When it comes to their college app essays, most students think they have nothing to write about. "But nothing has ever happened to me," they insist. What they don't understand is that you don't need to have discovered a cure for cancer or lived through a tsunami in order to have a worthwhile topic to explore. In fact, we find that the most compelling essays are often about life's tiniest, most mundane moments. What makes them work is that they are meaningful to the student and are expressed authentically.
Here are the scintillating subjects explored in some of our favorite essays:
Having trouble boarding a bus (in an essay about people needing to carry on after loss)
Going to an animal sanctuary on prom night (in an essay about what it's like to be a little different)
Impatiently standing in line at the school cafeteria (in an essay about gaining empathy for others)
Discussing the differences in having dinner with various relatives (in an essay about the Asian and Caucasian sides of the student's family)
Making origami cranes (in an essay about learning that each individual creates their own success)
The differences between riding in a car with his mother and his father (in an essay about how the student's parents respectively influenced him)
Watching how the water "behaved" as his neighbor used a hose to fill a pail (in an essay about why physics was his favorite subject)
The truth is, very few of us have extraordinary experiences to recount. Mostly, the events in our lives are pretty similar. What makes us unique is the meaning we assign to the events and influences that impact us. The key to a successful essay is revealing to the reader what really matters to you.