The College Essay – Not Your Typical What I Did for Summer Vacation Essay Anymore

Today’s college essays are not what most of us remember writing about in high school. The “What I Did for Summer Vacation” type of essay will no longer pass muster at many schools where creativity and individual thinking are highly valued. Look at the following college essay topics.

University of Chicago College Essay Question

The University of Chicago has to top our list for quirky college essay topics. Here’s one of six choices for 2012-13.


“A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.” –Oscar Wilde.

Othello and Iago. Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. Autobots and Decepticons. History and art are full of heroes and their enemies. Tell us about the relationship between you and your arch-nemesis (either real or imagined).

Inspired by Martin Krzywy, admitted student Class of 2016.

Tufts University College Essay Question – Class of 2017

Tufts University asks students to respond to several short answer questions. One of the topics students can pick from in question #3 is

D. Celebrate your nerdy side.

University of NC, Chapel Hill College Essay Question – Fall 2012

UNC Chapel Hill had a couple of fun choices in their supplement to the Common Application. The first was our favorite.

1. You just put a message in a bottle and threw the bottle out to sea. What is the message?

As the pool of college applicants continues to grow, more colleges strive to set themselves apart and to choose students who will contribute to their individuality in a positive way. That means a few of the normal, “What I Did for Summer Vacations” and more of the “Where’s Waldo, really?” (University of Chicago) questions.

To discover how to approach these quirky essay topics so that you have fun without appearing crazy read The Right Path’s post here.


1 thought on “The College Essay – Not Your Typical What I Did for Summer Vacation Essay Anymore”

  1. Pingback: The Right Path for test prep 101 | Responding to Offbeat College Admissions Essay Topics

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