Common College Essay Prompts
Some bad topics show admissions officers that you don’t have a good sense of judgment or maturity, which is a problem since they are building a class of college students who have to be able to handle independent life on campus.Other bad topics suggest that you are a boring person, or someone who doesn’t process your experience in a colorful or lively way, which is a problem since colleges want to create a dynamic and engaged cohort of students.This could be the perfect prompt for those of you who already have a few concepts in mind (a runner up personal statement topic, perhaps). What has shaped you as a person, and how has that made your perspective unique?What you focus on here can be cultural, familial, or even one sole experience that you feel has made a profound impact on the person you are today and will be on campus.As with all supplemental essays, your goal should be to use this prompt as an opportunity to tell a personal story — in this case, about your relationship to a particular piece of art.Do you read “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou before every debate competition to give yourself a refill of confidence and motivation?Is there anything you can teach your classmates about your hometown, traditions, culture, cuisine, orientation, identity, race, or ethnicity that they might not already know?
Whether you already know exactly how your values connect with a BC education or need help fleshing it out, research will help.Or history and literature to dive deeper into modern gender politics. It asks you to connect your interest in the school with your own personal beliefs or values.Once you decide on the issue you want to address, make sure you structure your essay around the creation of a course and get creative. Maybe religion is a part of it: You have already benefited from a Jesuit high school education and you want to continue; or maybe you come from another tradition and want to connect more directly with a framework that connects faith and intellect.The essay is the place to let the admissions office of your target college get to know your personality, character, and the talents and skills that aren’t on your transcript.So if you start with a terrible topic, not only will you end up with a bad essay, but you risk ruining the good impression that the rest of your application makes.Boston College is looking for more than just a summary of your favorite book.Admissions wants to know about the art that is meaningful to you and how it aligns with your life and values.In doing so, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to the school AND paint a vivid picture that allows your reader to imagine exactly who you’ll be on campus.Just as there are noteworthy examples of excellent college essays that admissions offices like to publish, so are there cringe-worthy examples of terrible college essays that end up being described by anonymous admissions officers on Reddit discussion boards.What exactly happens to turn a college essay terrible?Just as great personal statements combine an unexpected topic with superb execution, flawed personal statements compound problematic subject matter with poor execution.