. On one hand, students are told to “be themselves” and “tell their stories.” On the other, they’re receiving messaging that certain stories might not be the right ones to tell . It makes sense, then, why college essay coaches and essay consulting businesses are seemingly everywhere, and why a quick search of “college essay help” yields a dizzying number of options. But does the college essay really require professional guidance? And if you do need assistance, how do you even begin to differentiate providers?

Firstly, we want to make one thing clear: there are many outstanding college essay coaches who bring a high level of expertise to the table. That said, we believe our approach to college essay coaching is the “best” for many types of students, offering an optimal balance of hands-on guidance and autonomy. Our students work hard, and their results speak for themselves .

Wondering what sets College Transitions apart from other online essay coaching services? In today’s post, we’ll discuss our essay coaching model, our coaching staff, and our essay coaching philosophy.

Ready to speak with a College Transitions counselor about college essay help?

Fill Out a Free Consultation Request

Why procure college essay help?

See if any of the following sound familiar:

  • Does a blank page send you into a panic mode?
  • Are you struggling to think of a topic (or narrow them down)?
  • Do you have trouble with a specific part of the writing process, like brainstorming or revision?
  • Does the number of essays you’ll need to write sound completely overwhelming to you?
  • Have you received so many pieces of advice about the college essay that your head is spinning?
  • Are you trying to revise your essay but aren’t sure what to do next?
  • Are you an excellent writer who wants to take your work to the next level?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you will likely benefit from professional assistance. Although stellar resources abound online for free (which you should absolutely take advantage of), none of those resources are going to be tailored to your specific needs . Thus, if you’ve taken your essay writing process as far as you can on your own, enlisting an essay coach could save you hours of time, lower your stress level significantly, and even enable you to enjoy the writing process.

What is College Transitions’ essay coaching philosophy?

At the core of our essay coaching philosophy is the belief that you should emerge from the college essay process as a stronger writer and thinker. We want our students to produce essays that complement and strengthen their applications and leave our program with new writing skills that will benefit them in college and beyond.

Why College Transitions essay coaching?

Facts: The best college essays tell a compelling story, demonstrate one or more positive attributes, and are written in your authentic voice. Although this may sound like a tall order, it’s one that we at College Transitions are no stranger to fulfilling.

How do we accomplish this? By supporting your unique needs and giving you the tools that you need to produce your best possible work, whether that’s close attention to your ideas, a deep dive into narrative structure, detailed grammar explanations, or all of the above. Accordingly, we assess ability level at the beginning of the process and aim to push you to the next level in your writing.

Best College Essay Writing Help – Continued

Although the essay process will be tailored specifically to each student, you can expect that:

  • Your coach will deliver feedback in a way that lets you make your own decisions and retain your authentic voice. They’ll accomplish this by focusing on areas of concern step-by-step, asking open-ended questions, and aiming to be in a conversation with you about your writing.
  • Your coach will provide thoughtful, actionable suggestions related to three major areas: content, structure, and syntax.
  • Your coach will guide you through a brainstorming process before you start writing.
  • Your coach will help you understand each college’s prompts and tailor your essays accordingly.
  • Your coach will be highly responsive, responding to any emails in 24 hours and providing written feedback on submitted essays within two days.
  • Your coach will be in frequent communication with you throughout the essay writing process to help you stay on track for your deadlines.

Who are College Transitions’ essay coaches?

College Transitions’ essay coaches are highly trained professionals who have at least four to five years of teaching or tutoring experience at the high school and/or college level. The vast majority of our coaches have worked with students on their writing for between ten and fifteen years in a diverse array of roles, from classroom instructors and writing center consultants to private tutors, editors, and curriculum designers.

Every one of our coaches holds at least a bachelor’s degree, and nearly all hold master’s or doctoral degrees in English, writing, or education. Many of our coaches are also published writers or researchers, and our staff includes award-winning novelists, journalists, short story authors, and poets.

Most importantly, our coaches are experts in both teaching and supporting college essays. College essays are a very specific type of personal writing that require a special type of knowledge and guidance. As such, we ensure that our coaches are familiar with college essay conventions and are adept at guiding all skill levels to their best possible work.

Our Collaborative Approach

For years, we’ve taken a team-based approach to the college admissions process. Such a collaborative approach enables students to benefit from the expertise of at least two professionals: an admissions counselor and an essay coach. They work together to ensure that all parts of your application are as strong and cohesive as possible.

Moreover, you’ll work with the same primary counselor and essay coach for the duration of the college admissions process. Our coaches work with individual students rather than individual essays, which enables your coach to become deeply familiar with your story, your writing style, and your unique circumstances.

Why does this make a difference? Getting to know you will enable your coach to provide personalized, thoughtful suggestions, whether that is reminding you of an experience that could be a great topic for a supplemental or noticing patterns that deserve further attention.

