Hiccups. It’s even a pretty cool word- don’t you think? Hiccups are neat. They stem from laughter, are hard to control and there are a myriad of solutions for getting rid of them (most of which bring to mind very comical body positions and or interactions with a willing assistant). They are also probably the furthest thing from your mind as a potential essay topic for your college application. If the last of these is true, I’d encourage you to give hiccups some more thought. Not because I think everyone should write their college essay about hard to control body functions- (thank goodness those are rare), but rather because pondering what is interesting about something as small and seemingly insignificant as a hiccup, may help you to brainstorm some other ideas for unique and fascinating essay topics which might help you share a dimension of who you are that an admission committee wouldn’t otherwise have a window into. Good writing should make the ordinary extraordinary or make the extraordinary ordinary. Gone are the days when a five paragraph essay about how you spent your summer vacation might have grabbed the attention of an admission dean.
We want to get to know you- the real you. We love being drawn in, we love being surprised, we love candor and honesty, vulnerability and authenticity. We want you to think of your essay as a chance to differentiate yourself, a chance to share your writing skill set and a chance to give us a piece of your personality. Think of it as the SAT- antidote. If they turn you into a number, your essay brings your application back to life. And, if you LOVE television comedies (for instance), and bust a gut while watching 30 Rock and The Office episodes such that your body is thrown into uncontrollable hiccupping convulsions- well- then writing an essay about hiccups (and by extension, your love of humor), might not be such an odd thing for you to choose. Happy writing!
- Jennifer Scott