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Funny Essay Topics Colleges

As a college consultant, I have become intimately familiar with numerous supplemental college essay questions. While many prompts seem doomed to elicit responses that are conventional clichés, others are bound to spark creativity, and hopefully evoke genuine self-discovery, for the motivated applicant.

In no special order, here are ten of my “faves”, with musings about how I might try to respond to these thought-provoking questions:

1. Imagine that you have the opportunity to travel back through time. At what point in history would you like to stop and why?(Swarthmore College) How fun is this? It’s like Peabody & Sherman’s WABAC Machine! I want to apply to Swarthmore myself, just to write this essay. Would I wish to be among the crowd on the Via Dolorosa that fateful Friday afternoon, two millennia ago? Stand as a spectator on the Tower Green as Anne Boleyn forgives her executioner, the swordsman from France? Be aboard the ill-fated Titantic that freezing night in April, deciding whether to step into a lifeboat or remain on deck with my husband? In my family, filled with history buffs, this essay prompt could be an exciting after-dinner game.

2. Select a creative work — a novel, a film, a poem, a musical piece, a painting or other work of art — that has influenced the way you view the world and the way you view yourself. Discuss the work and its effect on you. (New York University)

My choice would have to be David O. Selnick’s epic film that brought to life Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, Gone with the Wind. I have always admired survivors of civilizations that were totally disassembled and reconstructed in a new way, such as my parents and in-laws living through the Great Depression. I occasionally wonder how I would fare if today’s way of life was suddenly forever changed. Further, Mitchell’s insightfully crafted immortal characters are archetypes that offer wisdom into the human condition; they have become lifelong tools for analyzing my own motivations and the roles others play in my life.

3. If you were to describe yourself by a quotation, what would the quote be? Explain your answer.(Dartmouth College) As a fantatical “quotaphile,” I would find this choice overwhelmingly difficult. It would be tough to select from the wise and witty sayings of Shakespeare, Churchill, Einstein, or Wilde. But since the quotation has to describe oneself, as a lover of the mysteries of the psyche, I would probably choose  Carl Jung‘s observation: “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

4. If you could go back and change one day in your life, what would you change and why?(Santa Clara University) This prompt brings to mind the intrguing award-winning movie, Sliding Doors, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, which explores the concept of whether we make our fate by specific actions, or whether there is a destiny dynamic at work that prevails despite our actions. In my 56 years on the planet, I have come to subscribe to the latter view, so it would be difficult for me to answer this question. I would probably choose to discuss my ideas about free will, random events, serendipity and destiny.

5. If you had a day to spend as you wish, how would you use your time?(Carleton College) Wow. An applicant’s answer to this question would be truly revealing. I remember watching a Twilight Zoneepisode as a kid (“Time Enough at Last”), in which a bookworm is the sole survivor of a nuclear apocalpyse, finally having time enough to pursue his passion: reading (and of course, in Rod Serling‘s nightmare world, his Coke bottle thick spectacles break on the steps of the library). I would spend my “day” similarly (without the broken glasses!), either reading or writing, and I guess that reveals quite a bit about me. How your student would describe his or her perfect day would reveal much as well.

6. If you were to develop a Mt. Rushmore representing the 20th century, whose faces would you select and why?(College of William and Mary) This question reveals one’s philosophy of life, ideas on leadership and heroism, value system, and perhaps, one’s politics. Not to mention a knowledge of American history. For me, the four heroic leaders, Democrat and Republican, black and white, would be:

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose bold brilliance as the architect of D-Day turned the tide of the war against Hitler; President John F. Kennedy, whose leadership during the Cuban missile crisis may have saved the world; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose non-violent leadership of the civil rights movement ushered in a great step forward for racial equality in our nation; and President Ronald Reagan,whose assertion of his passionate beliefs in American exceptionalism, personal liberty and limited government led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and decades of U.S. economic prosperity and innovation. Whom would you choose?

7. Recall a compliment you received that you especially value. What was it? From whom did it come? (Yale University) A dear and wise old friend, whom I greatly respect, met many of my long time friends at my fiftieth birthday party a few years ago. After the soirée, she observed, “All your friends that I met told a story of how you had helped them with something, like the courage to start a new business, or the strength to get through a personal tragedy.” Thank God. This meant more to me than any compliment on raw talent or professional accomplishment, because it affirmed my own values about helping others to find their way. If I can accomplish this goal, I will feel that my life has been a success.

