Cheating is one of the worst crimes you can commit in college, and it is not at all acceptable under any circumstances. Avoid this topic altogether, even if you had to cheat on some tests or assignments because you’ll only come off as someone who does not know what they are talking about. Instead of writing about cheating, try writing an essay about integrity.
Although drinking is a popular activity for most students, especially first-year university students who just turned eighteen, avoid writing about the subject unless you want your essay to sound unoriginal and insincere. If you do plan on including alcohol in your essay for whatever reason, write about responsible drinking instead of casual drinking — you’ll appear more intelligent and less cliché.
Asking college students to write an essay about why they should not or did not do drugs is like asking someone to dye their hair blue: it’s the easiest thing in the world, but people rarely change what makes them happy (especially when it comes to writing). Don’t include drugs in your essay unless you want it to be too predictable; write about the consequences of casual drug use instead — this will make you stand out from all of the other essays about drug abuse that students submit every year.
Although some would argue (myself included) that gambling can become an addiction, avoid this topic if you are being asked to write about your addiction to gambling, the consequences of it, or your attempts at stopping. College is not a platform for non-fiction writing; instead, write an essay about how you became interested in gambling in the first place and why you think it’s so addictive — this will show admissions officers that you have critical thinking skills and aren’t just another one-off student with a problem.
Procrastination is a common topic among people who have to write essays as part of their daily lives, and it’s probably the easiest thing you could ever write about — but don’t even think about writing an essay on this subject unless you’re being asked to. If your instructor wants you to write about why you procrastinate or how it affected your last semester in school, then feel free, but otherwise, just find something else that interests you more.
6. Smoking Cigarettes
Although many college students are smokers, especially when they first attend university, avoid writing about smoking if all the prompt asks is for you to tell readers why or why not you smoke. Also, steer clear of casual smoking; instead, write about what makes you want to continue smoking (if that is your case), or what made you finally decide to quit.
If the prompt asks you to write about why watching too much television can be bad, then go for it, but otherwise, steer clear of this topic altogether. Write about the shows that inspire you (or bore you) instead; admissions officers will appreciate your creative approach and ability to come up with original ideas.
8. The Internet
The internet is one of the most useful tools in modern-day life, so avoid writing an essay on how it’s bad because students are glued to their screens all day long studying or surfing Facebook — admissions officers won’t appreciate this unoriginal idea one little bit. Instead of talking about the negative effects of the internet, write an essay about how you can use it to further your education — this will impress admissions officers.
9. Going to College
For many students, writing about why they want to go to college is almost impossible, especially when they struggle to find anything remotely interesting or noteworthy to say about this topic. If you are someone who has no desire in attending college because of its high cost or other factors, then don’t mention that in your essay; instead, tell readers what made you change your mind and decide to attend.
10. Being an Intern
If you’ve decided to become an intern because your parents want you to, or because it’s a surefire way to get a job after graduation, then don’t bother writing about this topic unless this is specifically asked of you. College essays are supposed to be personal and meaningful — if your essay doesn’t have either of these qualities, then choose another topic. If you’re forced to write about being an intern, then talk about why this profession interests you and how it came about — this will show admissions officers that you are passionate about what you do.
REMEMBER: You are not limited to these topics! These are just some examples of topics that students often submit as their college essays; if none of these topics interest you, then find something else that inspires you, such as art or history. Remember that too many cliches (such as the internet), however, will reduce your chances of getting into college, so don’t be afraid to go against the grain and choose a topic that is less popular but more personal and interesting instead.
College essays should sound like YOU talking, not like EVERYONE talking.