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Should You Be Funny In Your College Essay + Examples

funny university essay

What’s Covered:

Why are college essays important, should you be funny in your college essay, tips for adding humor to your college essays, essay examples, how to make sure your humor is effective.

College essays are an important part of your application profile. They humanize you and provide you with the opportunity to prove that you’re an interesting individual beyond your grades and test scores. 

Some ways students humanize themselves include reflecting on their values, clueing readers into their backstory, showing off their personalities, or any combination of these. 

One question that may come up with regards to showing off your personality is: can I be funny in my college essay?

Read along to hear our expert opinion on the subject and tips for writing a funny essay, the right way. You can also check out a few examples of essays that have successfully included humor to give you a good idea of what’s appropriate for your writing.

To put it simply, college essays are needed because top colleges have lots of qualified candidates and, to get accepted, you need to stand out. It is estimated that, at top schools, there are at least four academically-qualified applicants for every open spot. This means that students hoping to gain admission to top schools must supplement outstanding grades with other outstanding qualities.

Ways to make yourself stand out include extracurriculars, recommendations and interviews, and essays. At the nation’s top schools, reports tell us that these non-academic factors are weighted respectively as accounting for 30%, 10%, and 25% of your overall admissions chances. The fact that essays account for 25% of your admissions chances means that they could be your key to acceptance at your dream school.

If you are interested in the specific factors that determine how important essays are for individual candidates at individual schools, check out this post .

Essays are heavily weighted in the admissions process because they are the only place where admissions officers get to hear directly from you. An individual’s voice says a lot about them—how mature they are, how comfortable they are with their experiences, and even how likable they are. These are important factors for admissions officers who are trying to see how you would fit in on their campus!

The gist of our answer: if your personality is funny, feel free to be funny! As we’ve said, an important opportunity provided to you by the college essay is the opportunity to show your personality. Humor, if done correctly, can be an important part of that.

That said, if you are only attempting humor because you think it is what admissions officers want to hear or because you think it will help you stand out, abandon ship and find a way to shape your essay that is true to your personality. Try writing down how you view your personality or ask friends and family for adjectives that describe your personality, then show that personality through your voice. It will be more natural this way!

Some elements of personality that could define your voice, if humor isn’t for you:

  • Thoughtful/reflective
  • Extroverted/social
  • Charismatic
  • Clever/witty
  • Honest/authentic
  • Considerate
  • Practical/rational

Additionally, if you cannot follow some basic guidelines (listed below) for how to incorporate humor into your essay, you might want to change your course.

1. Be Appropriate

First things first: be appropriate. Humor is, of course, subjective, but make sure your subject matter would be considered appropriate by absolutely anyone reading it. Think about the most traditional person you know and make sure they would be okay with it. No jokes about sex, drugs, lying, crimes, or anything inappropriate—even if the joke is “obviously” against the inappropriate thing you are mentioning.

2. Don’t Be Overly Informal

You want your essay to position you as mature and intelligent, and the way you control language is a sign of maturity and intellect. That said, lots of humor—particularly the humor of young people and internet humor—are based on informality, intentional grammatical errors, and slang. These types of humor, while arguably funny, should be excluded from college essays!

As you write, remember that you know nothing about your admissions officer. Of course, you do not know their age, race, or gender, but you also don’t know their sense of humor. The last thing you want to do is make a joke with an intentional grammatical error and be perceived as unintelligent or make a joke with slang that confuses your reader and makes them think you don’t have a firm grasp of the English language.

3. Avoid Appearing Disrespectful or Inconsiderate

Humor often involves making fun of someone or something. It is very important that you do not make fun of the wrong things! In the last example, the student made fun of themself and their failed cooking experience. That is totally acceptable.

Things that you should not make fun of:

  • Other people (particularly those in positions of authority)
  • Political ideas
  • Religious ideas
  • Anything involving ethics, morals, or values

When you make fun of others, you risk sounding cold or unsympathetic. Admissions officers want to admit candidates who are mature and understand that they can never understand the struggles of others. That means you shouldn’t make a cutting joke about your old boss or an unintelligent politician who was running for your city mayor, even if they are the villain in your anecdote.

Similarly, avoid jokes about types of people. Avoid stereotypes in your jokes. 

In general, it is hard to write a humorous essay about a controversial subject. Controversial issues are typically issues that require deep thought and conversation, so if you intend to engage with them, you should consider a more reflective approach, or consider integrating reflection with your humor.

Here is an example of a student successfully poking fun at themself with their humor, while alluding to controversy:

My teenage rebellion started at age twelve. Though not yet technically a teenager, I dedicated myself to the cause: I wore tee shirts with bands on them that made my parents cringe, shopped exclusively at stores with eyebrow-pierced employees, and met every comforting idea the world offered me with hostility. Darkness was in my soul! Happiness was a construct meant for sheep! Optimism was for fools! My cynicism was a product of a world that gave birth to the War in Afghanistan around the same time it gave birth to me, that shot and killed my peers in school, that irreversibly melted ice caps and polluted oceans and destroyed forests. 

I was angry. I fought with my parents, my peers, and strangers. It was me versus the world. 

However, there’s a fundamental flaw in perpetual antagonism: it’s exhausting. My personal relationships suffered as my cynicism turned friends and family into bad guys in my eyes. As I kept up the fight, I found myself always tired, emotionally and physically. The tipping point came one morning standing at the bathroom sink before school.

This student engages with controversial subject matter, but the humorous parts are the parts where she makes fun of herself and her beliefs— “ Darkness was in my soul! Happiness was a construct meant for sheep! Optimism was for fools!” Additionally, the student follows up their humor with reflection: “ However, there’s a fundamental flaw in perpetual antagonism: it’s exhausting. My personal relationships suffered as my cynicism turned friends and family into bad guys in my eyes.”

This student is both funny and mature, witty and reflective, and, above all, a good writer with firm control of language.

4. Don’t Force It

We have already mentioned not to force humor, but we are mentioning it again because it is very important! 

Here is an example of a student whose forced humor detracts from the point of their essay:

To say I have always remained in my comfort zone is an understatement. Did I always order chicken fingers and fries at a restaurant? Yup! Sounds like me. Did I always create a color-coded itinerary just for a day trip? Guilty as charged. Did I always carry a first-aid kit at all times? Of course! I would make even an ambulance look unprepared. And yet here I was, choosing 1,000 miles of misery from Las Vegas to Seattle despite every bone in my body telling me not to.

The sunlight blinded my eyes and a wave of nausea swept over me. Was it too late to say I forgot my calculator? It was only ten minutes in, and I was certain that the trip was going to be a disaster. I simply hoped that our pre-drive prayer was not stuck in God’s voicemail box. 

As this student attempts to characterize themself as stuck in their ways (to eventually describe how they overcame this desire for comfort), their humor feels gimmicky. They describe their preparedness in a way that comes off as inauthentic. It’s funny to imagine them carrying around a first aid kit everywhere they go, but does the reader believe it? Then, when they write “ Was it too late to say I forgot my calculator? ” they create an image of themself as that goofy, overprepared kit in a sitcom. Sitcom characters don’t feel real and the point of a college essay is to make yourself seem like a real person to admissions officers. Don’t sacrifice your essay to humor.

