Admissions

Which College Essay Topics Are Taboo?

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I was told never to write about the three Ds in my college essay: divorce, depression or disease. Which other topics are taboo? I want to stand out but I don't want to talk about the same thing as everyone else OR something that will be a downer.

First a disclaimer: There is no such thing as a bad essay topic — only a bad writer. However, some subjects are so frequently used (and admission officials so tired of seeing them) that they should be tackled by only the most exceptional writers or could otherwise be a liability at decision time. Other topics, like your three “D's," will sometimes be appropriate but can potentially provide Too Much Information and must be handled with care ... if not avoided entirely.

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