There is no doubt the personal essay is one of the most important elements of your college application. The rest is data, cold numbers that reveal your scores and grades. The essay is where you have the opportunity to talk about yourself and distinguish who you are apart from others.
But, you do not want to talk about yourself in ways that do nothing to help you gain admission to the college of your choice. Some topics are obvious no-nos. Never write about your drug use, your trip to court, your sex life, or your single-handed heroics.
And, there are others topics, perhaps not as obvious, you do not want to write about in your personal essay. Here they are:
1. Your accomplishments – Remember they should already be listed on your application in your resume and recommendations. You do not want to repeat information in the limited space of the college application. Listing your accomplishments can also become tedious and paint you as self-absorbed.
2. Your Travel – Believe it or not, this is a very common topics, so why be like others? Also, you don’t want the highlights of your travels to end up sounding like an overdone tourism brochure. If you have had a single experience that has impacted you on a trip, then you can write about it.
3. Your bad semester or year in high school – If you had some bad grades or off-track time in high school, it should be addressed. However, the best way to do so is to have your high school guidance counselor write about it in the most positive way possible in his/her recommendation. You can also include a supplemental essay of your own, but it should be focused less on the bad time and more on how you solved the problem or learned from it.
Good luck with that essay, and choose a good topic!