5. Make Sure Your Humor Is Clear

Humor is subjective, so run your essay by people—lots and lots of people—to see if they are confused, offended, or distracted. Ask people to read your essay for content and see if they mention the humor (positively or negatively), but also specifically ask people what they think about the humor. Peer feedback is always important but becomes particularly useful when attempting a humorous essay.

Essay Example #1

Prompt: Tell us an interesting or amusing story about yourself from your high school years. (350 words)

Cooking is one of those activities at which people are either extremely talented or completely inept. Personally, I’ve found that I fall right in the middle, with neither prodigal nor abhorrent talents. After all, it’s just following instructions, right? Unfortunately, one disastrous night in my kitchen has me questioning that logic.

The task was simple enough: cook a turkey stir fry. In theory, it’s an extremely simple dish. However, almost immediately, things went awry. While I was cutting onions, I absentmindedly rubbed at my eyes and smeared my mascara. (Keep this in mind; it’ll come into play later.) I then proceeded to add the raw turkey to the vegetable pot. Now, as any good chef knows, this means that either the vegetables will burn or the turkey will be raw. I am admittedly not a good chef.

After a taste test, I decided to take a page out of the Spice Girls’ book and “spice up my life”, adding some red chili paste. This was my fatal mistake. The bottle spilled everywhere. Pot, counter, floor, I mean everywhere . While trying to clean up the mess, my hands ended up covered in sauce.

Foolishly, I decided to taste my ruined meal anyway. My tongue felt like it was on fire and I sprinted to the bathroom to rinse my mouth. I looked in the mirror and, noticing the raccoon eyes formed by my mascara, grabbed a tissue. What I had neglected to realize was that chili paste had transferred to the tissue—the tissue which I was using to wipe my eyes. I don’t know if you’ve ever put chili paste anywhere near your eyes, but here’s a word of advice: don’t. Seriously, don’t .

I fumbled blindly for the sink handle, mouth still on fire, eyes burning, presumably looking like a character out of a Tim Burton film. After I rinsed my face, I sat down and stared at my bowl of still-too-spicy and probably-somewhat-raw stir fry, wondering what ancient god had decided to take their anger out on me that night, and hoping I would never incur their wrath ever again.

What the Essay Did Well

This essay is an excellent example of how to successfully execute humor. The student’s informal tone helps to bridge the gap between them and the reader, making us feel like we are sitting across the table from them and laughing along. Speaking directly to the reader in sentences like, “ Keep this in mind; it’ll come into play later, ” and “ I don’t know if you’ve ever put chili paste anywhere near your eyes, but here’s a word of advice: don’t. Seriously, don’t,”  is a great tactic to downplay the formality of the essay.

The student’s humor comes through phrases like “ Now, as any good chef knows, this means that either the vegetables will burn or the turkey will be raw. I am admittedly not a good chef.” As this student plays on the common structure of “As any good (insert profession here) knows,” then subverts expectations, they make an easy-to-understand, casual but not flippant joke.

Similarly, the sentence “ I decided to take a page out of the Spice Girls’ book ,” reads in a light-hearted, funny tone. And, importantly, even if a reader had no idea who the Spice Girls were, they would recognize this as a pop-culture joke and would not be confused or lost in any way. The phrase “ raccoon eyes”  is another humorous inclusion—even if the reader doesn’t know what it’s like to rub their eyes while wearing mascara they can picture the rings around a raccoon and imagine the spectacle.

As you can see from this essay, humor works well when you engage universal and inoffensive concepts in ways that are casual enough to be funny, but still comprehensible.

Essay Example #2

Prompt: Due to a series of clerical errors, there is exactly one typo (an extra letter, a removed letter, or an altered letter) in the name of every department at the University of Chicago. Oops! Describe your new intended major. Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? Potential options include Commuter Science, Bromance Languages and Literatures, Pundamentals: Issues and Texts, Ant History… a full list of unmodified majors ready for your editor’s eye is available here. —Inspired by Josh Kaufman, AB’18

When I shared the video of me eating fried insects in Thailand, my friends were seriously offended. Some stopped talking to me, while the rest thought I had lost my mind and recommended me the names of a few psychologists. 

A major in Gastrophysics at UChicago is not for the faint hearted. You have to have a stomach for it! I do hope I am accepted to it as it is the only University in the U.S. with this unique major. My passion for trying unique food such as fish eye has made me want to understand the complexities of how it affects our digestive system. I understand that Gastrophysics started with a big pang of food, which quickly expanded to famish. Bite years are used to measure the amount of food ingested. I look forward to asking, “How many bite years can the stomach hold?” and “How do different enzymes react with the farticles?” 

Gastrophysics truly unravels the physics of food. At UChicago I will understand the intricacies of what time to eat, how to eat and how food will be digested. Do we need to take antiparticle acid if we feel acidity is becoming a matter of concern? At what angle should the mouth be, for the best possible tasting experience? When I tried crocodile meat, I found that at a 0 degree tilt, it tasted like fish and chicken at the same time. But the same tasted more like fish at a negative angle and like chicken at a positive angle. I want to unravel these mysteries in a class by Professor Daniel Holz in gravitational gastrophysics, understanding the unseen strong and weak forces at play which attract food to our stomachs. 

I find that Gastrophysics is also important for fastronomy. I want to learn the physics of fasting. How should we fast? Hubble bubble is a good chewing gum; an appetite suppressant in case you feel pangs of hunger. I have read how the UChicago Fastronauts are stepping up to test uncharted territories. Intermittent fasting is a new method being researched, and UChicago offers the opportunity for furthering this research. Which is better: fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8, or fasting for 24 hours twice a week? It is just one of the problems that UChicago offers a chance to solve. 

I can also study the new branch it offers that uses farticle physics. It is the science of tracking farticles and how they interact with each other and chemicals in the stomach space. It could give rise to supernovae explosions, turning people into gas giants. It would also teach about the best ways to expel gas and clean the system and prevent stomach space expansion. 

I want to take Fluid dynamics 101, another important course in Gastrophysics; teaching about the importance of water and other fluids in the body, and the most important question: what happens if you try to drink superfluids? 

I hope to do interdisciplinary courses with observational gastrophysicists and work with environmental science majors to track how much methane is given by the human and animal gastrointestinal tract in the atmosphere and how much it contributes to the global climate change. I believe, with the help of courses in date science, they have been able to keep a track of how much methane is entering each day, and they found that during Dec 24-Jan 3 period, a spike in the methane and ethane levels could be seen. Accordingly, algorithms are being programmed to predict the changes all year round. I would love to use my strong mathematical background to explore these algorithms. 

These courses are specially designed by the distinguished faculty of UChicago. Doing interdisciplinary research in collaboration with biological science students to determine what aliens may eat, with fart historians to know more about the intestinal structure of medieval Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Swedish and French people to better their lives is what I look forward to. The Paris study abroad program is an immersion course into fastronomy, where I will have the opportunity to test my self-control with all the amazing French food and desserts around! 

My stomach rumbles now, so I am going out to try out new food – hopefully it will be in Chicago a few months later. 

This is a fun essay! This student’s voice is present and their goofy personality is especially evident. Not only did they change the name of their major, but this student incorporated word play throughout the essay to showcase their imagination. Phrases like “ the big pang of food ”, “ bite years ”, “ fastronauts ”, and “ farticle physics ” keep the tone lighthearted and amusing.

