Are there any topics I should avoid for my college essays?
Yes: any topic that has nothing to do with you and your key specialty or area of expertise. I can’t tell you how many applications have to do with “my community service trip,” “my grandpa and his experience fighting in WWII,” and “why I love Ghandi.” Students think that by writing about lofty, sophisticated topics, they’ll be impressing colleges – in fact, the opposite is the case. Your essay is the one real chance you have (aside from your interview) to give colleges a taste of your true personality and to set yourself apart. Write an essay that’s unique to you, and that continues the narrative of your specialty. For instance, if you’re an artist, talk about a strange and unique artistic experience you’ve had, or talk about a controversial opinion you have regarding a specific artist, and why this illustrates your personality and your style. DO NOT WRITE A “VANILLA” ESSAY. Be unique and interesting, not fancy. And make sure your essay backs up your narrative.