School Admissions Essay

Crafting a compelling school admissions essay is crucial for standing out among a sea of applicants. While it’s essential to showcase your unique qualities and experiences, there are certain topics you should avoid to ensure your essay makes a positive impact.

10 Topics to Avoid in Your Essay

Although the list of forbidden subjects may vary, some topics tend to be overused or may not present you in the best light. In this article, we will explore ten topics you should steer clear of when writing your school admissions essay.

[1] Personal Problems or Traumatic Experiences

While it may be tempting to share personal hardships or traumatic experiences, dwelling on them might not present you in the most favorable light. Admissions officers are looking for individuals who demonstrate resilience and a positive outlook. Instead, focus on how you overcame challenges and grew as a result.

[2] Controversial or Polarizing Issues

Expressing your opinions is important, but it’s best to avoid controversial or polarizing topics. Religion, politics, and contentious social issues may unintentionally create biases or make readers uncomfortable. Remember, the goal of your essay is to connect with the admissions officers and present yourself as a well-rounded individual.

[3] Bragging or Exaggerating Accomplishments

While it’s crucial to highlight your achievements, avoid bragging or exaggerating them. Admissions officers can spot insincerity, and they value humility and authenticity. Instead, focus on the personal growth or impact these accomplishments had on your character, emphasizing the lessons learned and the values they represent.

[4] Generalizations or Stereotypes

Steer clear of using generalizations or perpetuating stereotypes about certain groups of people. Admissions officers value cultural sensitivity, open-mindedness, and respect for diversity. Showcase your ability to appreciate and embrace different perspectives.

[5] Academic Underachievement

Although it may be tempting to explain periods of academic underachievement, it’s generally advisable to avoid focusing too much on this aspect. Instead, concentrate on your strengths, extracurricular activities, and other areas where you excel. Briefly address any challenges you faced academically, emphasizing how you grew and improved as a result.

[6] Complaints about High Schools or Teachers

Complaining about your high school experience or specific teachers is not recommended in your admissions essay. It can come across as negative or ungrateful, leaving a poor impression on the reader. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your educational journey and how they shaped your personal growth.

[7] Repeating Information from Your Application:

Your admissions essay should complement your application, not repeat the same information. Avoid regurgitating your extracurricular activities, test scores, or other data already provided. Use the essay as an opportunity to provide deeper insights into your personality, aspirations, and motivations.

[8] Overused or Cliché Topics

Admissions officers read numerous essays, and certain topics have become cliché or overused. Avoid writing about winning a sports game, life-changing travel experiences, or the birth of a sibling unless you can offer a unique perspective. Choose a topic that genuinely reflects your individuality and allows you to stand out from other applicants.

[9] Inappropriate or Offensive Humor

Humor can be effective in engaging readers, but it’s essential to avoid crossing the line into inappropriate or offensive territory. What may seem funny to you might not resonate well with the admissions committee. Ensure your humor is light-hearted, considerate, and inclusive.

[10] Negativity or Self-Pity

Lastly, avoid conveying a negative or self-pitying tone in your essay. Admissions officers seek individuals with a positive outlook on life and the ability to overcome challenges. Even if you have faced hardships, focus on how you grew stronger and more determined as a result. Highlight your resilience and optimism rather than dwelling on negative emotions.


Finally, when writing your school admissions essay, it’s crucial to choose your topics wisely. By avoiding personal problems, controversial issues, bragging, generalizations, academic underachievement, complaints, repetition, clichés, inappropriate humor, and negativity, you can create a strong and impactful essay that captivates the admissions committee. Remember, the goal is to showcase your unique qualities, aspirations, and personal growth in a way that leaves a lasting positive impression.