Steer Clear of These Topics on Your College Essay

There are some subjects that you should avoid on your college essay

Flickr user Billie Grace Ward

When you are writing your college essay, it is crucial that your message is clear and unmistakable. There should be no confusion about what you are trying to say. While there are a few subjects that you definitely should talk about, there are a few that you should steer clear of.

Political And Religious Issues

Politics and religious issues are best avoided as these tend to be controversial topics. The person reading your essay may have very strong opinions that contradict yours and they may have a hard time trying to be unbiased in assessing your essay. Unless you’re attending a religious school or plan to major in political science, it’s probably best to stay away from these topics.


A Travelogue

A long list of all the countries you’ve visited does not really say much about you. If you do want to bring up travel, keep it limited to that one memorable experience that will give the reader a window into your personality.

Checklist of Accomplishments

Resumes are for highlighting all of your achievements, not personal essays. Don’t just make a list of accomplishments and call it good—it’s far from. An essay is about getting to know the personality of the student on a deeper level than the rest of the application. Dig deep and search for one or two really memorable moments from one of those accomplishments instead.

Jail Time

Even if you’ve spent a short time in jail and the experience thought you something valuable, you are probably better off not mentioning it. Even when an essay prompt is something like “tell us about a time you overcame a challenge” you probably have other, more tasteful challenges to write about.

It is important to craft a college essay that is unique and impactful but you want it to stand out for the right reasons. Broaching any of these subjects in your college essay will make it stand out for all the wrong reasons and could cost you your admission.

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