When selecting a college essay topic, take your time and really think it through. Often, the first thought to cross your mind as a great idea to write about in your college essay isn’t the best idea. Many college applicants write about topics they think they should be writing about. For instance, a great chess player thinks she needs to write about chess in her college essay. But in reality, college admissions counselors will read that the applicant is all about chess in plenty of other components of the applicant. The college essay is an opportunity to showcase a totally different angle on the applicant. Something other than chess even!
Just think about it logically. After you’ve watched Michael Phelps swim to a record-breaking medal count to become the single most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, do you want to hear him dissect his butterfly stroke technique? Do you want to hear him talk about how many dolphin kicks he took off each wall? Do you want to hear Ryan Lochte discuss his long-axis rotation on his backstroke? No! Of course not. You want to learn something new about Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. You want to know about Phelps’ relationship with his coach, Bob Bowman, and you want to know about Ryan Lochte’s terrible — and we mean terrible — fashion sense.
Use your college essays as a distinct and singular opportunity to showcase a different side of yourself to college admissions counselors. Show them something they wouldn’t otherwise know. Dare to reveal something about yourself that few know. Dare to entertain them. Dare to engage them. Dare to make them think. That is the kind of opportunity that you have in your college essays. Make the most of it.