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I’ve developed a pretty simple, step-by-step process to help you see which essay prompts can overlap.
An exception to this game is if the topic is extremely specific, as can sometimes be the case for college essay prompts that ask you to reflect on a quotation or questions like U Chicago’s supplemental essay prompts or Virginia’s “Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are” (although that one can double with MIT or Caltech).
In short, making unusual connections will make your topic stand out, flex your creativity, and show multiple sides of you at once.
Having to complete the “Uncommon Application” inherently deterred applicants who didn’t want to have to fill out additional forms that could only be used for one school.
And yet the university also wanted to hold onto its fun, wacky, and thought-provoking essay questions that make its application unique.
You read the questions several times and think there’s no way that you can write some of these essays.
But, if you like to use your imagination, you realize that you actually love these questions because finally you can do what you love best – you can be creative!
If you still can’t think of anything, try asking yourself these questions (which are basically the UC Personal Insight Question topics)...
Examples of Super Topics: Robotics Club, drumming, developing an app, improv comedy, ice skating, teaching science to middle schoolers, Officer Cadet School, computer programming, working in a restaurant as a server, working in a garden, Model United Nations, art-making, Volunteering for American Youth Soccer Organization, love of History & Film, being an amazing cook, internship at local hospital, acapella singing, advocating for worker rights…Get the idea here? Once you have 1-4 potential Super Topics in mind…Let’s say, for example, you picked “hiking” as a potential super topic. Here’s an example Super Essay: The Hiking Essay I’m a history nerd, to the point where I would be that guy reading history textbooks for fun. Through Boy Scouts, I have been able to arrange and lead Historical Trail hikes, giving myself and my troop first hand perspectives on what it felt like to sleep at Valley Forge in the winter, or what the walk up Breed’s Hill along Boston’s Freedom Trail is really like.
After the hike, Louis was exhausted but had a glimmer of excitement towards the environment around him, and could even tell the difference between poison ivy and Virginia creeper. Instructions: Choose a potential Super Topic and spend 10-15 minutes filling out a BEABIES chart using the questions listed above.
Louis is currently one of my troop’s most active younger Scouts. By the end you should have enough content for a Super Essay.(i.e. Here’s one way to do this: Spend 10 minutes doing the Essence Objects exercise and ask yourself: Could any of these objects or topics potentially connect to multiple themes?