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A Guide to Writing College Essays

Writing is tough. Thinking is tough. And by the transitive property, thinking about what to write is also tough. But I’m going let you in on a little secret: Just write about something crazy.

Professors don’t want you to follow their little guidelines and assignment sheets too closely. Because if you do, you’ll just be regurgitating something they already know. They’ll get Bored, and you know what bored begins with?

That’s right, C+.

Professors want you to take risks and surprise them. They want you to push the boundaries of their assignments and create something fresh.

Check this out: my senior research paper in high school was about chocolate milk, and my college application essay was a fanciful history of cheese. I’ve written essays on dryer sheets, Burt Reynolds, water balloon fights, and people I’ve made up.

Don’t ever think a topic is too juvenile, too geeky, too un-academic, or too anything. Too is a good thing. It means you care about what you’re writing, and it means you will be presenting new and interesting information to the reader. Getting your paper to stand out from the pile is the easiest way to bump your grade up. A professor would much rather read an essay on Twizzlers over the gripping debate on school uniforms, any day.