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Finding An Essay Topic

Alan Gelb

Mr. Gelb is the author of “Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps.” He has written advice for The Choice on how to whittle your admissions essay and how juniors should prepare their essays during the summer before senior year.

For your college admissions essay, you will be asked to write 500 flawless words on a subject that is deeply personal under circumstances in which the stakes are very high. Now how could that not feel like a daunting task? This Tip Sheet offers some advice about the hardest part of the job: finding a topic.

There are a lot of strange theories about what constitutes a good topic. Some students are convinced that the personal statement has to be a “peanut butter” essay. (Apparently, that’s shorthand for any off-beat, attention-grabbing piece that focuses on why you love peanut butter … or smoked herring … or the Three Stooges.) I don’t subscribe to that theory. Your topic does not need to be a singular invention never encountered before.

For those who say that you’re not allowed to write about pets or grandparents or broken limbs (yes, I’ve heard such claims), I say bosh to that as well. As far as I’m concerned, the only taboo is shameless self-promotion. (As vice president of my class, I selflessly sought to install healthy foods in the cafeteria vending machines…)

Finding a good topic to write about can be a challenge, but let me try to help by offering these three suggestions:

  1. Understand the parameters of the assignment. The point of your college admissions essay is to connect you to the person who is reading it. In order to make such a connection, you’ll want to tell a compelling story that shows you as an authentic and caring human being, someone who merits a place in a college community. If you manage to do that, you’ll be in good shape.
  2. Acknowledge your constraints. You only have 500 words to work with — not a lot of space. You can’t tell us all about your summer building houses for Habitat. You can only tell a small piece of it. So what story is lurking within that larger story? Learning from an elderly volunteer how to correctly wield a hammer? That might be a good topic, showing you as a person who is open to learning from others. Through that focusing-down process, potential topics should start to appear and take shape.
  3. Ask yourself questions. Once you have a sense of the requirements and limitations connected to this assignment, you can start asking yourself exploratory questions that will help dredge up topics of some promise. What keeps me up at night? What in the world utterly fascinates me? Which of my relationships have I worked at the hardest? Make a list, answer them quickly, put them aside, come back to them, and see where you feel a magnetic pull. Those are the topics that are waiting to be written.

Remember: Everyone has a story to tell. It’s just a matter of discovering that story.


Do readers of The Choice have essay-writing advice of their own? Please share your expertise using the comment box below.

Online Essay Writing Tools: Find a Good Topic

As a part of their academic life, students are expected to write and submit a lot of essays. Some of these essays are graded and some are simply for practice. Some more important and ones actually contribute towards a student's final report. As a student, you must already understand the importance of submitting a well written and a well researched essay that is on a nicely and engaging topic. You must, however, also be aware that it is not easy to write a good essay especially when students have so many other things to do. This is where professional essay writing services come in. These services offer online essay help to students who struggle to submit their essay on time.

One of the first and most important things that you need to do when it is time for you to write an essay is to find a suitable topic. Topics are hardly ever assigned to students, as professors want to read about what a student is most interested in. Unless a topic has been assigned to you, you will have to find a good one on your own.

No matter what course you're writing an essay for, you will always have a lot of topics to choose from. Brainstorming and Internet research are two of the most effective ways of finding relevant topics that would make for good and readable essays. It is important to remember that you don't have to pick a topic that impresses your readers; you need to pick a topic that you know you can do justice to and then write an essay that will impress the readers.

Some Tips on Finding Good Essay Topics

Carry out a thorough Internet search on the course that you're going to write an essay for. See what is new and what is making the news and pick a topic accordingly.

Don't pick a topic that is too obscure as finding material would be a problem. On the other hand, make sure that you don't pick a topic that is too broad and might have too much material on it; that will just confuse you. A good topic is narrow enough to be focused without being too unheard of.

While controversy is a good way of getting people interested in your write up, avoid topics that are too controversial.

Pick a topic that you know you would be interested in. If a topic interests you, you would be motivated to write and produce a good essay.

Make a list of topics that you feel are a good idea and discuss them with your seniors, professor or parents. This will help you pick a topic that has mass appeal.

Picking a topic is the first thing that you'll have to do when it is time for you to write an essay. Make sure that you do the job well because the topic of an essay is as good as 50% of the entire essay. If it interests the professor and readers, you can be sure that you will get a good grade.

Get Online Essay Help whenever You Feel Lost

Is the deadline for your essay submission really close and you are now panicking? Don't worry and simply get in touch with a professional writing service for online essay help. These writing services have a panel of experienced experts who are dedicated to ensuring the students never have to struggle. With a professional on-board, you will be able to submit a flawless, well written essay, on a topic that is both interesting and intelligent.

Students have a lot of things to tend to and they might find it difficult to devote an essay the time and effort it requires. This could lead to you losing valuable marks and this is not your fault in any way. If you ever feel that you are stuck and will not be able to do the good job that is necessary, simple carry out a quick Internet search and find a reliable and affordable essay writing service for online essay help.

When it is time for you to find a professional writing service for online essay help, simply turn to the Internet. This is the most convenient way to find a service that is both trustworthy and economical.

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