8 out-of-the-box college essay topics

Out-of-the-box college essay topics to help teens practice prepping for admission applications. They're great "any time" writing prompts too!

These days, students applying to colleges of their choice face stiff competition. To help narrow the selection of applicants, some universities have come up with out-of-the-box college essay topics to see who stands out from the crowd.

From the student’s point of view, application essay prompts are often boring, but clever topics like these inspire creativity. So whether you’re brushing up your college essay skills or are simply on the lookout for fun or unusual writing topics, one of these quirky writing prompts has your name on it!

1. Seen Through Their Eyes

If any of these three inanimate objects could talk, how would your room, computer, or car describe you?

Source: Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley

2. Just As I Am

Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.

Source: University of Virginia

3. Ablaze

What sets your heart on fire?

Source: Villanova University

4. 140 Characters

Some say social media is superficial, with no room for expressing deep or complex ideas. We challenge you to defy these skeptics by describing yourself as fully and accurately as possible in the 140-character limit of a tweet.

Source: Wake Forest University

5. Back to the Future

You are required to spend the next year of your life in either the past or the future. What year would you travel to and why?

Source Brandeis University

6. The Man in the Red-Striped Shirt

So where is Waldo, really?

Source: University of Chicago

7. Just Say No

What invention would the world be better off without, and why?

Source: Kalamazoo College

8. Pot of Gold

What do you hope to find over the rainbow?

Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

If you enjoyed these college application essay prompts, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays! Once a month, we feature topics especially suited for high school students.

Photo: David Masters, courtesy of Creative Commons
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