the best thing you can do is try out a lot of ideas. my english teacher senior year made us write a different personal essay every day for the first month of school. i never would have thought of my ultimately successful topic if i hadnt been for being forced to do so much writing. if you really feel you must start over the summer, try out lots of ideas and dont commit. ask an english teacher or recent ivy grad for advice, your parents may not have the best sense of a relevant and not trite topic.
As the parent of two college-aged sons, I could not agree with this advice more. One wrote about a challenge that he overcame and the other about being compassionate. Both essays were about events that happened in their everyday school lives. Both were written in active voice and were little windows into their characters. Neither used the words challenge or compassionate. I am convinced that it was the strength and sincerity of their essays that opened the doors at the top schools that said “Yes” to my sons. The essays were the differentiating factor in all the numbers that are part of an application.
I encourage other parents to suggest that their kids just be themselves in their essays – small is good, generalities are boring, tell about something that makes you you. Oh, and read The Gatekeepers – – it offers the best insights into the college admissions process of any of the dozens of books I read on the topic.
A good research paper provides focused, in-depth information and analysis. If your topic is too broad, you will find it difficult to do more than skim the surface when you research it and write about it. is essential to making your topic manageable. To narrow your focus, explore your topic in writing, conduct preliminary research, and discuss both the topic and the research with others.