Examples of Good College Essay Titles

Let’s start with something that most people overlook: the title of your essay is included in the 650 count word limit. This causes a lot of our students to have a mini meltdown (you’re not alone) so we wanted to get that out of the way.

The best advice that we can give regarding the title of your common app is to not overthink things. Every college essay needs a title because it’s a piece of creative writing, but by no means does it have to be something you spend days stressing out about.  

If you look at the titles of the sample admissions essays on our website, you’ll quickly find that they are simple, short, and not at all fancy. More importantly, they don’t detract from the essay. Your title is a brief compliment to what’s to come, not an opportunity to use a grabber or shock the admissions officer.

In most cases, we suggest writing your essay before you lock in a title. It’s much more likely that something will come to mind after you’re done writing. A lot of students think that the title of their essay needs to be something profound, thematic, and influential but it’s almost impossible to write freely with something like that looming over your head. Simplify the process by asking yourself “what is my essay about?” Food? What it’s like being the middle child? What you do every night before bed? Think of 1-2 word responses and write a few options down.

Your title should relate to your essay without giving away it’s ending. Let’s use the essay Samson as an example. It’s not clear what this essay is about after reading the title, and that’s completely fine. Samson is a vehicle to tell a story about what our student gained from a relationship with her pet. The title “Samson” works a lot better than “Important Takeaways From The Time I Spent With My Dog.”

Remember, admissions officers will keep reading your work regardless of the title and that means two things: 1) it’s not the most important aspect or your essay and 2) you aren’t going to trick anyone into thinking your essay is fantastic just because it has a catchy title.


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