When interviewed, college admission essay readers will say, out of the thousands of essays they read each year, usually not more than ten or so stand out enough to be memorable. In a field of very competitive college applicants, the $64,000 question is: What makes a college essay stand out? The answer is the topic chosen!
And, what is the topic that is so rarely written about that it often becomes a stand out?—MONEY.
Students rarely write about theirs or their parents’ experience with money. Here are some essay topics that can be explored in this area.
• Work Experience- This is an essay topic not often explored, perhaps because many students, especially those going to selective colleges, don’t work. However, writing about work allows students to describe skills they develop, different people they meet, and varying expectations they encounter from bosses, customers, and colleagues that can differ from those of their parents, teachers, and peers.
• Coming from a Family of Privilege- Many students don’t want to appear better off than the average so they don’t address this subject. Still, many privileged students lack parents’ time and attention or have seen the biases people of their class have against the underprivileged. Both of these perspectives can aid in understanding an applicant.
• Coming from a Poor Family- Students may be embarrassed or think they are starting from a disadvantage when they write about their low socio-economic status. However, this experience offers lessons and understanding about sacrifice, determination, and appreciating values other than having money.
• Bridging the gap between socio-economic differences- Some students don’t realize that they are negotiating differences that show their diversity of experience and their opportunities to appreciate of differences as well as to understand how to mediate. Students may come from poor neighborhoods to attend classes with many privileged students. Some students see differences between classmates and athletic team members. Some students live in wealthy residential neighborhoods and work with students from poor, single-parent families. Some students on a high school path to college end up dealing with people at work, at school, or in the community who have never received a college education.
Money and they way it affects peoples’ lives can be a sensitive topic and difficult to write about. But, taking on a difficult topic might set you apart from thousands of other college applicants.