Preparing for College

Famous Female for Essay Topic?

Question: I have to write an essay about an important woman figure for an application supplement. I know that this college takes their supplement into consideration and I want to impress. I have thought about many different women, but none who would really make the college accept me. Any ideas here?

Your choice of essay topic will not make or break your acceptance so don’t sweat too much over it. I promise you that, if you don't get admitted to this particular college, it won't be because of the important woman figure you chose to write about.


But, nonetheless, I can certainly understand that you want to select an essay subject that will help you stand out in a crowd. So, to do this, I suggest that you avoid the most obvious choices. Skip Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, Mother Teresa and Joan of Arc! Instead, work backwards. Think about things that are meaningful to you ... your favorite artwork, book, or music. How about an issue that has affected your world (Gay Rights? Teen pregnancy? Alcohol abuse?) Then Google whatever you have selected and look for the names of women with a connection to it.

For instance, my mother and several close friends of mine have had breast cancer. So, if were to look up breast cancer, I might stumble upon the name Susan G. Komen and find information like this: http://blog.cleveland.com/westsidemom/2010/06/who_was_susan_g_komen.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_G._Komen_for_the_Cure .

Susan was a young woman who succumbed to this disease after a three-year battle. Her younger sister, Nancy Goodman Brinker, founded an organization in her memory which has evolved into the best known and most successful breast-cancer fundraising enterprise in existence. In addition to raising money, Susan G. Komen for the Cure (formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation) also helps educate women about breast-cancer screenings, treatments, etc.

Thus, if this were my essay assignment, I would focus on Nancy Brinker … writing not only about how she launched this huge enterprise in her sister’s memory but also personalizing the essay to discuss how breast cancer has touched my own life and thus how I feel personally connected to Nancy Brinker.

That’s what I mean by “working backwards.” Identify something that is important to you and then link it to a woman who might be a fitting subject for your essay. Give it a try and see if you can come up with a creative and meaningful subject. Good luck!

(posted 12/14/2010)