The Benefits of Our Virtual Model

We work with all our students 100% virtually and one-on-one in a model that we have honed relentlessly over the past decade. We deeply understand that building trust in a remote environment requires responsiveness, a value that is at the core of our counseling and essay coaching services. Accordingly, our essay coaches tailor the entire process to your needs, whether that means facilitating weekly video chats, helping you organize a writing schedule, or being a “hands-off” presence who is there to assist if and when you need it.

Frequently Asked Questions — College Essay Help

Do you offer “essay-only” coaching packages.

Yes! In addition to several types of counseling & essay coaching packages, we also offer essay-only support.

Do you write essays for students?

Absolutely not. Not only is this unethical, it’s detrimental to your admissions prospects. Admissions officers can easily spot essays written by parents, professionals, and AI software. If they do, you likely have little to no chance of acceptance at that particular university.

With an appropriate level of guidance, College Transitions students choose their own topics and write and revise their own essays. Moreover, they tend to become more independent as the process moves along. This level of choice and autonomy should be standard for any solid essay coaching provider.

How many drafts do students typically complete of each essay?

It depends, but most students complete 5-8 drafts of their Common Application personal statement and 2-4 drafts of each supplemental essay.

Do you only work with specific types of students?

We work with all types of students! Our students hail from every region of the country, apply to a diverse range of colleges, and hail from myriad backgrounds and identities. We also regularly work with students who are high-achieving, neurodiverse, or English language learners.

Best College Essay Writing Help — Final Thoughts

We sincerely believe that you will find the best college essay coaches for your needs right here at College Transitions. Again, we invite you to get to know us more through our website and/or by filling out a Consultation Request .

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  1. 53 Stellar College Essay Topics to Inspire You

    Recap: From College Essay Topics to Great College Essays. Many different kinds of college application essay topics can get you into a great college. But this doesn't make it any easier to choose the best topic for you. In general, the best college essay topics have the following qualities: They're specific; They show who you are

  2. 21 College Essay Topics & Ideas That Worked

    Here's a list of essay topics and ideas that worked for my one-on-one students: Essay Topic: My Allergies Inspired Me. After nearly dying from anaphylactic shock at five years old, I began a journey healing my anxiety and understanding the PTSD around my allergies. This created a passion for medicine and immunology, and now I want to become ...

  3. 27 Outstanding College Essay Examples From Top Universities 2024

    This college essay tip is by Abigail McFee, Admissions Counselor for Tufts University and Tufts '17 graduate. 2. Write like a journalist. "Don't bury the lede!" The first few sentences must capture the reader's attention, provide a gist of the story, and give a sense of where the essay is heading.

  4. 2,000+ College Essay Prompts for 2023-24 and How-To Guides

    Latest essay prompts for the top 100 schools. At CollegeVine, our goal is to make the college application process a little less stressful, so we've compiled the latest essay prompts for the top 100 schools in one easy, searchable database. Also, every year we create free guides on "How to Write X School's Essays" for the top 100 schools ...

  5. 177 College Essay Examples for 11 Schools + Expert Analysis

    Technique #1: humor. Notice Renner's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks their younger self's grand ambitions (this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other). My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver.

  6. Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

    Sample College Essay 2 with Feedback. This content is licensed by Khan Academy and is available for free at www.khanacademy.org. College essays are an important part of your college application and give you the chance to show colleges and universities your personality. This guide will give you tips on how to write an effective college essay.

  7. 60+ College Essay Prompts for 2023-2024 Applicants

    2023-2024 Coalition for College Essay Prompts. More than 150 colleges and universities use the Coalition for College process. Here are their essay prompts for 2023-2024. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it. We Are Teachers.

  8. College Essay Prompts: Complete List, Analysis, and Advice

    The UCA essay prompt is completely open ended and has a 650-word limit. Here is the 2022-2023 prompt: Please write an essay that demonstrates your ability to develop and communicate your thoughts. Some ideas include: a person you admire; a life-changing experience; or your viewpoint on a particular current event.

  9. Choosing Your College Essay Topic

    If you do choose a common topic, ensure you have the following to craft a unique essay: Surprising or unexpected story arcs. Interesting insight or connections. An advanced writing style. Here are a few examples of how to craft strong essays from cliché topics. Common topic.

  10. 19 College Essay Topics and Prompts

    1. Be considerate with humor. Showing off your sense of humor lets your personality show through your words and can make reading the essay more entertaining. Try including a few sentences that you think will bring a smile to the reader's face, or use adjectives to insert some colorful comedy. 2.

  11. Popular Application Essay Topics

    2023-24 Common App Essays. Nearly 700 colleges accept the The Common Application , which makes it easy to apply to multiple schools with just one form. If you are using the Common App to apply for college admissions, you will have 250-650 words to respond to ONE of the following prompts: Some students have a background, identity, interest ...