Incorporating this style of humor takes a lot of creativity to be able to still convey your main idea while also earning a chuckle from your readers. While some jokes are a bit more low-brow—” farticles ” or “ fart historians ” for example—they are balanced out by some that are more clever and require a bit of thinking to get the A-ha moment (referencing the Hubble telescope as “ Hubble bubble chewing gum “). You might not feel comfortable including less sophisticated jokes in your essay at all, but if you do want to go down that path, having more intellectual sources of humor is important to provide balance.

Another positive of the essay is the continued thread of humor throughout. Sometimes humor is used as a tool in the introduction and abandoned in favor of practical information about the student. This essay manages to tell us about the student and their interests without sacrificing the laugh factor. Weaving humor throughout the essay like this makes the humor feel more genuine and helps us better understand this student’s personality.  

Essay Example #3

Prompt:   Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? (650 words)

Scalding hot water cascades over me, crashing to the ground in a familiar, soothing rhythm. Steam rises to the ceiling as dried sweat and soap suds swirl down the drain. The water hisses as it hits my skin, far above the safe temperature for a shower. The pressure is perfect on my tired muscles, easing the aches and bruises from a rough bout of sparring and the tension from a long, stressful day. The noise from my overactive mind dies away, fading into music, lyrics floating through my head. Black streaks stripe the inside of my left arm, remnants of the penned reminders of homework, money owed and forms due. 

It lacks the same dynamism and controlled intensity of sparring on the mat at taekwondo or the warm tenderness of a tight hug from my father, but it’s still a cocoon of safety as the water washes away the day’s burdens. As long as the hot water is running, the rest of the world ceases to exist, shrinking to me, myself and I. The shower curtain closes me off from the hectic world spinning around me. 

Much like the baths of Blanche DuBois, my hot showers are a means of cleansing and purifying (though I’m mostly just ridding myself of the germs from children at work sneezing on me). In the midst of a hot shower, there is no impending exam to study for, no newspaper deadline to meet, no paycheck to deposit. It is simply complete and utter peace, a safe haven. The steam clears my mind even as it clouds my mirror. 

Creativity thrives in the tub, breathing life into tales of dragons and warrior princesses that evolve only in my head, never making their way to paper but appeasing the childlike dreamer and wannabe author in me all the same. That one calculus problem that has seemed unsolvable since second period clicks into place as I realize the obvious solution. The perfect concluding sentence to my literary analysis essay writes itself (causing me to abruptly end my shower in a mad dash to the computer before I forget it entirely).  

Ever since I was old enough to start taking showers unaided, I began hogging all the hot water in the house, a source of great frustration to my parents. Many of my early showers were rudely cut short by an unholy banging on the bathroom door and an order to “stop wasting water and come eat dinner before it gets cold.” After a decade of trudging up the stairs every evening to put an end to my water-wasting, my parents finally gave in, leaving me to my (expensive) showers. I imagine someday, when paying the water bill is in my hands, my showers will be shorter, but today is not that day (nor, hopefully, will the next four years be that day). 

Showers are better than any ibuprofen, the perfect panacea for life’s daily ailments. Headaches magically disappear as long as the water runs, though they typically return in full force afterward. The runny nose and itchy eyes courtesy of summertime allergies recede. Showers alleviate even the stomachache from a guacamole-induced lack of self-control. 

Honestly though, the best part about a hot shower is neither its medicinal abilities nor its blissful temporary isolation or even the heavenly warmth seeped deep into my bones. The best part is that these little moments of pure, uninhibited contentedness are a daily occurrence. No matter how stressful the day, showers ensure I always have something to look forward to. They are small moments, true, but important nonetheless, because it is the little things in life that matter; the big moments are too rare, too fleeting to make anyone truly happy. Wherever I am in the world, whatever fate chooses to throw at me, I know I can always find my peace at the end of the day behind the shower curtain.

While the humor in this essay isn’t as direct as the others, the subtle inclusion of little phrases in parentheses throughout the essay bring some comedy without feeling overbearing. 

The contrast of elegant and posh Blanche DuBois and “ germs from children at work sneezing on me ” paints an ironic picture that you can’t help but laugh at. The ability to describe universal experiences also brings a level of humor to the essay. For example, the reader might laugh at the line, “ abruptly end my shower in a mad dash to the computer before I forget it entirely,”  because it brings to mind moments when they have done the same.

This student also achieves a humorous tone by poking fun at themselves. Admitting that they were “ hogging all the hot water, ” leading to “ (expensive) showers, ” as well as describing their stomachache as a “ guacamole-induced lack of self-control, ” keeps the tone casual and easy-going. Everybody has their flaws, and in this case long showers and guacamole are the downfall of this student.

While the tips and tricks we’ve given you will be extremely helpful when writing, it’s often not that simple. Feedback is ultimately any writer’s best source of improvement—especially when it comes to an element like humor which, naturally, can be hit-or-miss! 

To get your college essay edited for free, use our Peer Review Essay Tool . With this tool, other students can tell you if your humor is effective/appropriate and help you improve your essay so that you can have the best chances of admission to your dream schools.

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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Can You Answer These Bizarre (But Real) College Essay Prompts?

Can You Answer These Bizarre (But Real) College Essay Prompts?

With the release of universities 2022-23 supplemental essay prompts, we take you through some of the most unusual and bizarre US college supplemental essay prompts of all time, featuring universities such as UChicago, Tufts University and UPenn.

To get into a top US college , you’re going to need more than stellar grades, test scores, common application and extracurricular achievements. You’ll have to demonstrate, in your supplemental essays, that you are the kind of mature, driven, interesting person that would thrive at the particular university. This is much easier said than done — standing out from the crowd with a unique college essay can be very difficult.

Luckily, over the years some colleges have given their applicants a helping hand on this point by providing some really bizarre essay prompts. These warrant truly inventive responses, and let applicants really show off their writing prowess, creativity, and individuality.

Here’s out our list of some of the most creative, unusual and bizarre supplemental essay prompts from all time. How would you have responded to these questions? Check it out below!

Bizzare Supplemental Essay Prompts in 2022

We thought that it would be a good idea to include some of the more creative supplemental essay prompts from this year’s admission cycle (2022-23). We hope that this gets the creative juices flowing and helps you get a good early start to the essays!

University of Chicago

What advice would a wisdom tooth have?

Chapman University

Name one dish you would cook for the school’s admission team.

Pomono College

Marvel or DC? Pepsi or Coke? Instagram or TikTok? What’s your favorite ‘this or that’ and which side do you choose?

University of Vermont

Which Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor (real or imagined) best describes you?

In approaching these essays, it's essential to keep in mind why they are important and how they add context to your application. Admissions officers at top universities look for candidates that display creativity, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and a unique perspective.

Interested in learning more? Attend one of our free events

How to build a successful stem application for stanford, mit, caltech, uc berkeley and more.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024 12:00 AM CUT

Hear from a Former Stanford & Northwestern Admissions Officer about what it takes to get into ultra-competitive STEM programs at the country's best universities!


Unusual Supplemental Essay Prompts From Previous Years

When it comes to asking creative and wacky essay prompts, the University of Chicago is the leader. To come up with the best and most creative prompts, the college takes suggestions and inspiration from their own students, who are allowed to email their ideas annually. If you look on the UChicago website you can even see who submitted each essay prompt.

UChicago also allows you to answer a past prompt making these options for you to choose.

