A popular question amongst students who are applying to a number of different colleges is.... Can I choose the same topic for my college essay when applying to various schools or does my topic need to be different for each school I apply to? A question of great significance, no doubt especially if your goal in writing a college essay is to get yourself noticed and distinguish yourself from the rest of the applicants who will be writing the same type of essay.
Answering this question is as diverse as what you will be able to write about. Many colleges and universities give a student complete freedom in choosing whatever topic they want to write about, in which case you can write about anything that interests you or is meaningful to you. Typically, your topic will be about a person, situation, issue, or experience that defines who you are and sets you apart from the thousands of other applicants writing the same type of essay. Other schools will customarily give an assigned topics or prompts for their candidates to write about, such as 'why is education important to you' or 'why are you pursuing a career in a particular field'. Although these topics don't allow much for expressing yourself creatively, they can make writing these college essays a bit easier for those students who would rather not come up with a topic on their own. As long as you strive to make these required essay topics personal, you can still present yourself as being unique, setting yourself apart from the rest. In regard to the Common Application and writing your personal essay- presently you can elect to write about 'the topic of your choice'. However, that will change in August 2013, where students will now have a specific list of topics to choose from when composing their college essays. Additionally, many universities and colleges will also require a supplemental essay to accompany your personal essay. These supplemental essays are necessary because your responses are specific to the school you are applying to; whereas the customary personal essay is usually more generalized.
Overall, when writing your college essay it will depend on the college or university you are applying to on whether or not you can use the same topic. Different schools have different guidelines in writing and submitting personal essays, so it would benefit you greatly to check them out prior to writing your essay. Basically, schools require these essays as a means to gain insight to the students who want to attend their school. They want to learn 'what makes you tick' and what, if anything, sets you apart from the thousands of other applicants. If you can accomplish this, it really won't matter what topic you write about in your personal essay, because you will have already won them over!