Read our professional tips to avoid writing cliches in your college essays and create original stories that will improve your chances of acceptance. Learn the best ways to choose a unique and strong topic, as well as how to spot a cliché college application essay topic.
How to write a good essay? This is a problem that many graduates face when they have to enroll in colleges. A good college essay inspires the reader to become an advocate for student acceptance, as it captures the attention of admissions officers and shows them the character and personality of the student, going beyond the grades and test results.
It is important to answer the four key questions, which form the backbone of academic essays. Here are the questions:
- Who are you?
- How come you are here?
- What makes you special?
- What is important to you?
The information a student can provide to admissions officers by answering these questions includes personality qualities, life experiences, hobbies, skills, and aspirations. Students should distinguish themselves from other students with a well-thought-out and well-written essay; on the other hand, a weak essay does not offer much to distinguish a student, which is why you should avoid writing a cliché essay.
Avoiding Cliché Essay Topics and How to Correct Them
1. A summary of your accomplishments in life.
While resumes are a useful tool for showcasing accomplishments, they are boring to read. This is why cover letters are usually included in resumes in the professional world. An essay describing achievements is not necessary because a student’s college application basically serves as a resume and includes their grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities.
A better solution is for students to choose an experience that stands out from the rest and describe its impact on who they are today in an essay. This works especially well for any experiments that could use more background information or have an intriguing past. Perhaps you could volunteer for an interesting organization, which is an unusual extracurricular activity that not many people do. You might decide to focus on this aspect of who you are and what matters to you.
You can write about more than one particular occasion, but make sure your essay stays consistent. The telling of a story over a long period of time is another typical example essay writing structure. This structure has several diverse experiences connected by a similar theme. This is the standard essay format for you if your story involves development, growth, or change. A basketball player who was ashamed to say he liked to sing could serve as an example of how this evolved as he took singing lessons and came to accept and love his identity as a singer.
2. Sports injury, struggle or triumph.
It is common for athletic trainers to teach their students how their personal athletic experiences can translate into life. Unfortunately, many novels, movies, and college dissertations have already covered these ideas and situations. Avoid the typical topics if you want to write an original college sports essay:
- Take on the challenge
- Respect your teammates
- refuse to give up
- The adrenaline of victory
- The pain of a losing team
For example, a student should discuss how sports helped develop who they are rather than how their team trained and improved to defeat competitors or win a title. Here is a unique way to write about a sports accident. For example, maybe injuring your knee at a football game inspired you to start a blog during your recovery, which has become one of your main hobbies.
A student might write about learning about their motivation for sport and exercise along the same lines. They may have always played rugby because they were good at it or because their family created them because they were expected to. However, they may have realized that they didn’t enjoy the competitive aspect of the sport and preferred to indulge in more relaxing hobbies like rock climbing or sailing.
3. The experience of an immigrant.
The United States is a nation of immigrants, and while not all students have immigrant stories, many do. Therefore, the following immigrant topics are ones every admissions officer has seen:
- Take language lessons
- Learning Unfamiliar Habits
- Getting used to a new way of life
- Not being able to fit in
Asian students, in particular, should refrain from writing term papers on an immigrant-related topic because, according to demographics, they have a harder time getting into colleges. This subject simply draws attention to their history.
A student must make their immigration essay original or highly personal to pass (not just another generic college essay). Another idea is to focus on a single experience since the conflicting emotions make the reading compelling. A student might, for example, discuss a time when he felt unwelcome in the United States and how he dealt with it while working at the local community center.
You can also use an essay to describe a very private experience. Maybe a student had to walk to school or work when he first immigrated to the United States because he couldn’t afford a car or public transport. In their college essays, the student can highlight what they discovered during their walks and the ideas they sparked, such as the determination to succeed despite all the challenges.
4. Trying hard in a difficult class.
For several reasons, writing an essay about working hard in a tough class doesn’t work. It is likely that most applicants to a renowned college have taken challenging courses and put in a lot of effort. They probably had complex missions, struggled, and eventually succeeded. Another argument to avoid this topic? The following characteristics are likely covered by reference letters:
- Work ethics
Consider the personality characteristics you want to show when writing your essay rather than focusing on how you overcame a challenge. Choose a different quality to highlight in your essay if you think your motivation has already been addressed in other parts of your application.
5. A person you respect.
The main problem with writing about someone you respect is that you might end up writing more about them than yourself in the app. Even though the students direct the essay to themselves, they usually end up discussing the same topics:
- Discover something about themselves
- Learn the lessons of life
- Learn a lot about the company
Keeping the candidate’s point of view will help prevent your essay from looking like every other cliché application essay. A great way to do this is to highlight a specific instance where they demonstrated qualities or behavior that you admire in someone.
6. Move to a new city.
Writing about moving to a new place is another overused topic, as is the immigrant story. Every year, many students move or change schools. Many people find it difficult to fit in or adapt to a new environment, but end up meeting new people.
Ask yourself why this would be the case if the move was really a big part of your high school years and your personality. Has it encouraged you to pursue new interests or open up more? In your essay, pay more attention to how the move has affected your life rather than the move itself and your adjustment.
7. Your religion.
In general, religion is a complex topic to write about creatively. Writing about your beliefs and critically analyzing them can be beneficial, but simple religious essays about why your beliefs are important to you are slightly more cliché.
It’s also essential to keep your audience in mind. Essays on your faith will likely be required if you go to a religious school. Avoid discussing your conservative religious beliefs in your essay if you are applying to a liberal university.
8. Your love life.
Breakups are too personal for your college essays, even though they should be intimate. Remember that applying to college is similar to applying for a job. Therefore, you must present yourself in a professional manner. This implies that it’s a really bad idea to write about your love life.