Many selection processes for scholarships or even for universities abroad will ask you to write an essay. In some cases, you have to produce a text on a specific subject, and in others – more rare – the theme is free. Anyway, to do this with quality and property, you need to train a lot. That’s why we brought you 53 topics to inspire you to write. It may be that one of them fits perfectly into the subject that the college asks for or else it looks so good that you don’t even have to write another one!
Topics and tips for writing an essay
What makes a topic good?
1. It is specific
Good writing topics for selection processes are extremely specific: you must know all the facts pertinent to that subject and be able to tie them well in your argument throughout the text. Being specific when writing an essay is essential, as it not only highlights your work from other texts, but also manages to immerse the reader through realism, details and expressed feelings. Nobody wants to read a vague, light or boring story – not even those responsible for the selection process!
2. Shows who you are
In addition to being specific, good topics for writing an essay reveal who you are: your passions and interests, what is important to you, your best qualities, your defects, what drives you and so on … That means that when presenting a real and honest topic, you will stand out, leaving your mark!
3. It is meaningful to you
It is also important that the topic has meaning for you or has deeply influenced you. In that case, even if the subject seems trivial, it’s okay to use it, as long as you can effectively go into detail about why that experience or idea had such an impact on you.
4. Is unique
Writing an essay on a single topic makes your text more memorable. But what does it mean to be unique, exactly? Many students think they need to choose an extremely rare or crazy experience to speak on their essays – but that is not necessarily what we mean by “unique”. Good writing topics can be unusual and different, yes, but they can also be unique, taking into account the most mundane or common activities and experiences. In that case, your view of a fact will always be unique, however the situation may not be. So try to express it in the most genuine way possible.
5. Answer the question well
As we said earlier, in some selection processes you need to write an essay on a specific topic. In general, these topics are discussed through questions that you need to answer with the text. Take the question asked for the Coalition Application as an example :
What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
What is the most difficult part of being a teenager right now? What is the best part? What advice would you give to a younger brother or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
For this prompt , you need to answer all three questions (although it is totally acceptable to focus more on one or two of them) to write an interesting and appropriate essay.
That is why it is important to read and reread the question. You should know exactly what you are being asked to do, well before you start debating the possible topics you can address when writing an essay.
Topics to inspire you to write an essay
Here are 53 examples of topics that you can use as a basis for writing an essay or even training your text production. They are divided into six general types:
- Why this college?
- Personal change and growth
- Passions, interests and goals
- Overcoming a challenge
- Diversity and Community
- Troubleshooting a problem
Note that these topics can overlap, which means that you don’t have to limit yourself to just one of them when writing an essay.
Why this college?
- How a specific course will help you achieve your academic or professional goals
- A memorable and positive interaction you had with a professor or college student
- Something good that happened to you while visiting the university campus on a trip
- A certain class that you want to attend or a certain teacher that you are excited to work with
- Any equipment or facility on campus that you want to use
- Your plans to start a club in college, possibly to raise awareness about a major problem
- An exclusive college course that you can’t wait to attend
- How and where do you plan to volunteer in the university community
Personal change and growth
- An amazing teacher you studied with and the positive impact he / she had on you
- How did you change your mind about something, like a particular movie star or TV show
- How your status or someone else’s made you more aware of social and economic differences
- Once someone told you something that made you realize you were wrong
- How your opinion on an issue, such as gay marriage or immigration, has changed over time
- A documentary that alerted you to a specific social, economic or political problem in progress in the country or in the world
- Advice that you would give to your younger self about friendship, motivation, school, etc.
- The steps you took to get rid of a bad or self-sabotaging habit
- An account of the first or most recent time you did something, like dancing for an audience
Passions, interests and goals
- A book you read that you believe has sparked your love for literature and / or writing
- A work or school project that introduced you to the chosen course
- An account of your daily routine and how your biggest hobby or interest fits into it
- The career and the (positive) impact you imagine having after college
- A teacher or mentor who encouraged you to pursue a specific interest that you had
- How traveling helped you develop an interest in exchanging or learning languages
- A special skill or talent that you have had since you were young and that relates to the chosen course in some way (like designing buildings with LEGO pieces, for example)
- Where do you see yourself 10 or 20 years from now
- Your biggest achievement so far, related to your passion(for example, winning a gold medal for your invention in a competition)
Overcoming a challenge
- Once you lost a game or competition that was really important to you
- How did you deal with the loss of someone close to you
- Once you did poorly in a class that you expected to do well
- How moving to a new school affected your self-esteem and social life
- A chronic illness you have struggled with or are still struggling with
- Your healing process after having your heart broken for the first time
- A moment when you gave in under peer pressure and the actions you took to keep it from happening again
- As you almost gave up on learning a foreign language, but persisted
- Why did you decide to become vegetarian or vegan and how do you live with a meat-eating family
- What you did to overcome a specific anxiety or phobia (e.g. stage fright)
- The history of a failed experience that you had repeatedly and how you finally found a way to make it work successfully
Diversity and Community
- Someone in your community who inspires you
- A family tradition that you used to be ashamed of but are now proud of
- Your experience with language barriers in a foreign country
- A friend from the LGBT community who supported you when you came out
- Once you were discriminated against, how did you react and what would you do differently if you faced the same situation again
- How do you view your identity as a minority, multiracial or multiethnic person
- A volunteer project or effort that you have led to help or improve your community
- A celebrity or personality that inspired you to open up as an LGBT person
- Your biggest challenge (and how you plan to face it) as a woman in a male-dominated field
- How you used to discriminate against your own community and what made you change your mind and eventually be proud of who you are and / or where you are from
Troubleshooting a problem
- A program that you implemented in your school in response to a problem, such as a lack of selective garbage collection
- A moment when you intervened to mediate an argument or fight between two people
- An application or other tool that you have developed to make people’s lives easier in some way
- Once you have proposed a solution to a problem at school, an internship or a job
- The actions you took to identify and correct an error in the coding of a website or program
- An important social or political issue that you would resolve if you had the means