A college application is probably more important than any other essay you'll ever write. For that reason, you want to make sure that you not only keep the grammar and spelling in check, but more importantly, you really want to engage your reader - aka the college applications officer! Don't get all caught in the seemingly negative undertone of this list - avoiding the following topics can save you a lot of time as you brainstorm ideas for your college application essay. Give yourself a break and stay away from these 6 downers and yawn-fests:
1 - List of Accomplishments - You can throw in the odd accomplishment in your essay, if the context of an interesting story calls for it. But rhyming off a bunch of amazing things you've achieved and done in your life is not only boring, but the undertone of bragging might put the reader off!
2 - Tragedies in Your Life - Your essay should enlighten the reader about yourself, not put them spiralling into a deep depression. Avoid talking too much about downers like death, divorce, and any other horrible circumstance in your life, which are not only huge downers, but their powerful nature can make these topics really challenging to write about.
3 - Goody-Two-Shoes Experiences - Whether you took a missions trip to Guatemala or volunteered all your weekends to feeding the needy, going into too much detail about all the do-good experiences you've had in your life can be boring. Of course, if the experience fits the context, mention it. But putting too much emphasis on these experiences can put your reader to sleep.
4 - Important Things/People in Your Life - Obviously, everyone's lives are shaped by the people they've come across and the things they've seen and done. But focusing too much on "the most important person in my life" can be too broad and risk having your essay thrown into the "No" pile.
5 - Humour - It's quite possible that a story you choose to include in your essay might be funny in and of itself, but you should not try to convey your own humour in the essay - everyone has their own version of what's funny or not. There's a big difference here. Keeping your delivery straightforward is key.
6 - Bad Behaviour - This might sound like a no-brainer, but you won't exactly be earning any brownie points from your applications officer by mentioning the myriad of bad behaviours from your past, such as jail time, use of illicit drugs, or anything of that nature. Avoid mentioning these events altogether.
Keep your applications officer interested throughout your entire essay without boring them or having them wonder about your judgement!