How to choose a college essay topic that stands out

College essays are a way to set you apart from the other applicants, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on the nature of your essay. It’s important to think of a topic that you can write about that is original and will capture the reader’s attention, which often means writing about your own personal experiences. 

You might be wondering how to do that, as your essay may not be the first one that is read at the time of review. Below you will see some tips on how to best choose a college essay that will help you stand out from the crowd. 

Grab their attention from the start

The first paragraph is going to be the key to grabbing the reader’s attention as they go through the rest of your essay. There are several approaches a writer can take to do this successfully:

  • Use your essay as an opportunity to speak directly to the reader
  • Begin your essay with a question
  • Make a bold statement or use an interesting quote in your introduction that relates to your essay and allows the reader to reflect on their own thoughts
  • Place the reader in the middle of an event, this should invoke their imagination to take over and place them in that historical moment in time

Use your own voice

Don’t overwhelm the reader in fact-based writing, let your personality shine through. Incorporate honesty and humor in your writing to show the reader who you are and develop your own voice. This will deliver a more personal touch and allow the audience an opportunity to develop a sense of who you really are and what you’ve experienced or accomplished. 

It will help prevent your writing from coming off as boring or just another ordinary submission for them to review. 

Write about your own experience

Choose a subject that will allow you an opportunity to create a personal connection with the reader. Take time to reflect on past experiences and think about something that has made an impact on you.  The writing process will become easier for you to build upon when you’re speaking about something you’ve experienced yourself and makes the essay more personable. It will also further support the creation or usage of your own voice as previously mentioned. 

Get feedback from others

Getting feedback from family or friends that have not already read your essay will help you understand if your essay is sensical and logical. You want to make sure that it flows correctly and in a logical order that does not confuse the reader. 

Having someone you know give you honest feedback will help you identify opportunities in your writing that may be unclear in your initial draft. You can also ask them for their opinion if your topic sounds too “cookie-cutter” or if your subject matter stands out and gets their attention as something they would later remember reading. 

It’s important that your essay come off as genuine and personable. Many people can relate to others’ life experiences either directly or indirectly, creating a personal connection. Being able to put this in words that others can relate to, is what will build that strong connection from writer to reader. Ultimately, these key components will help you build a strong essay that will make you stand out from the rest.