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A brainstorming session with friends can often generate far better titles than a solitary session of pounding your head on your keyboard.

You do want to get your title right—it's going to make an immediate impression on the admissions folks who read your essay, and you clearly want them to enter your essay in a curious and eager state of mind.

What’s most curious about the college essay is that many of the topics on this list (those that should be avoided) also happen to be some of the most commonly used topics out there. Why are students writing about boring, tired out subjects? A great essay details Joe’s experience during his mission trip to Guatemala, where he volunteered at a local school with his family. But, the first essay example didn’t make you want to continue reading on to learn any more details. You may think you know what you’re going to write your college admissions essay about but, before you do, read this list to learn what topics you should avoid and why.

For many students, the issue is the narrative, which begins at the essay’s focus: the topic.

Avoid this topic at all costs unless you’re starting with that followed up with some along the lines of, “…so I decided to leave my cushy private school to switch places at a public high school in Detroit with an inner-city teen and this is what happened.” Now THAT would make for an interesting essay.

This may be one of the most popular essay topics out there…and it’s also one of the most boring clichés around.

Doubtful – many students even take it upon themselves to create their own version of an anti-essay (see number seven on the list).

It was there he met Anita, a local elderly woman who wanted to learn how to read but came from a poor family so she never had the opportunity. College essays are similar to life and, in life, nobody likes a braggart.

If you do want to bring up these topics, try to think of something interesting or unexpected that happened during your trip.

Did a particular person or experience have an impact on you?

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