College Essay Topics

Are you ready to start writing those college entrance essays, but just can’t seem to come up with the right topic?  Believe it or not, the essay portion of the college application can be one of the most challenging sections for college-bound high school students to complete.

In addition to reviewing your standardized exam scores (SAT/ACT), GPA, volunteer experiences, and extracurricular involvement, the admissions committee will also be examining your writing ability to determine if you can express your thoughts, experiences, and ideas clearly and with the use of proper English.

Some colleges and universities expect their applicants to select college essay topics or choose from college essay prompts, while others will provide their applicants with college essay topics.  Either way, in this article, I’m going to outline some college essay topics that you can use if you are given the freedom to choose your own topic.

And, it just so happens that these are common college essay topics as well, so you’re likely to see them on your college application even if the school selects the topic for you.

Ready? Okay, here were go…

Topic #1 – Life Altering Experiences

This is always a good “go-to” topic to choose for a college entrance essay.  No one’s life is perfect, so I’m sure you can easily think of at least 5 obstacles that you’ve had to deal with over the last 4 years of high school.  These experiences tend to be a little easier for students to write about since they’ve actually lived through them.  Still can’t think of anything?  Try thinking about a situation where someone would have considered you a hero or an adversity you were able to overcome.  Maybe you come from a single-parent home or survived through a major surgery.  I’m sure if you think hard enough, you can come up with a great topic.

Topic #2 – Heroes

Personal heroes are also great college essay topics.  Can you think of someone who you really admire or someone who has truly inspired you during you high school career?  This could be a friend, parent, teacher, coach, school counselor, work supervisor, etc. However, it’s best to pick someone who you know well.  This will allow you to provide more specific details as to how this person has truly impacted your life.

Topic #3 – Poems or Novels

Have you read any good books or poems lately that have either inspired or touched you in a special way?  A moving poem or inspiring novel can become a great resource for college essay topics.  If you haven’t read any good books or watched any good movies lately, don’t be afraid to ask your English teacher or school counselor for recommendations.  After all, that’s what they are there for.

Do you have a small list of college essay topics that you’re considering, but just can’t seem to get started?  Try reading my college entrance essays post for more help on this topic.

Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.


Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

Latest posts by TheCollegeHelper (see all)