  12. Popular College Essay Prompts & Topics for 2023-2024

    School-Specific Essay Prompts (150-200 Words for All): College of Arts and Sciences. The flexible structure of The College of Arts and Sciences' curriculum is designed to inspire exploration, foster connections, and help you create a path of study through general education courses and a major.

  13. 100 Best College Essay Topics & How to Pick the Perfect One!

    Here is a list of top persuasive essay topics for college: 1. The importance of arts education in schools. 2. Why volunteering should be part of the college curriculum. 3. The benefits of bilingual education. 4. The necessity of making public transport free.

  14. 35 College Essay Prompts and Topics

    Write your top 10 list. With this prompt, get creative. Don't simply put 10 things you enjoy — get specific! Pick something you love and give your top 10 — maybe top 10 memories of your life, top 10 favorite books, top 10 quotes, etc. Make sure you give clear explanations of the items on your list as well.

  15. 14 College Essay Examples From Top-25 Universities (2024-2025)

    College essay example #6. This student was admitted to UC Berkeley. (Suggested reading: How to Get Into UC Berkeley and How to Write Great UC Essays) The phenomenon of interdependency, man depending on man for survival, has shaped centuries of human civilization.

  16. How to Write a College Essay

    Making an all-state team → outstanding achievement. Making an all-state team → counting the cost of saying "no" to other interests. Making a friend out of an enemy → finding common ground, forgiveness. Making a friend out of an enemy → confront toxic thinking and behavior in yourself.

  17. Best college essay topics for 2023-2024

    The Best College Essay Topics for 2023-2024. Bonus Material: To check out 30 real examples of essays that worked to get students into schools like Princeton, click the link: Download 30 College Essays That Worked If you're getting started on your college application essays, you're probably looking around for the perfect topic to write about.

  18. Common App Essays

    Prompt 2: Overcoming challenges. Prompt 3: Questioning a belief or idea. Prompt 4: Appreciating an influential person. Prompt 5: Transformative event. Prompt 6: Interest or hobby that inspires learning. Prompt 7: Free topic. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about college application essays.

  19. 8 Questions Your College Essay Should Answer

    Since colleges take essays seriously, you should, too. Questions to Answer. Including all the facts, feelings, and impressions necessary to set you apart in 600 words is a tall order, but you can do it. Below are questions your college essay might address to get the right kind of attention. Consider these common prompts before you write.

  20. 35+ Best College Essay Tips from College Application Experts

    Use your essays to empower your chances of acceptance, merit money, and scholarships.". This college essay tip is by Dr. Rebecca Joseph, professor at California State University and founder of All College Application Essays, develops tools for making the college essay process faster and easier. 15. Get personal.

  21. 160 Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Students in 2024

    April 3, 2024. The skill of writing an excellent argumentative essay is a crucial one for every high school or college student to master. In sum, argumentative essays teach students how to organize their thoughts logically and present them in a convincing way. This skill is helpful not only for those pursuing degrees in law, international ...

  22. 227 Amazing College Persuasive Essay Topics [Free Ideas]

    College Persuasive Essay Topics: Medicine. Strong pain killers should be sold by prescription only. Drug prices should be set ethically. Herbal medications are the safest. Self-medication is extremely dangerous, even in the case of a simple cold or an allergy. Differentiating various forms of medicines is essential.

  23. College Essay Guy

    College Essay Guy believes that every student should have access to the tools and guidance necessary to create the best application possible. That's why we're a one-for-one company, which means that for every student who pays for support, we provide free support to a low-income student. Learn more.

  24. 50 Great Argumentative Essay Topics for Any Assignment

    Check out our helpful list of argumentative essay topics, plus tips on picking the best one for you. Call Direct: 1 (866) 811-5546 Sign In Start Free Trial. SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips ... This guide to writing a college essay is a great way to get started on your essay organizing journey!

  25. 10 Strategies for Writing a College Application Essay

    Today's article focuses on my carefully crafted 10-step strategy for writing the perfect college application essay. With some colleges no longer considering factors like high school grades and standardized test scores (i.e., SAT and ACT scores), the pressure to create a college application essay can be fierce but stress no more. With the help ...

  26. Getting College Essay Help: Important Do's and Don'ts

    Have a fresh pair of eyes give you some feedback. Don't allow someone else to rewrite your essay, but do take advantage of others' edits and opinions when they seem helpful. ( Bates College) Read your essay aloud to someone. Reading the essay out loud offers a chance to hear how your essay sounds outside your head.

  27. What I've Learned From My Students' College Essays

    By Nell Freudenberger. May 14, 2024. Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn't supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or ...

  28. Best College Essay Help

    Your coach will guide you through a brainstorming process before you start writing. Your coach will help you understand each college's prompts and tailor your essays accordingly. Your coach will be highly responsive, responding to any emails in 24 hours and providing written feedback on submitted essays within two days.