This can be a rather challenging task because a lot of your future will be based on this and you have no way knowing what exactly your moderators are looking for in an essay. The following is an in-detail guide, not only to approach application essays in general but also how to approach the two most specific type of essays that applicants are asked to write.
1- Stand out- Remember that whatever you are writing about, at least a thousand more students are writing on the same topic. So anything that is even minutely general will have already been covered by dozens of other applicants. Think about ways to make your essay stand out from others. This can be a task of presentation or just knowing your facts. One of the most important things to avoid is a generic and lazy google search. This is not just an essay to submit. The purpose of this essay is to find out if you are worth of the admission more than others.
2- Opinions- A large number of application essay topics revolve around your opinions about either an evergreen controversy like LGBT rights or about a current political or social scenario. Remember that nobody really cares what your personal opinions are. What they really want to see is how you justify your opinions. How sharp your arguments are and how you present your opinions. Do you have what it takes to convince the other person? Is your approach to disagreements judgmental? How politely you can talk about things that you do not agree with actually speaks a lot about who you are and your social skills.
3- Yourself- Another important and much repetitive topic is things related to your personal life or your growth or your ambitions. This could come in questions like “ultimate goal in life” “if you could one thing about the world” These questions can be direct or hypothetical. Remember that in these questions, the basic idea is to see your outlook about yourself and the world. One of the best ways to approach these topics is to talk about your goals, without using the word ‘goal’. Talk about how passionate you are about your ambitions. Uphold your moral values and principles and express your willingness to learn.
4- Stick to the topic- That is the main catch. College application essay topics are mostly a little bit generic in nature and are mostly based on your opinions than facts, which makes it all the more possible for you to drift away from the essence of the topic and waste words on unrelated details. Remember to stick to the topic throughout.
All the best!