Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

If you’re anything like me in preparation for applying to college you checked the Common App website at least once a week (read: daily). Maybe you are researching past year’s essay questions or setting up excel sheets with the positives and negatives of each college. What you may forget to do in all of your excitement is prep for actually writing your essays. August means that school is just around the corner. Not only may you fall symptom to senioritis, but you’ll have additional school work on top of the essays. Start by writing down a few descriptive words, sentences or phrases. This will enable writing your essays to seem easier. Now the real question is, what in the world should these be about?

1. A memory you love

A fond memory can be an awesome introduction to any essay you write. It can lead into how your character was built and how ultimately it lead you to your major of choice/how you believe you would fit in at the college. If you have a pet you could write a few sentences about your emotions when you met the pet and how they have influenced you. Or a time where you were injured and had to teach yourself strength from it. A time you spent with friends or family where you couldn’t stop smiling is another great memory.

2. A passion

Passion is what ignites you to keep going…or at least that’s what colleges like to hear. A college is bound to ask you about something you’re passionate about, so taking the time to brainstorm or observe what makes you happy over a few weeks will help you discover your passions. Though, for some people they could write about their passions for hours which can be difficult to fit into 600 word limits. Avoiding fluffy sentences and being overly verbose can help with this.

3. Funny anecdotes/one liners

Reading essay after essay can get boring for the admissions officers. This is why adding humor to your essay could be the thing that gives you that extra boost to get into the school. After reading tons of essays about sports and puppies, a joke could be refreshing to their eyes. This makes you stand out as an individual and adds a bit of your personality to the piece. For example, a story about the time you called your teacher mom leading into the sense of family you can find at school. This can turn into a chance to write an essay on the importance of relationship building and that being something you hope to do while at college as well.

4. A challenge you faced

A lot of schools love to hear about a time you faced adversity or any difficult situation. From learning how to make friends to a question of your morality, challenges are things that shape us into who we are. It is important to tell the story honestly and without fabrication. Hyperbole can turn off readers and make them think you are being untrue. It is also key to highlight how you have changed since this occurred. For example, if you were a pool life guard but afraid of swimming in the ocean specifically and your sister was drowning in the ocean, you’re challenged to either save her or wait for a beach life guard who might be too late. I know it’s highly specific and probably unrealistic, but this individual would likely attempt to save her. This would teach them about bravery they didn’t know they had and even possibly to overcome their fears.

All in all, if something pops into your head that you might want to write about make a list. You can keep it on your phone or carry some paper around with you at all times. Some other great topics you could write on include why you chose the colleges, what kind of impact you want to make whether short term or long term, and what you can offer to a college. I encourage you all to begin preparing as early as possible. Enjoy your summer yes, but by preparing you’ll avoid later stress.

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the author

Stephanie Jones is a student at Villanova University studying Computer Engineering. When she isn't reading or writing she enjoys watching tv shows on netflix, tumbling, and texting her friends. Memes are a sure fire way to make her laugh and she is always available for contact at

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