Essay Theme Ideas

Not sure what to write about for your upcoming college application essay? It can be tough landing on a topic, but it’s important to write about something that is special and important to you. Authenticity is essential in these pieces. If you’re stuck on a topic or theme though, here are some ideas that can help you brainstorm.

Essay Theme Ideas

Talk About a Time Where You Had Personal Growth

What is an instance in your life where you experienced personal growth? Think back on the past 17 or 18 years about times where something affected you and the person you are today. Some examples include:

  • You learned your actions affected others in ways you didn’t realize
  • You volunteered for an organization
  • You traveled to a new location or country
  • An important and life changing event
  • Pivotal relationships in your life and what they mean to you
  • Spiritual growth
  • Communication growth

Discuss a Time You Failed

Your essay doesn’t have to only be about times you succeeded and came out on top. Talking about a time you failed is a worthy topic – and will set you apart from many other students’ stories.

Think about the event, how you failed, how you dealt with the failure, and how it has made you a different person today. Spin it into a positive and showcase the personal growth that came out of the experience. You can also talk about a time in your life that changed your view, you were wrong, challenged or embarrassed.


Explain Your Life Goals

Do you have a career trajectory in mind? Ideas of what you want to do after graduation? Talk about your life goals from work to family to your hobbies. Explain how experiences at the college will help you reach your future aspirations, and share why these goals are so important to you.

This is also a great opportunity to talk about your passions, especially if it’s something obscure. How does that passion play a starring role in your life and goals?

Talk About a Quote that Resonates with You

Do you have a quote that seems to speak to you and who you are as a person? Maybe even included it as your yearbook quote.

This quote is a perfect diving off point for your college application essay. Discuss what the quote means to you, how it relates to your life, and how it impacts your approach to life. But, make sure it’s not an overused quote so it’s not a repeat of other students’ essays.

Deciding on a college essay topic can feel daunting, the most important thing is to display yourself as unique. So brainstorming ahead of time and don’t write about the same thing all other students are covering!

So what will you be writing about in your college essay?

How to Write an Essay About Yourself for Your College App