How To Choose The Best Personal Essay Topics

November 19, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Tips for choosing the best personal essay topics.

A personal essay could be required of you for various reasons, ranging from a straightforward school assignment to a prerequisite for admission to a particular college. Therefore, you must choose from personal essay topics that would make you stand out. Think of each statement as a jumping-off point and describe an experience in response to the prompt.

There are no longer any limitations placed on the subject matter that you are free to investigate in your essay. Being presented with an infinite number of options can feel both empowering and bewildering at the same time. However, having so much freedom can be incredibly liberating.

How to choose personal essay titles?

When deciding your personal essay titles, keep in mind that everything you write will be subjective. The author’s observations, feelings, opinions, and experiences were the foundation for this piece. Because you are the one doing the talking, it is natural for you to use pronouns such as I, my, me, we, and ours.

Female student writing in her desk.

To begin, the advice given on most websites offering essay writing services is that you should select a subject that is engaging. A wide variety of material can serve as a college personal essay topic.

It is essential to begin the introduction of your paper with a robust hook to capture the audience’s attention regardless of the topic you decide to write. The first paragraph should contain an introduction to the topic. This is the most important point you want to make in your message.

In the body of your paper, you should provide the readers with information regarding the topic. It is recommended to first draft an outline before beginning the actual writing. It will assist you in organizing your thoughts, maintaining your concentration, and writing clearly and succinctly. Introduce a new personal essay topic at the beginning of each paragraph. Show rather than tell. Use forceful verbs and provide a wealth of specifics regarding the senses.

Conclude with something that will make the reader think. You are required to explain the valuable lesson you have gained and how the experiences you have had contributed to your growth as a person and shaped your personality.

Topics for a personal essay that you should avoid

Know that there are many topics for a personal essay that you should avoid for college essays that you should steer clear of before you start jotting down ideas. Some topics for college essays are overused, while others are dangerous, lack creativity, or are just plain unacceptable. We are going to walk you through all of the potential pitfalls that can be found in college essays.

Inappropriate topics

Some believe that surprising the admissions committee by bringing up an inappropriate topic is a fantastic idea; however, this is not the case. Keep a safe distance from anything that even remotely relates to illegal behavior, consumption of alcohol or drugs, or anything else that follows these themes.

Young woman using a laptop while holding a pen.

Using topics such as these will not put you in a position to be successful. It’s possible that the admissions committee will pass judgment on you, and you’re not making the best case for yourself right now.

Volunteering at a needle exchange or other facility dedicated to harm reduction is the only circumstance in which something of this nature could be considered appropriate. Even in that case, you should approach the subject with tact and grace or think about switching to a different topic entirely.

A restatement of your activity list and your transcripts

Another group of personal essay topics you should avoid is something already in your Activities List and Transcripts. Simply restating your accomplishments won’t cut it when writing an engaging narrative. There is no need to repeat everything you wrote down because the admissions committee already has access to your activities list and transcripts.

Remember that you must provide the admissions committee with the information they still need to possess.

If you want to write about a particular extracurricular activity, choose one to focus on and become intimately familiar with. Choose the endeavor that has the most significance to you or the one that you were the most enthusiastic about, and dig deeper into it.

If the activity demonstrates your growth, positive character traits, or personality, then concentrating on just that one activity can make for a successful essay.

Romance, relationships, and breakups

Do not use the fact that you are head over heels in love with your partner. Alternatively, don’t write that you are scraping the bottom of ice cream tubs after a breakup. The admissions committee members could care less about your romantic relationships, even though we know this may sound not kind. Aside from that, love is a massive and multifaceted subject that does not lend itself well to an essay for a college application.

Another issue when discussing this subject is that it shifts the attention away from you and onto another individual. You need to make sure that your essay is focused entirely on you. Because they place the most emphasis on that applicant, you should put yourself first in the application process.

Composing about your hero

Putting pen to paper to tell the tale of your hero is an appealing concept in theory. However, you should refrain from using these kinds of discussions as personal essay topics for your college essay because it is overused.

Writing about someone you admire takes the spotlight away from you and directs it to someone who isn’t applying to college. In the same way, writing about your hero takes the spotlight away from you and directs it to someone else.

If writing about your hero was something you wanted to do in the first place, what inspired you to do so? What changes did they bring about in you, or what activities did the two of you participate in together? In what ways have you grown due to having specific epiphanies or going through certain experiences?


