Creative Ideas for Common App Essays 2018

High school college counselors often advise students away from creativity and into a box of ordinary, albeit palatable humble brags. Their method has worked for them before and they’re not about to go out on a limb if they’re not positive it will work. But college is getting increasingly more competitive and run of the mill essays are not going to put anyone over the edge.

At TKG we’ve tried and tested it, and have learned that when it comes to Common App essays, creative self-expression is the only way to go. In fact, we think it’s even a good idea for students to break form and write poems, plays, and other works of fiction when inspired to do so. Admissions counselors at any given university are going to receive thousands upon thousands of essays over the years. Your job is to stand out. It’s also to convey a part of your personality that is not present anywhere else in the application. For this blog post, we compiled a list of ideas to get your juices flowing for the Common App.

Write about: 

  1. Your walk to school

  2. Your closet

  3. Your backyard

  4. Your imaginary friend

  5. The way you make breakfast for your younger siblings

  6. Your final driving exam

  7. What you think about while you’re getting ready for school

  8. Your top ten favorite sci-fi novels

  9. A book report from reading that was not assigned to you

  10. A story about your elementary school crush

  11. That time you forgot it was your dad’s birthday

  12. A poem

  13. The rabbit hole you went down when you discovered the environmental impact of single-use plastics

  14. A time you got arrested protesting

  15. The story behind the punny sign you made at your first protest

  16. A person who changed your life who isn’t your mom, grandma, or Kim Kardashian

  17.  The story behind your haircut

  18. What you do to get yourself to sleep when you can’t sleep

  19. A time you stood up to injustice when it wasn’t fun or comfortable and maybe you lost a friend

  20. The time you didn’t stand up to injustice and really regretted it 

  21. A diary entry from Saturday morning

  22. A play about the conversation you just had with your best friend

  23. Thanksgiving

  24. That time your grandmother dragged you to a non-professional ballet performance

  25.  A description of the VHS player you took apart just for fun

  26. The time you accidentally started a minor fire in your parents’ kitchen and learned a valuable, but lighthearted lesson about asking for help

  27. Your favorite flowers in the park and the walks you go on alone

  28. Breakfast, and food in general

  29. Why jam is really good in eggs

  30. All of the dog friends you’ve made while taking your dog to the dog park

  31. A movie scene between your dog friends from the dog park

  32. Why dogs are better than cats

  33. If the lockers in the hallway could talk to each other

  34. The first time you babysat

  35.  Solo dates to the movies

  36. What you learned from that time you slept through an exam

  37. Your favorite band

  38. A time you sold lemonade to pay for a pair of sneakers

  39. What it’s like on your block

  40. Your favorite element on the periodic table



Need help coming up with a standout essay idea? Reach out to us here. We are experts at helping students craft unique and impressive college essays.