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Just as great personal statements combine an unexpected topic with superb execution, flawed personal statements compound problematic subject matter with poor execution.
The problem with the overly personal essay topic is that revealing something very private can show that you don’t really understand boundaries.
And knowing where appropriate boundaries are will be key for living on your own with a bunch of people not related to you.
Other bad topics suggest that you are a boring person, or someone who doesn’t process your experience in a colorful or lively way, which is a problem since colleges want to create a dynamic and engaged cohort of students.
Still other bad topics indicate that you're unaware of or disconnected from the outside world and focused only on yourself, which is a problem since part of the point of college is to engage with new people and new ideas, and admissions officers are looking for people who can do that.
I'll also explain how to recognize bad college essays – and what to do to if you end up creating one by accident.
What exactly happens to turn a college essay terrible?
Also, remember that no college is eager to admit someone who is too close-minded to benefit from being taught by others.
A long, one-sided essay about a hot-button issue will suggest that you are exactly that.
Just as there are noteworthy examples of excellent college essays that admissions offices like to publish, so are there cringe-worthy examples of terrible college essays that end up being described by anonymous admissions officers on Reddit discussion boards.
While I won’t guarantee that your essay will end up in the first category, I will say that you follow my advice in this article, your essay most assuredly won’t end up in the second. Read on to find out what makes an essay bad and to learn which college essay topics to avoid.