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Countdown to college: Topics you should seriously consider avoiding in your essays

Lee Shulman Bierer, Tribune News Service on

Published in Education News

Lots of high school seniors currently find themselves facing an empty computer screen wondering just how to write an application essay that is memorable. Many fail. That’s because they are writing either what they think a college admissions representative wants to read or they don’t understand the objective of the essay.

Common cliché topics students choose to write about and probably shouldn’t:

Sports victory — how our team won the big game in the last few seconds because of my commitment, drive and focus.

Miss America — how performing community service has taught me the importance of helping others and achieving world peace.

Grandma — how she overcame so many obstacles.

The 3 Ds — how I endured the hardship of divorce, drugs, or a death of someone close to me.


Sense of entitlement — how my travel and numerous enrichment experiences have broadened my horizons.

Value of life — how the death of a pet inspired introspection.

The resume — how my entire life from preschool until today has prepared me for life at your college campus.

Laundry list of character traits — how my commitment, leadership, eagerness, determination and discipline make me a great applicant.


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