Due to a series of clerical errors, there is exactly one typo (an extra letter, a removed letter, or an altered letter) in the name of every department at the University of Chicago. Oops! Describe your new intended major. Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? Potential options include Commuter Science, Bromance Languages and Literatures, Pundamentals: Issues and Texts, Ant History…

This prompt was an excellent opportunity for students to show their creativity and humour, as well as their academic interests. The best ideas that we could find online were probably Visual Arms (Visual Arts) and Pig Problems (Big Problems).

Have you ever walked through the aisles of a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club and wondered who would buy a jar of mustard a foot and a half tall? We’ve bought it, but it didn’t stop us from wondering about other things, like absurd eating contests, impulse buys, excess, unimagined uses for mustard, storage, preservatives, notions of bigness…and dozens of other ideas both silly and serious. Write an essay somehow inspired by super-huge mustard.

Have you ever written an essay about a giant jar of mustard? In 2004 UChicago applicants had their chance, and while there are absurd elements to the prompt, there are many creative and serious directions essays took.

The elusive goal of mathematics, but with no context. What is “x”, and how did prospective UChicago students find it? We’re sure the students brought in a novel discussion of a diverse array of mathematical theory, as well as philosophical and personal matters.

Elvis is alive! OK, maybe not, but here in the Office of College Admissions we are persuaded that current Elvis sightings in highway rest areas, grocery stores and Laundromats are part of a wider conspiracy involving five of the following: the metric system, the Mall of America, the crash of the Hindenburg, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, lint, J.D. Salinger and wax fruit. Help us get to the bottom of this evil plot by constructing your own theory of how and why five of these items and events are related. Your narrative may take any form you like, but try to keep your theory to under two pages.

If there were any conspiracy theorists applying to UChicago in 1999-2000, they would certainly have been in luck with this prompt. Who would have been the mastermind behind your evil plot?

Tufts University

If UChicago is the champ of creative college essay prompts, Tufts might be considered a close second. Check out their unique prompts below.

Kermit the Frog famously lamented, 'It's not easy being green.' Do you agree?

This prompt is inspired by a Muppets song, whereby Kermit laments how green seems to blend in with so many other ordinary things and how he thus fails to stand out from the crowd. Of course, many students in their essays took this quote in a totally different direction, demonstrating their critical thinking and creativity.

The ancient Romans started it when they coined the phrase “Carpe diem.” Jonathan Larson proclaimed “No day but today!” and most recently, Drake explained You Only Live Once (YOLO). Have you ever seized the day? Lived like there was no tomorrow? Or perhaps you plan to shout YOLO while jumping into something in the future. What does #YOLO mean to you?

Back when this prompt was released, Tufts’ #YOLO question caused quite a stir. Lee Coffin, the dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts admitted that the question was inspired by his affinity for pop music and his desire for applicants to have some fun when they introduce themselves to Tufts.

It’s been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world. History is filled with such linchpins – small events or decisions that have huge effects on the future. Make your own change somewhere in history and show us the effects on the world.

This is one for fans of alternative history, perhaps invoking visions of a distorted universe where life as we know it has taken a turn for the better or worse. Again, a challenge for applicants would have been how to say something about themselves and their interests in a creative way.

University of Southern California

(Short Answer) Hashtag to describe yourself

It is common for college essay prompts to have a few short answer questions to get to know the student. For a few years starting in 2017 USC adopted a unique question, making students describe themselves with a #hashtag as they would on twitter or instagram. But what a difficult task that is - how would you describe yourself with a single hashtag?

Wake Forest University

Give us your top ten list.

Many Buzzfeed enthusiasts applying to Wake Forest in 2017-18 would have enjoyed the opportunity to make a top-ten list about anything of their choosing. What topic would you have written about, and what does this say about you?

UC Berkeley

If any of these three inanimate objects could talk, how would your room, computer or car describe you?

Imagine all of the time you’ve spent in your room, at your computer or behind the wheel; these objects might be the only things in the world that know your real identity. This question would have certainly prompted some deep reflection from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business applicants.

University of Notre Dame

You have 150 words. Take a risk.

Students could have taken this anywhere - so long as what they wrote was risky. There are even reports that some students took the ultimate risk and wrote nothing at all.

University of Pennsylvania

You have just finished your 300-page autobiography. Please submit page 217.

This is an iconic prompt that UPenn asked for about 20 years. It encourages students to consider their story, and to use this to introduce themselves to UPenn. For added realism, many students liked to start their responses in the middle of a sentence.

So, How Do I Write the Essay?

Since more than three quarters of US universities no longer require students to take standardized tests, college essays are becoming increasingly important in your application.

The key piece of advice we give to our students is to start on these essays early. If you are applying to several universities, you will have many different supplemental essays to complete, as well as the common application essay . Many of our students attest that writing all of their essays is by far the most stressful part of the application, and a part of the application that is easy to neglect.

Our other key piece of advice is to make the content of each supplemental essay very specific to the university you are applying to. You need to do your research about what each university looks for in a candidate and show a clear desire to attend that particular university.

As the world’s leading university admissions support company, we at Crimson know how to approach each supplemental essay and maximise your chances of gaining admission to a top university.

If you want to feel confident when submitting your college application essay, get your essay reviewed by us at Crimson. Our experts have assisted students who have gained admission to Harvard , Yale , Princeton , Stanford , Oxford , Cambridge and many other top universities!

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Cardinal Education

How To Write: The Humorous Essay, for College Applications

There are all sorts of different essays that you can write for your college applications. The intellectual essay. The identity story. The tale of the underdog. Cardinal Education is here with a series on the different types of angles you’ll want to take in your writing. We’ll start with one of the most fun to write, yet one of the hardest to truly pull off: the humorous essay.

So, What Makes “Funny” Funny For College Admissions Officers?

There’s no doubt that funny essays can be wildly successful with admissions officers. The college application is all about showing off your personality, and what better way to show your personality off than by demonstrating that you know how to make a joke? Obviously, though, if you want to write a funny essay, it has to be funny. Here are our thoughts on how to achieve that.

Humor is so diverse and complex that there’s really no one way to define it. There’s self-deprecating humor, there’s slapstick humor, there’s wordplay, there’s satire, and more . Many will say that there’s no one formula to make something hilarious and that everyone has to find a way to be funny by themselves. While this is true to some extent, these are a few things that different styles of humor have in common:

Humor relies on the unexpected. This is the first thing that many will tell you in a how-to-be-funny guide: you can get your biggest laughs out of surprise twists and turns. Lead your audience to believe one thing will happen, then crack a joke about how the opposite actually occurred. Tell them how you expected a certain outcome, but something else happened and you couldn’t help but laugh. Or make a list where one of the items is not like the others. For example, things you learned while nature researching up North: the importance of biodiversity, the ability to work on a team, and…never leaving the house without an extra pair of socks. Think beyond simply telling a story to all the surprising things that happened along the way.

Humor is all about setup and delivery. Every punchline has a setup, and you’ll want to structure your narrative to set up for all the remarks you’re going to pepper through your piece. You don’t want to turn the whole thing into a joke after joke because then each one you write has less impact; instead, spend some time narrating the setups to your best punchlines in a way that makes them as—well—punchy as possible. Yet it’s not as though these narrations should be completely unfunny themselves. Think about the tone you’re trying to set, bring it ahead, and then yank the expectations right from under your readers’ feet.

