Your College Application Essay - Brainstorming For a Unique Topic

Your College Application Essay - Brainstorming For a Unique Topic
Everyone wants their college application essay to be unique, entertaining, and to contain life affirming truths. Yet few actually achieve those goals. Why? Because their topic just doesn't support them.
That's why, when deciding on your topic for a college application essay, it's usually a good idea to reject your first, second, third, even your fifth idea. Because although those ideas may be good, they are more likely to be the same idea that some other applicant has chosen. Your love for your grandma? Been done. How your dog's death made you realize that life is precious? There's been a million of them. Your desire to "help people?" Been there, read that.

So, how do you make sure that your idea not only fulfills the requirements of the college's prompt, but does so in an original way? While there is no guarantee, some simple brainstorming techniques might be helpful.

When trying to come up with a dynamic topic, for example, brainstorm either right before you fall asleep at night, or right after you get up in the morning. Those are times when the brain is less cluttered, more at ease, more capable of being original and free. Be sure to keep a pencil and paper on your nightstand and write down your ideas as they occur.

Another way to stimulate creative thinking is to browse through old photo albums or home video tapes. Seeing yourself and your family at different stages of life will often remind you of events and people you've forgotten. These "smaller" moments can then be turned into topics for the essay.

To learn more about yourself, you might try using a technique known as the "personality tree." All you have to do is write your name in the middle of a piece of paper, draw a circle around it and then several lines coming out of it. On each line write a quality that you possess. They don't have to be the dominant parts of your personality, although those should be included, just any facet of yourself that you feel you've displayed in your life. Then, off those lines, draw another line and write an example of that quality. Again, this may reveal some moment in your life that could be used in the essay. Remember, also, that in developing these ideas, you can combine several of those qualities or events into a single, powerful topic.

Those are three techniques that can help you develop a college essay topic that will set you apart from the pack, and maximize your chances for acceptance. Good luck!

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