Even though the challenges you’ve overcome can serve as meaningful learning opportunities, you should steer clear of using them as a topic for your college application essay. It’s okay if some people aren’t comfortable discussing the more personal aspects of a tragedy they’ve been through; others won’t talk about it at all. Similarly, some people find it difficult to read about the intimate details of the suffering endured by another individual.

However, you can carefully craft a story that includes a tragic event, such as the loss of a loved one, if this is essential to the story you are telling. The important thing is to concentrate on yourself and consider how the tragedy served as an index event that influenced your subsequent thoughts and actions. Remember that you are not required to go into graphic detail about your tragedy because doing so can hinder rather than propel your writing.

Controversial personal essay topics (Politics, Religion, and More)

In general, you should avoid debating controversial subjects in your college essays. The problem with these is that not everyone will share the same views as you do, and you risk exposing yourself to judgment from members of the admissions committee who do not share your opinions.

A student taking an exam in a desk.

Naturally, admissions committees do not base their decisions on factors like which political party a candidate supported during the election or whether or not the candidate regularly attends a house of worship. These subjects will work to your disadvantage. Writing about politics and religion can give the committee the impression that you are trying to persuade them that your viewpoints are correct rather than demonstrating why you would be the best candidate.


Steer clear of “the confessional” if you want to construct a story about a challenge you’ve overcome or if you’re going to discuss how much you’ve improved throughout your time in high school.

You might feel guilty about something you’ve done in the past, but no one else knows. If this is the case, keep these confessions to yourself and don’t usethemt as personal essay topics when talking to the admissions committee. Your confession will likely not paint you in the light you were hoping for after reading it.

Instead, center your attention on an encounter in which something or someone altered your perspective or on how you maneuvered through a difficult circumstance in the most effective way you could. These anecdotes demonstrate growth, adaptability, and a willingness to change one’s perspective when new information is presented to them.

Your luck or privilege

Concentrating solely on these aspects is not in your best interests if you’ve been fortunate enough to have a privileged upbringing or to have experienced string after string of good fortune. It may give the impression that you have not encountered any difficulties or have a warped view of how things operate in the world.

If you’ve managed to steer clear of significant difficulties up to this point in your life, consider yourself fortunate. However, dig deep and look for something beyond the surface of sunshine and rainbows; admissions committees like to see some vulnerability and honesty in applicants.

Any personal essay topics that require telling lies

You would think this one is self-explanatory, but many people perceive that the events in their lives aren’t interesting enough to share, so they make things up. The most important thing for a personal essay to remember is that you should never lie about anything when writing essays for college admission. Admissions committees can easily detect the sincerity of an applicant. That is not a characteristic you wish to convey to them in any way.

You don’t need to have written an exciting story full of unexpected turns and twists, so don’t worry about that. Excellent topics for college essays can be found in the most mundane places. When you write, tell the truth, and don’t leave out any specifics.

Risky topics like pointing out a school’s shortcomings

This writing style is not often used for a good reason: it is ineffective. Some students may believe that drawing attention to the weaknesses of their school and how they can help improve those weaknesses will make their essays more memorable and help them succeed academically.

You won’t be able to hide that you’re different from everyone else. As a general rule, you should avoid causing too much disruption at the school you are interested in attending.

Female student walking near a walkway.

A more effective strategy would be to explain how your admission will enrich the academic community and the overall atmosphere of the campus. Although a response such as this might be better suited for a supplementary essay titled “Why this school? “Educational institutions are looking to enroll students who will enrich the institution’s culture and bring a fresh point of view to the classroom.

What makes good personal essay topics?

It would be best to avoid writing about any topics listed here because they are either overused or inappropriate to discuss with admissions officers. For good personal essay topics, essays for college admissions should always have a professional yet conversational tone, and you should avoid writing about anything that could hurt your application in any way.

Even though specific topics should be avoided in college essays, you can still modify them to make them more suitable and to tell a better story. Your writing ought to accurately reflect who you are, including your voice and personality. Keep in mind that everything you write in your journal will be subjective. The author’s observations, feelings, opinions, and experiences were the foundation for this piece.

Now that you have prepared your personal essay, you are ready to send it to your university of choice. If you are going to do so, it is recommended that you get the guidance of AdmissionSight. This company is known to have helped students enter the university of their dreams. You can book a consultation to learn more about it.


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