Humor makes witty observations on the commonplace. This is part of the fact that it relies on the unexpected—it finds something new, fresh, and snappy to say about everyday things, from farming to fishing to the embarrassing moments that inevitably make up our lives. Poke some gentle fun at commonplace expectations and situations; stand-up comedians are experts at this. If you’re the type of person who can see something special in the mundane, admissions officers are sure to appreciate it.

Good humor punches up, rather than punching down. What is meant by this is that humor makes fun of those who are in a position of great power in society, rather than people who have relatively little power. You can joke about CEOs—that’s called satire—but not about janitors; that’s called classism. And you certainly can’t make jokes at the expense of students at your school that you don’t like—that’s called bullying. As you craft your essay, make sure to keep this in mind.

The Best Humor for College Essays Has a Point

Now you have a few pointers on how to write funny. You probably also have a few jokes in mind about your experiences. Once you start writing out what you’ve envisioned in your head, you then need to ask yourself: what is the overall point you’re trying to make?

This is the sort of thing that makes a lot of comedy great—it’s ultimately aimed at saying something deeper about society and about the way we do things. It would be good to learn from such comedy about how to tie your humor back to a deeper meaning behind it. Use your sense of humor to expose personal truths about what you’ve learned throughout the story of your journey. Use it to show admissions officers that you’re truly a better person, more ready for adulthood because of what you’ve discovered. If you can leave them in stitches while also leaving them with a profound takeaway, the beautiful picture you’ve created of yourself will be complete.

One Last Word of Advice: Don’t Force It

If you find yourself struggling too hard to write any of this, trying to force out jokes, then maybe the humorous essay is not your style. This essay can be a favorite at the admissions table if done right, but potentially disastrous if it’s not. Perhaps you’re not a natural comedian, and that’s perfectly fine. What matters most is that your essay reflects who you are on the page; maybe in our next installment of the How To series, you’ll find what’s best for you!

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funny university essay

12 Unforgettable College Application Essays

funny university essay

It's been a long time since I penned my college application essays, but that doesn't mean I don't still appreciate them. On the contrary: I think memorable college admissions essays are to be applauded. Why? Because anyone who can make theirs interesting, thus bringing a modicum of relief to those who have to actually sit there and plow through them all, definitely deserves some acknowledgment for their work. And hey, wouldn't you know it? That's the subject of today's AskReddit thread: “ College admissions counselors of Reddit , what's the weirdest/worst/most memorable essay you've read?”

As is wont to happen in an AskReddit thread, many — possibly even the majority, although I haven't actually counted them, so do with that what you will — of the responses did not come from their intended source; in this case, we're talking about college admissions officers. Some of them were submitted by the people who wrote them; others by people who knew the writers in question; and still others have the “a friend of a friend who dated my cousin's best friend” level of remove that can sometimes bring their veracity into question. Either way, though, they're all good for a laugh — and a few of them might even teach you something. Full steam ahead for a wide variety of lessons in what to do while writing your college application essays — and what not to do, too.

Here are 12 of the most notable examples; head on over to AskReddit for more . Oh, and for anyone who's waiting on their acceptance letters? Good luck! I believe in you!

1. The Theory of Cat/Toast Equilibrium

funny university essay

But… what does happen? I must know!

While we're on the subject, the University of Chicago seems like they've mastered the art of making college applications not boring for the people who actually have to read them. Check out some of essay prompts from this year's app:

funny university essay

Not going to lie: I am considering writing answers for them just for the hell of it. Because you know what? It actually sounds — dare I say it? — fun.

2. Law and Order: College Application Essays Unit

funny university essay

I would imagine that would be a pretty terrifying read. Quick, teach her to use her powers for the forces of good!

3. The Legendary Hugh Gallagher Essay

funny university essay

You may already be familiar with this one, but for the curious, here's the story behind it: Humorist, writer, and musician Hugh Gallagher penned the glorious satiric creation excerpted here for Scholastic Press' national writing contest when he was in high school. Unsurprisingly, he won. For some years, there was confusion surrounding whether or not he actually used it as his college essay; in 1998, though, Gallagher emailed University of York comp sci professor Susan Stepney , who had posted the essay on her website, noting that he did in fact send it along with his applications. For the curious, he ultimately attended NYU. Here's the permalink for the full comment — it's worth just for the final line. Trust me.

4. The Power of the Mighty Trombone

funny university essay

I was unable to discern whether or not this one actually happened or whether it's just an urban legend — but I'm willing to bet it's the latter. Either way, though, I think it's a terrible way to try to teach the “think outside the box” lesson; I feel like it encourages laziness more than anything else. But maybe that's just me.

5. How to Get Into Yale

funny university essay

That, though? That's pretty funny. Well played.

6. The Key to Effective Multitasking

funny university essay

Here's the thing with writing humorous college application essays: They only work if you're actually… y'know… funny. I feel like maybe the right person might have been able to make this idea work, but the execution of the idea this time around just wasn't up to par. However, this also happened:

funny university essay

Small world, no?

7. Art History Is Best History

funny university essay

Either the admissions officers loved it, or they didn't actually read it. The jury's still out on which one it is.

8. We Are Gathered Here Today…

funny university essay

To be fair, I'm not totally sure what's to be gained by sending your own obituary as a college essay; unless the prompt was something like, “Write whatever you want, as long as it is at least 500 words long,” it doesn't seem like it would really answer any questions the admissions committee might be relying on the essay to fill them in about. At the same time, though, clearly someone could have used a little Journalism 101.

9. An Act of Valor

funny university essay

This one was copied from another thread and pasted in this one , but I think it's definitely a winner.

10. The Importance of Proofreading

funny university essay

Ouch. Just… ouch.

11. The Legacies

funny university essay

Oh, come on. I wouldn't blame these two for using their legacy to help them get a leg up — but relying solely on it like this? That's cheating. Also, shame on the school that let them get away with it.

12. Hardboiled Washington

funny university essay

I hope this Redditor is planning on studying creative writing. You've got a great future ahead of you, kid — even if you do need a little work with your punctuation and grammar.

Images: churl /Flickr; Giphy (2); Pandawhale

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Add Project Key Words

funny university essay

Funny Personal Statements: How to Use Humor in Your College Application

James Eimers

June 16, 2017

funny university essay

The Art of Writing Funny Personal Statements: How to Use Humor in Your College Application

When 650 words or fewer play a critical role in determining where you’ll pursue your degree, it’s hard to think of admissions essays as anything other than serious business.

With such a small space to give admissions officers a glimpse into who you are and why you’d be a great addition to a given school, it’s always tempting to paint a professional, straight-laced picture of yourself; after all, what school wouldn’t want a mature student highly focused on academic success?

Indeed, for some students, this might be a completely reasonable approach to the Common App personal statement . However, as with many things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to admissions essays, and it’s important to take a step back and recall their purpose. Test scores, grades, and letters of recommendation all play an important and informative role in the application process, but none allow you to present yourself in your own words—that’s the beauty of the admissions essays.

There are as many approaches and possible answers to essay questions as there are applicants, including those with a keen sense of humor. Admissions readers count on this because, aside from assembling an incoming class that meets the academic profile of their schools, they hope to admit interesting students with diverse talents who will enrich the educational and life experience of those around them. As a result, even though it feels a bit untraditional, letting your personality—including your sense of humor—shine through your essays can be an excellent way to create a memorable application.