8. If you founded your own college or university, what topic of study would you make mandatory for all students to study and why? What would be the values and priorities of your institution and why?(Lehigh University) Several years ago, one of my clients answered this prompt by calling her institution “Altruism University,” requiring that all students learn about compassion and engage in community service. This exceptional young woman was of Indian descent and was a fervent adherent of Jainism, the non-violent, altruistic religion of Mohandas Gandhi. Her essay revealed much about her inspiring value system. What admissions officer wouldn’t want a student like this in the campus community?

9. “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” – Miles Davis. What does this quote mean to you?(University of Chicago) I believe this question is about uniqueness. A student’s contribution to the world is not about doing something no one else has ever done before; it is about doing what perhaps many people have done, but in one’s own special way.

10. Why did you do it?(Tufts University) Tufts always takes the prize for the most amazing, thought-provoking questions. How would you answer that?

My rule of thumb for “fave-ing” a college essay prompt is: would I myself be eager to roll up my sleeves and answer that question? Would it really make me think, look within myself, and respond from the heart? Or would I simply roll my eyes and start typing a perfunctory response, immediately knowing what the “right” answer is to a simplistic, stereotypic question?

Your teen may not be interested in applying to  schools that happen to write the most provocative essay questions. But it might be a thought-provoking exercise to kick around some of these questions on a long family drive, to stimulate reflection for your high school student (and everyone else in the family). Future essay writing may be easy after taking on these challenging questions!

If you have come across a provocative essay prompt you would like to share, please feel free to comment.

On November 5, 2011   /  12th Grade, College Admissions, College Essays  

Why Write about Humorous Topics?

Find out how funny argumentative essay topics can get the attention of your tutor.

Is it your aim to get your tutor’s attention? The process of grading student papers can be quite a boring one. If, however, your essay is humorous it can a) cause your tutor to laugh, b) make them remember you, and c) even motivate them to hike up your all-important grade! Better still, writing your essays will be more fun and a good topic will help you stay awake as you toil into the small hours. You may make your essay sarcastic, ironic, or just plain amusing.

Take inspiration from these topic ideas to write funny college essays!

Use sarcasm to be amusing!

Why spam email is your favorite type of message.

Why your brain does not get fried by violent-type movies.

Describe what you think your dog (or other pet) is thinking.

Choose your favorite infomercial and say why your readers or yourself should swallow every word hook line and sinker.

Why gaming is the only thing you are expert at.

Why videos with funny animals appeal to people.

Why your favorite US store is Walmart.

Why customers are always wrong.

Why everyone needs their daily Starbucks fix of coffee.

Name two important things driving instructors never tell you.

What you would like to say to an officer who gives you a ticket.

How smoking helps your health.

What you love about your surname.

Why teenage workers should get the worst available jobs and lowest pay.

How you always feel happy when your computer crashes.

How you can write better essays if pot were legalized.

Humor is Good for People … More Topics!

Why do people have so many mismatched socks, and where do odd socks go?

Describe the results of over-tanning.

What is the world’s worst ever song.

The tricks that make it look as if someone is actually doing some work when they are not.

Describe what the world would be like if it were ruled by cats, dogs, or hamsters? (Choose an animal).

How your life was changed by Barbie.

Why dental braces are fun to wear.

Choose a comedian and say why they are your hero.

Why the kisses you get from a dog are best.

Why you hate a certain type of music e.g. jazz, hip-hop, rap, classic rock, country and western, and so on.

The reasons people like watching shows with shark attacks.

Ways to pretend you like watching a particular sport or any sport.

Why you should land a great job because of your video gaming skills.

Ways to win a contest for the worst ever tattoo.

What it really feels like to resemble a catwalk model or a doll like Barbie.

Why you get frightened by Mickey Mouse or some other cartoon figure, clown, celebrity, or icon.  

More Funny Argumentative Essay Topics for College Students

Family-Related Topics with a Fun Twist

How you know you are having a bad day when your mom does not even remember your birthday.

Ways to get money from your parents. 

Why your family begins every meal with dessert.

Things your mother is always saying.

Why you want to join someone else’s family.

Why it is essential for every teenager to have an iPhone or similar device.

