How to come up with great ideas for your College Essay

Sometimes It is difficult to think of the topics and scenarios for your college application essay. Here you will find some tips and exercises that will help you generate a list of topics that you can potentially write about.

Your Reader

You should always think about your reader when thinking about your essay or writing it. Your reader, the admissions officer has likely gone through hundreds of essays. So it is important to have an essay that makes you likeable and memorable. Readers notice in books or texts when the writer isn’t really connected to his work. Therefore, it is important that through your writing the reader can feel how important your topic is and how emotionally connected you are to it.


Think about the major accomplishments in your life. It could be a drastic change that you went through such as going from shy to outgoing and how that affected you beneficially. Think about your cherished memories like birthdays, competitions, special visits, and trips. In a way the defining moments of your life that greatly shaped and changed you. Write down all your personal milestones and list them. Then find the most significant story from there. It helps to talk about this with your family and friends to generate more ideas.


Being in a relaxed state is very important to get your creativity flowing. It could be eating your favorite food, or walking, or playing sports or video games which put you in a relaxed state.  Engaging in activities you enjoy helps reduce the pressure that comes with starting the process allowing you to get a wide array of ideas into your head.  

All Ideas are equal

In the brainstorming process all ideas are equal and must receive the same emphasis.  Each idea even if it is “bad” has the potential to spark inspiration and lead to a range of other ideas that you may have never thought of before. Eventually in time you will find that one brilliant idea you were searching for. 


Many people broadly discuss their ideas and that simply does not express enough about you. An essay that generally talks about your passions are not as effective as an essay in which you raised $4,000 in 3 days for fundraiser to combat poverty. You only have a few hundred words to express yourself so it is important to have essays that show a significant aspect of yourself rather than broad subjects that say very little about yourself.

This will be a long and tedious process to find the right topics and ideas for your essay. But if you keep up with the suggestions outlined above you will find the right idea that showcases your personality and makes you stand out as an applicant.

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