Although humor can go a long way to demonstrating an applicant’s creativity and personality, this doesn’t mean that the approach will work for everyone. It actually can be a common personal statement mistake to try and use humor. Funny personal statements can definitely pack a punch, but they're difficult to do well. When writing what I call a “humorous/offbeat” admissions essay, there are a few key concepts to keep in mind.

Remember that humor itself should never be the main point of the essay. It’s perfectly acceptable to make your reader smile or even laugh out loud, but only in the course of telling a story that reveals something important about yourself. In other words, ensure that you use humor only as a device to highlight or enhance the underlying substance or reflective nature of your essay. Funny personal statements are effective only in showing the personal qualities of the writer at the same time.

You should never force humor into your essays, even when attempting funny personal statements . It is an unfortunate truth of life that making others laugh does not come naturally to all of us, so the offbeat/humor essay might not be an option for everyone. Admissions essays should indicate who you really are; forced humor that falls flat will indeed leave a memorable impression, but for all the wrong reasons.

When writing funny personal statements , the peer-review process becomes even more important than it already is. Humor is subjective by nature, so before clicking “submit” on your applications, make sure that a wide variety of people in your life (friends, parents, and teachers) have read your essays. If all your readers think your essay is appropriate and lighthearted, you’ve likely composed an essay with humor that will land well with an admissions office. If not, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.

When done correctly, f unny personal statements can be extremely effective. One of the best essays I’ve ever read followed this formula: Rife with stories about fanciful white lies he had told others over the years, this student’s essay at first seemed risky. Why reveal to an admissions office the fact that you have, at times, stretched the truth?

However, the student soon made it clear that stretching the truth in his younger days was in fact an early manifestation of his larger desire to tell stories—he wanted to study creative writing and ultimately become an author. His past storytelling revealed much about his creative character and also the fact that, although he had done quite well in school, he didn’t take himself too seriously while doing so. Ultimately, the student was admitted to a number of top schools.

I’ll leave you with some final tips to review when thinking about using humor in your admissions essays:

  • Stay away from potentially controversial topics—at best, you will demonstrate a lack of self-awareness, and at worst you might personally offend the admissions reader. Again, peer review your humor before submitting!
  • The humor should be original. By writing funny personal statements , you are illustrating the fact that you are a creative student with a good sense of humor—recycling humor falls short here.
  • You can use humor in many different types of essays, but remember that the humor should be added only after you already know what story you want to tell; humor alone should never be the substance of your essay.
  • Subtle humor can often make a stronger impression than can loud, straightforward humor.

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By submitting my email address. i certify that i am 13 years of age or older, agree to recieve marketing email messages from the princeton review, and agree to terms of use., crafting an unforgettable college essay.

Most selective colleges require you to submit an essay or personal statement as part of your application.

college essay

It may sound like a chore, and it will certainly take a substantial amount of work. But it's also a unique opportunity that can make a difference at decision time. Admissions committees put the most weight on your high school grades and your test scores . However, selective colleges receive applications from many worthy students with similar scores and grades—too many to admit. So they use your essay, along with your letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities , to find out what sets you apart from the other talented candidates.

Telling Your Story to Colleges

So what does set you apart?

You have a unique background, interests and personality. This is your chance to tell your story (or at least part of it). The best way to tell your story is to write a personal, thoughtful essay about something that has meaning for you. Be honest and genuine, and your unique qualities will shine through.

Admissions officers have to read an unbelievable number of college essays, most of which are forgettable. Many students try to sound smart rather than sounding like themselves. Others write about a subject that they don't care about, but that they think will impress admissions officers.

You don't need to have started your own business or have spent the summer hiking the Appalachian Trail. Colleges are simply looking for thoughtful, motivated students who will add something to the first-year class.

Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay

1. write about something that's important to you..

It could be an experience, a person, a book—anything that has had an impact on your life. 

2. Don't just recount—reflect! 

Anyone can write about how they won the big game or the summer they spent in Rome. When recalling these events, you need to give more than the play-by-play or itinerary. Describe what you learned from the experience and how it changed you.

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3. Being funny is tough.

A student who can make an admissions officer laugh never gets lost in the shuffle. But beware. What you think is funny and what an adult working in a college thinks is funny are probably different. We caution against one-liners, limericks and anything off–color.

4. Start early and write several drafts.

Set it aside for a few days and read it again. Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer: Is the essay interesting? Do the ideas flow logically? Does it reveal something about the applicant? Is it written in the applicant’s own voice?

5. No repeats.

What you write in your application essay or personal statement should not contradict any other part of your application–nor should it repeat it. This isn't the place to list your awards or discuss your grades or test scores.

6. Answer the question being asked.

Don't reuse an answer to a similar question from another application.

7. Have at least one other person edit your essay.

A teacher or college counselor is your best resource. And before you send it off, check, check again, and then triple check to make sure your essay is free of spelling or grammar errors.

Read More: 2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts (and How to Answer Them)

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Funny Persuasive Essay Topics: 177 Writing & Speech Ideas

funny university essay

Every one of us needs a little bit of laughter in our lives. In the academic world, working on a persuasive essay on a fun topic is one of the best ways to enjoy paper writing. By discussing something entertaining, you can connect with your reader on a more personal level.

If your readers or audience are enjoying themselves, it will be much easier to get their attention and impress them. This is the primary goal of a persuasive essay or a speech.

Coming up with a fun persuasive speech topic is often challenging for students. After all, most of their assignments tend to be more serious and informative. We understand this concern – and we want to help!

Our team has created an ultimate list of funny persuasive essay topics. You will find plenty of examples and prompts that you can use in your work. We have also included useful advice on how to find ideas for a paper. And check out our guide to making your speech or writing fun.

  • ✨ Top Fun Topics
  • 🧨 How to Find Topics
  • 🌧 Topics on Ecology
  • 🎭 Topics on Culture
  • ⚖ Topics on Laws
  • 💞 Topics on Love
  • 🌭 Topics on Food
  • 🍎 For Elementary Students
  • 🏫 For Middle Schoolers
  • 🗓 For High Schoolers
  • ☕ For College Students
  • 👩‍🏫 Making It Funny

✨ Top 10 Fun Persuasive Speech Topics

  • Fast food – it’s not that bad!
  • Education – students deserve a stipend.
  • Recycling – does it work?
  • Veganism – everyone should go vegan!
  • Homework – we don’t need it!
  • Writing – keeping a journal is great.
  • Mental health – best way to cure phobias.
  • Money- it can buy happiness!
  • Taxes – classes for high school students.
  • Alcohol – worse than drugs!

🧨 How to Find Impressive Persuasive Essay Topics

Try not to look only for persuasive topics that are funny. Search for the ones that aim to impress your audience. How do you choose the right one?

Determine an engaging subject area

Choose something thought-provoking, so you and your audience can have fun discussing. It is an essential thing to start with.

Get some ideas

Use lists on the Internet or have an ideation session. After picking your subject, start brainstorming for ideas. Ask for help from your friends and family or look at our list of suggested amazing topics! Look at some essay samples , too. They can be a great source of inspiration and fresh ideas.

Consider what interests you in particular

Find something that is going to be entertaining for the target audience and, most importantly, yourself. It is a significant advantage if the topic you are talking about is personally interesting to you.

Think whether you have anything to say

Choose an entertaining topic you will be able to talk about. Having an opinion about your subject is crucial, but stay open-minded for a discussion.

