Still need to write your college essay? The essay, sometimes also known as the personal statement for college, serves as a key component of your college application, as it allows you to share personal details of your life that can provide the admissions office insight into your experiences, interests, struggles, and viewpoints. But the essay is often the hardest piece of the college application to complete, especially for those students with minimal experience writing about their own life or opinions. If you’re still searching for a college essay topic, we’ve listed seven tips for writing college application essays below.

  1. Share your cause. Are you fired up about environmental destruction? Have a heart for animal welfare? Determined to help stop gun violence? Think about what gets you psyched up, and put your thoughts and passion into words. Explain why you care about the cause and what you want to do (or have done) to fight for it.
  2. Think about who you admire. Do you have someone who has affected your life in a positive way? Use your essay to talk about it. Just be careful to tie the essay back to you and how your life has been impacted by this person. Spend a brief part of your writing describing the individual you admire and the relationship between you, and then the majority of the essay talking about how you’ve changed because of it.
  3. Reflect on how you’ve grown. How are you different from your middle school self? What lessons have you learned and how have you matured in the past 5-6 years? Be specific about the things that have helped you grow and why you’re proud of the person you’ve become.
  4. Talk about a challenge. Admissions offices like hearing about how students have overcome adversity. You can describe something seemingly large (such as the death of someone close to you) or something that seems minor (failing a test or not making the team). Any challenge is one worth writing about. Just be sure to focus on how you faced the challenge and moved forward from it.
  5. Describe something you love. Are you crazy about live action role play? Fond of composing your own music? Devoted to neighborhood kickball tournaments? Talk about something you absolutely love to do and why.
  6. Brag a bit. Have you accomplished something you’re proud of? Maybe you helped with the neighborhood playground design, got second place in the science fair, or won the dancing contest at Homecoming. Talk about what you did and why you’re proud of it.
  7. Share something new. What else do you think admissions offices at colleges should know about you that isn’t reflected elsewhere in your college application? Is your family situation unique? Has a learning disability affected your academics? Here’s your chance to shed light on anything else you want colleges to know about you.

As you write your essay, refer to other articles and blog posts with college application essay tips on our site for additional guidance. In particular, you can find general essay recommendations, essay mistakes to avoid, and advice on your essay from a Dean of Admission. Good luck writing!