What They are Looking for in the Essay Questions
This is another very popular application essay question. The admission committee intentionally gives you a lot of autonomy to develop this question to help learn more about what you are really like. Here are the 2 principal things that will be carefully scrutinized in this question:
The topic you select
What you have to say about the topic
Example of When This Question is Used
The former fifth personal statement choice in the common application: “Topic of your choice.”
Essay Topic Selection
Choose a topic you feel passionate about. Think about this carefully before you begin writing. All the time in the world revising the applications essay won’t be very effective if the topic is not optimal for you in the first place.
It may take a while (don’t expect this to be a 5 minute exercise), but you will be able to recognize the right topic when it comes.
The applications essay topic must have the following traits:
You will be able to relate the topic back to you, and
You will be able to demonstrate how you have grown and developed because of the topic.
What You Have to Say About the Topic
Be sure you demonstrate your understanding of the cause and effect dynamics surrounding the topic. Spend some time introspecting about the topic. Chances are good that you have already done a lot of this in the topic selection process.
Remember, you are not a Forrest Gump going through life and just simply getting lucky. You are a smart, analytical applicant who understands what is happening and adapts accordingly. These are traits of successful college applicants, so you will be well served to adapt them to your applications essay.
A Final Note
The open structure of this essay may allow you a good opportunity to “recycle” an essay that you have already written for a previous application. For this reason, this is often a good essay question to complete at the end of the application.
This should not be construed as an excuse for procrastination however! There are many other things you can — and should — work on in between the beginning of your applications and this question.