Research for possible arguments

Analyze what evidence and facts you can find on the Internet. Speculate on the arguments for and against your topic before writing. To include them in your paper, you need to ensure their high quality.

Exclude useless ideas from your list

Avoid using thoughts that do not correlate with your subject. If they are contradictory or there is simply not enough data on them, throw them away. Choosing the right ones will save you a lot of time.

Pick the one

After applying all of the tips listed above, do not hesitate to pick the one idea you prefer the most. Take a look at the list below to find impressive and interesting writing & speech topics!

Know your audience to find the most impressive persuasive essay topic.

🎇 A List of 103 Funny Persuasive Topics

Under this subheading, we have created an ultimate list of fun persuasive writing topics. There are five main themes with various ideas for your paper/speech.

🌧 Funny Persuasive Topics on Ecology

  • Solar energy harvesting should be obligatory for every citizen.
  • Water is going to be the most valuable resource in the future .
  • We should teach the baby boomer generation about climate change.
  • Can owls be domesticated?
  • The sewage system is the most useful creation of urban ecology.
  • Natural environments occur heterogeneously or exhibit patchiness .
  • Is ecotourism better than the regular one?
  • If humans had not discovered agriculture, our world would be completely different today.
  • Overpopulation has severe effects on the environment .
  • Biowaste is an excellent source of alternative energy.
  • Can donating have a more significant impact than recycling?
  • We should ban the usage of plastic bags altogether.
  • Many of our environmental problems today come from human greediness.
  • The most dangerous creature in the world is…a mosquito.
  • Natural science can be fun if taught the right way.
  • Deep-sea creatures have a completely different lifestyle from regular ones .
  • A big pandemic can reduce the level of global death statistics.
  • Both renewable and non-renewable electricity sources produce pollution .
  • Global warming is a straight ticket to economic and geopolitical problems.
  • Some animal zoos are no better than jail for humans.
  • Unsustainable tourism can deeply hurt our environment .
  • Animals understand nature better than we do.
  • Why should we be more conscious of domestic water usage?

Climate change, and the more extreme weather that comes with it, means that water supply is becoming more unpredictable than in years gone by.

🎭 Funny Persuasive Topics about Culture

  • Talk shows should be banned from television.
  • The toxicity in social media should be punished by law.
  • The Hollywood dream is fake.
  • People in Western culture are obsessed with their looks .
  • Should we stay off Facebook?
  • Materialistic ideas heavily influence the nation of UAE .
  • How would the Buddhist monk react to your shopping habits?
  • Love portrayal in movies is far from reality.
  • Why are dads in sitcoms so childish sometimes?
  • Studying a nation’s pop culture is a great way to learn about its people’s values and beliefs.
  • The expression of love is different in every culture .
  • Beauty pageants are sexist towards women.
  • Our culture changed drastically with the advancement of technology .
  • A controversial public figure will get more media attention than a “quiet” one.
  • White people tend to appropriate black culture .
  • Modern social standards have a direct connection with our pop culture.
  • Smoking is a big part of our culture .
  • How do you make everyone want to befriend you?
  • Celebrity idolization is pad practice.
  • People are easily offended nowadays, but they have every right to feel so.

Cultural differences.

⚖ Funny Persuasive Topics on Laws

  • The absence of gun control laws is the ultimate example of democracy in the United States.
  • Taxes for individual businesses should not exist.
  • The government should increase corporation taxation.
  • Lottery wars are a real thing .
  • Do female criminal gangs exist ?
  • Honking in a traffic jam should be considered criminal.
  • Online gambling is getting out of control .
  • Why pay bills when you can live in the wilderness?
  • Gun ownership should be illegal for people under the age of 21.
  • Marijuana usage should be legal worldwide.
  • America is misled about its rights to freedom of speech .
  • We should contribute more to avoiding wars and international conflicts.
  • International law is not really a law .
  • Racial profiling is not an effective way of police work.
  • The war on drugs has been the longest in US history.

💞 Funny Persuasive Topics on Relationships

  • Creativity and dishonesty have a lot of things in common in a relationship .
  • Your boyfriend should not be your reason to cry.
  • What does not affect a child’s psychology?
  • The couples’ therapy does not work.
  • LGBT community confronts outdated conventions of society .
  • What should be considered a family?
  • The long-distance relationship is the worst kind of relationship.

Distance prevents constricted intimacy from forming in a meaningful way.

  • There should be boundaries in a marriage .
  • Stop viewing relationships as a game.
  • A mother-child relationship starts before that child is born .
  • After a failed relationship, a simple conversation is sometimes better than finger-pointing.
  • Can love between two people last forever?
  • Online dating is worse than the real one.
  • Rich couples have lower divorce rates .
  • If you cannot respect your partner, you deserve to be alone.
  • What is the proper way to ask a girl out on a date?
  • How do you balance work and family ?
  • Sometimes communication just does not work if you like someone. You need to take action.
  • Honesty could ruin a good relationship.
  • How to talk to your crush if you have anxiety?
  • If you are having seconds thoughts about a date – cancel it.
  • Choose your clothes carefully for the first date.
  • The flirting ideal is different for males and females .

🌭 Funny Persuasive Topics about Food

  • Junk food is not actually that bad for you.
  • Why is food in Mexico so spicy ?
  • Ramen is the greatest creation of humanity.

Instant ramen was Japan's top invention of the 20th century.

  • Fish is the most valuable food resource for humans .
  • A vegan diet could kill you.
  • Your fresh meat from a local store is, in fact, not fresh.
  • Hotpot is a new trend for restaurants worldwide .
  • Farms use a lot of illegal methods to increase their production.
  • Food science saves our lives daily.
  • Curry is perfect for your health .
  • Yogurt is the best among fermented foods.
  • Sustainable food allowed our civilization to thrive.
  • The fast-food business model’s primary aim is profit, not food.
  • Opening a Halal restaurant is a profitable business model .
  • Are we supposed to believe nutrition facts on packages?
  • America developed its way of dining out .
  • Globalization plays a significant role in a country’s food culture .
  • Some things to do when you are offered food you don’t like.
  • Ketchup can improve the taste of every dish.
  • Are men better chefs than women?
  • Technology has drastically changed the way we eat.
  • Mediterranean cuisine is the best cuisine in the world.

😂 Persuasive Essay Topics: Funny for Whom?

This chapter is going to list funny persuasive topics for people of different age groups. However, remember that humor is a very subjective thing. Each and one of us (no matter the age) has different mentality and ideals.

We are going to try and speculate what funny things are worthy of discussion for each generation. Let’s go!

🍎 Funny Persuasive Topics for Elementary Students

  • We should ban adult news and leave only cartoons on TV.
  • Schools should include computer games classes in their program.
  • Our schools should do activities more often, such as camping and excursions.
  • Chocolate awards are the best demonstration of the teacher’s appreciation.
  • A school classroom should have more toys.
  • A lunch box is the most valuable thing in our backpacks.
  • Writing an email requires concentrated group work.
  • Teachers should have more rest from their pupils.
  • Your yearly achievements should be read aloud by your parents.
  • Homework is useless for elementary students.
  • A pack of gum is more valuable than money.
  • School cafeterias should be banned for their lack of good food.
  • Family is the primary source of happiness in our lives.
  • Collecting certain things is an excellent way to become popular in school.
  • Domestic robots are going to make us lazy.

