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Topics

After brainstorming you must finally settle on an essay topic.  Take some time to make sure that your topic satisfies the following five basic questions:

1. Is it interesting?  Your essay should engage the interest of the reader.  To do this, it must first be interesting to you.  Don't try to write something you think the reader wants to hear; instead write something that has an impact on you.  A rehash of some old English theme or biology paper, no matter how well written, will be at best mildly interesting to an admissions reader.

Also be sure that your topic is more than a repeat of something that appears elsewhere in your application.  This kind of repetitiveness is deadly dull.

2. Is your topic sincere? Writing that is done simply to fulfill the requirements can easily sound hollow. You want the reader to understand that your essay has meaning to you.

3. Is your topic unique?  Select something the you feel is fresh. This does not mean something offbeat, but rather something that has evidence of originality or independent thinking.

4. Is your topic within reach?  Take into account the expected length of the essay, the purpose of the essay, and the scope of the essay.  Don't select a topic that demands more knowledge than you have and don't attempt a topic that is huge.  Keep it manageable.

5. Is your topic focused?  Before you begin writing  you should have an exact purpose for your essay.  It is not good enough to have just a general subject area--you must focus your topic.  Ask yourself "What is it that I am attempting to prove, show, or demonstrate in this essay?"  If the answer to this question is not crystal clear, your writing may meander causing confusion if not irritation in your reader.  Before you begin writing, whittle your idea down from a general subject area to a manageable topic.