10 College Essay Topics That Set You Apart

College admissions teams read thousands of essays each year. To stand out in the crowd, write a unique essay. Here are 10 topics that could set your essay apart from the other submissions.

1. Reveal a failure.

Instead of sharing a success story, be vulnerable and describe a time when you failed at something. Then, conclude your essay with insight into how you handle failures and setbacks now.

2. Detail a moment in your life.

Get specific about a pivotal or everyday moment you have experienced. Describe what you felt, saw, thought, smelled, and heard. For example, you could detail the moment you caught your first fish, stood up for a friend, or first heard your favorite song.

3. Solve a problem.

Introduce a global, personal or silly issue or challenge, and detail how you would solve it. Whether you pick food insecurity, stuck jacket zippers or road rage, showcase your creativity, problem-solving skills, and ingenuity.

4. Tell about a day in your life that you would change.

Consider what you would do differently if you had the chance. Be sure to include how changing that day would impact you now.

5. Examine something that scares you.

Whether you’re afraid of spiders, sidewalk cracks, or being alone, discuss your fear. Talk about when you first noticed it or how it manifests itself in your body, mind or emotions. Be a little vulnerable as you reveal who you are as a person.

6. Address a topic you changed your mind about.

Maybe you used to believe that the moon was made of cheese or disagreed with a particular worldview. Discuss your transformation and what made you change your mind. With this topic, you explore your ability to listen to and understand different perspectives and challenge your current thinking.

7. Analyze the best advice you ever received.

Select specific and personal advice that means something to you. Then discuss why it impacted you and what happened when you followed or didn’t follow it.

8. Introduce the topic of your TED talk.

Pretend you were asked to give a TED talk and discuss your topic choice. As you share more about a particular interest, you also reveal your passions and personality.

9. Share a unique aspect of your upbringing or personality.

Did you live on a glacier, grow up in foster care or never eat chocolate? Describe how that unusual feature of your childhood influenced who you are today.

10. Describe an invention you would stop.

Detail how the world would be different without one specific invention. As you show off your creativity, you also share details about your values and thought processes.

Your college essay introduces you to the admissions team. Start now to craft an essay that stands out from the crowd. If you get stuck, we’re here to help you craft an essay that makes you shine.