One may find a hundred thousand guides on how to write the perfect college essay, but a wise person may infer that it is just as useful, if not more, to know exactly what not to write. The simple answer to what college essay topics you should not approach is: anything that enrages a professor, anything that makes a tired professor even more tired, and most of all, anything that provokes a professor into reconsidering the value of his profession. In short, college essay topics should be politically correct, revitalizing, interesting, and perhaps even provocative.
When choosing your college essay topics, think like a professor, forced by the virtue of his work to be daily subjected to a meal of cooked up stories and half-baked ideas. What would you most enjoy reading? The following types of approaches are most probably not on the list, and are therefore not recommended as college essay topics:
Nostalgia and Negativity
A drawn out nostalgic account of anything, excepting perhaps an interesting trip to a foreign land, is not something anyone really wants to read. Nostalgia has generally negative connotations, and negative college essay topics are an absolute ‘no-no’. It is also a very difficult type of approach to present, as, at its best, it must be witty and informative, as well as descriptive. This is not for a novice writer.
Wisecracks and Witticism
College professors generally enjoy intelligent witticisms so much, they tend to practice their own at every opportunity. This approach is not however, a clever approach to take in the serious matter of a college essay. Further, there is however a clear distinction between witticisms and wisecracks, the latter of which should ideally never be witnessed in a college document. Though the writer may believe that it is an appropriate manner in which to assert his personality, he may end up distinguishing himself in another way altogether. A completely comical document may send the message that the writer is not a serious person, and therefore not a welcome addition to any college anywhere. Inserting a witty comment here and there into your essay, however, is very much advised. Professors will enjoy a moment or two spent turning their frowns downside up!
College essay topics that are frequently singled out are those in which the student shares a personal story, usually revolving around a battle they have had to fight, and hopefully won. These battles may range from bullying to weight loss, learning disabilities to potential fatal diseases, all of which are relevant and telling about the writer, as well as touching. Nevertheless, it is not appropriate for a personal story to be about such topics as how the writer pursued a love interest and prevailed, due to his ‘skills’. This essay will be dismissed before the introduction has been read through. More importantly though, ‘inappropriate’ subjects include stories of a type that is likely to make a college professor uncomfortable, no matter how truthful, inspiring or significant. A college professor will not know how to take the story of an ex-stripper who battled her way in the red light district to be able to pay for the privilege of going to college. Nor will he know how to take the story of a student’s battle with homosexual tendencies.
There is a wealth of excellent college essay topics that make it ridiculous for potential college student to choose bad ones. At the end of the day, keep your essay true-to-self, simple, light, entertaining, informative –and not least, extremely well written.