Director of admission, Harvey Mudd College and former associate dean of admission, Pomona College
You don’t need to find an event that could only happen to you to have
an original essay. In fact, everyday incidents make great subjects.
What will make your essay unique and original is how you approach
the subject and the quality of your analysis.
Peter Osgood, director of admission at Harvey Mudd College and
former associate dean of admission at Pomona College, remembers
one essay that “blew everyone away" at Pomona. What was
so impressive was not the subject of the essay but how the student
Osgood recalls that the student wrote an essay on a very everyday
topic. She was with some friends and some things were said that
shouldn’t have been said. He says, “Feelings were hurt. We’ve all
been in these situations before. But what this student did was very
astutely analyze the situation. She cracked open her brain like a
coconut. It was a powerful and thought-provoking essay."
Don’t give yourself a permanent migraine trying to come up with the
one-and-only-original-topic when you can usually take something
mundane and through your analysis and presentation make it into
a powerful essay.