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College Essay Topic Brainstorming Worksheet

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Help! How Do I Start?

You have been collecting ideas for your essay since the beginning of the year!  Look back at all of your work...your free writes, your life map, your 6 word memoir, your this I believe! There's a brainstorming sheet linked above but look below for more advice!
Check out my silly animation for some advice!

Brainstorming for your college essay is hard to do, but if you think about it, you have all of the material! Begin by looking at your life maps...are there any experiences you have had that could explain who you are or who you hope to become?  You are looking for a DEFINING MOMENT, not just a big experience, but a small moment within that experience that shows why this was "defining".  

Consider creating lists or webs, or just free writing about a few different topics to "try one on" to see if it feels like there is something meaningful there. Sometimes, it's through writing that we discover our topic.

Be sure you're talking with each other...share your stories as you go- this helps to tap in to your memories.

You may choose to write from the COMMON APP prompts.... (click here!)

Another way to brainstorm is by thinking about a quality you want to show about yourself.  A student did this last year and she created a web around the word "Motivation".  She wanted to show she was motivated so she started with motivation then listed all the small moments she could that show this about her.

Here's some more advice from a NY Times article....But check out the "expert advice" on the college essay home page, as well!

This is a silly animation I made about brainstorming, inspired by the class of 2013 during our college essay writing last year.

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