Why you should have been your parents’ only child.

Best ways to really irritate your hapless parents and other members of your family.

Why it is imperative for teenagers to take control of their family’s credit card(s).

Why dads should be the ones to stay at home.

Why it is essential to get your grandma her own iPhone.

What really goes on in your dog’s mind i.e. what are they thinking?

What the world would be like if it were ruled by cats.

The mistakes your parents have made but it is now too late.

What feminism ever did for you?

Why your dog really is an irreplaceable friend.

Relationship Matters to Laugh At!

Ways to make oneself popular.

Ways to make a date extremely awkward.

The things girls would like guys to know.

The things guys would like girls to know.

Ten things that say a guy or girl has no interest in you.

Ten things that say a guy or girl is interested in you.

How your friends on Instagram are your best ones.

How dates differ in type and the different types.

The advice a guy would give a girl about makeup.

Tips on breaking up with a boy or girlfriend.

Ways to irritate one’s parents and/or other members of one’s family.

What not to do to win over your dream girl or boy.

Ways to lose one’s BFF.

How to win back friends or become reinstated in the “friendship zone.”

Why the “no news being good news” rule is not applicable to your social or personal life.

Certain things that guys hate about girls.

Why are there no games called the Un-Hunger Games?

How to get away with telling the odd white lie.

How to avoid being asked on a data or how you should not go about asking a boy or girl to go on a date.

Why should politicians watch more funny animal videos?

Ways to be very annoying i.e. in real-life or on Twitter, Facebook or on some other social media site.

Why you would like another person to steal your identity.

Ways to become an obnoxious boy or girlfriend.

Why do girls do more exercise than their male counterparts?

An Opportunity to Comment on Social Matters

How some advertising can be very effective.

What has feminism ever done for you?

Sissies have no place in the climate change debate.

Tips on winning friends and influencing teachers.

Why recycling only applies to sissies.

Why it is not so bad to be homeless.

What you would like to say to an officer who gave you a ticket.

How you can tell when a politician is lying or being truthful.

Choose a celebrity, movie star, or fictional character and say why they should become the next US president.

What is the best way for getting things done quickly in Washington?

How global warming is really caused.

Ways to win the terrorist war – even without trying.

Why certain animals should  be given more authority or rights than humans.

What is really meant by “organic foodstuffs.”

Why people are smarter because of Google.  

Why your friend is Talk radio.

Name the things that make smog loveable.

Why a lesser amount of gun control is needed.

Why free speech should be abolished.

Several things that are good about stereotypes.

Why radioactive waste is everyone’s friend.

Great Essay Topics for School Jokers

Why your teacher should never give you anything below an “A” grade.

Ways to annoy your fellow students and/or roommate(s).

How to make your time in college stress-free.

Choose a person, one of your teachers perhaps, and say why the nation should make them a hero.

Ways to be successful in school or college, even without trying very hard.

Why English, science, math (or some other subject of your choosing) is your favorite school subject.

Why studying late into the night is really beneficial for a student.

Why teachers in high schools should not retire – ever.

Tips for writing book reports on books you have not even read.  

How you can complete college papers one hour before they are due.

Why it is essential for all  teenagers to have an iPhone or similar device at school.

What would you do if your housemate put a biology specimen (or some part of their project) in your home refrigerator.

Why certain people should not continue in high school.

Why all Texan girls want to become cheerleaders.

What you love about fundraising.

Ways you can prompt a roommate to leave or move.

Why you love repeating the allegiance pledge.

Describe the college you would love to go to.

How to simultaneously work hard at college but still have a lot of fun.

What you can really learn from an intelligence test.

Best ways not to sleep well at college.

Why I should be admitted to your university or college.

Why the stereotypes you find in high school can be beneficial to you.

How standardized tests are good for you.

Finally, a few funny college essay prompts on how to write for fun

Do not forget that virtually any paper can be turned into a sarcastic or humorous piece provided by you.

Use exaggerated examples.

Begin sentences with intensifying transitional words, e.g., above all, but as well as that, even though, however, moreover, nevertheless, not only, and so on.

Take a stance on an over-the-top, ridiculous, or unrealistic side of an issue.

Use a lot of extreme adverbs and adjectives.

Argue for what should not be done instead of what one should do.  

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