🏫 Funny Persuasive Topics for Middle Schoolers

Middle school is the place where students are only beginning to get acquainted with world realities. They form new relationships, discover sports, drama clubs, start new adventures, etc. First gossips and rumors spread. Middle school is also the first place where students first face bullying.

Here are some topics for this generation:

  • Teachers should allow students to express themselves freely in middle school.
  • We should ban books and only use iPads in classes.
  • Public schools should be administered wiser .
  • The efficiency of children’s literacy development must be increased .
  • Building new relationships is the best thing about middle school.
  • Every school has one craziest school story.
  • Do boys gossip more than girls?

Men gossip as much as women do.

  • The only thing you think about during classes is song lyrics.
  • 7th grade is the time when you start having crushes.
  • It is impossible to order at McDonald’s without staying “Ummm.”
  • Teachers are the biggest motivators for students .
  • Pen clicking is the most annoying thing during a test.
  • Finding old pictures of yourself is the worst thing ever.
  • According to teachers, grades are more important than your emotional and physical health.
  • In middle school, you learn to hate people truly.
  • They tell us sleep is essential, so why do the classes start early?

🗓 Funny Persuasive Topics for High Schoolers

This period is filled with excitement and many adventures. At the same time, students experience too much stress and anxiety. The finals, prom, separation from their parents, college, and adult life are looming.

  • Don’t neglect your teachers; they should become your friends in the last year.
  • Don’t like Shakespeare? Study him even more !
  • Why is math so complicated in high school?
  • “The Epic of Gilgamesh” is the best piece of literature studied in high school .
  • Watching Ted Talks is better than studying.
  • We should live according to the rules of High School Musical .
  • Yearbook quotes are the reason why we go to high school.
  • Senior high school students experience more stress in the last year than all the previous ones combined.
  • Graduation is the happiest moment of your life.
  • The concept of a zombie comes from Haitian culture , but it blooms in every high school.
  • Waiting for a letter from a college is the most stressful thing during high school.
  • There should be a gap year after high school to decide your future.
  • Job interviews for high schoolers should be banned.
  • Why is it so stressful to ask a person on a prom date?
  • Monday classes should not exist.
  • Household rules could tell a lot about someone’s family.

☕ Funny Persuasive Topics for College Students

Almost anyone could say that college is the most fun period in their lives. You can have independence, crazy parties, new relationships, etc. At the same time, college students have to get used to a different lifestyle living away from parents.

  • College students are the best procrastinators.
  • Fast food is bad for your mental health.

Eating lots of fast food significantly increased perceived mental distress.

  • You have to get a job in college.
  • How do I not go broke in college?
  • Doing your laundry is a waste of time.
  • Parents can still control you even in college.
  • Fraternities are not so cool anymore.
  • If you want better grades, try to understand your professor.
  • Is attending college worth it ?
  • College jokes are the best.
  • College students are the best liars.
  • Memes is a fantastic stress reliever.
  • The hypocrisy levels of professors are sometimes unbearable.
  • What is the best hobby one could have in college?
  • Adults can attend college, and we should support it.
  • Colleges should be mandatory .
  • Coffee is your best friend in college.

👩‍🏫 Guide to Making Your Speech or Writing Funny

So, you have already chosen your idea from our funny persuasive topics list. However, you also have to make sure that your speech or essay correlates with it.

Watch how professional speakers deliver their persuasive speeches.

Here’s a guide just for that:

  • Think of your audience . What age group is going to listen to you or read your persuasive essay? What humor would they appreciate? This tip is an essential part of your success.
  • Evaluate whether a humorous approach can contribute to the success of your essay or speech. Your final goal is to persuade. If jokes here and there will only interfere with your objective, don’t incorporate them.
  • Consider your strengths . You’ve probably used humor before in your daily conversations. Which jokes were successful? Are you good at relatable comedy or anecdotes? Looking for an impressive funny topic, you have to take your skills into account. Otherwise, even the hilarious idea will fail. Always keep practicing.
  • Try different techniques . If you’re good at various types of humor or at least willing to attempt, use a few methods. Storytelling, anecdotes, tags, ambiguity, self-deprecation—the list goes on! Try different approaches not to become predictable. Check online sources that speak on the many humor techniques.
  • Use expressive yet simple language . It’s hard to laugh when you’re trying to understand what the author intended to say. If you are struggling with word transparency, check your dictionary for synonyms.
  • Don’t forget to pause . Doesn’t matter whether you write or speak—give your reader or listener time to prepare for the next joke. Effective spaces between comedic moments are essential not to turn your persuasive speech into a standup. Throwing too many jokes around does not work. Aim for quality over quantity.
  • Practice the jokes on your close ones. Try to find the age group similar to your future audience and ask for their opinion. Then you’ll be able to polish and improve your humor. Both essay writing and public speaking require some practice.

Pay attention to wording.

That is everything you need to know about funny persuasive writing topics! We thank you for taking the time to read our article. If you liked it, share it with your friends to help them find information on the subject.

🔗 References

  • 414 Funny and Humorous Speech Topics [Persuasive, Informative, Impromptu]: My Speech Class
  • 4 Steps to Finding a Speech Topic that Clicks: Michelle Mazur, Communication Rebel
  • How to Use Humor Effectively in Speeches: Write Out Loud
  • How to Add Power or Humor with the Rule of Three: Andrew Dlugan, Six Minutes
  • 7 Tips on Writing an Effective Essay: The Fastweb Team
  • Introductions and Conclusions: Writing Advice, University of Toronto
  • College Essay Examples How to Write Your Story Best Colleges: Josh Moody, US News
  • Essays That Worked: John Hopkins University
  • How To Write A Persuasive Essay: Writing Guides, Ultius
  • Tips To Write An Effective Persuasive Essay: Dr. Michael W. Kirst, The College Puzzle
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Funniest College Essays - To Ease the Tension

<p>MIT certainly has a reputation to be proud of, but its admissions department went a little over-board, I think. The first letter is an honest-to-goodness mailing from MIT, the second is one prospective student’s reply:</p>

<p>Mr. John T. Mongan 123 Main Street Smalltown, California 94123-4567</p>

<p>Dear John:</p>

<p>You’ve got the grades. You’ve certainly got the PSAT scores. And now you’ve got a letter from MIT. Maybe you’re surprised. Most students would be.</p>

<p>But you’re not most students. And that’s exactly why I urge you to consider carefully one of the most selective universities in America.</p>

<p>The level of potential reflected in your performance is a powerful indicator that you might well be an excellent candidate for MIT. It certainly got my attention!</p>

<p>Engineering’s not for you? No problem. It may surprise you to learn we offer more than 40 major fields of study, from architecture to brain and cognitive sciences, from economics (perhaps the best program in the country) to writing.</p>

<p>What? Of course, you don’t want to be bored. Who does? Life here <em>is</em> tough <em>and</em> demanding, but it’s also <em>fun</em>. MIT students are imaginative and creative - inside and outside the classroom.</p>

<p>You’re interested in athletics? Great! MIT has more varsity teams - 39 - than almost any other university, and a tremendous intramural program so everybody can participate.</p>

<p>You think we’re too expensive? Don’t be too sure. We’ve got surprises for you there, too.</p>

<p>Why not send the enclosed Information Request to find out more about this unique institution? Why not do it right now?</p>


<p>Michael C. Benhke Director of Admissions</p>

<p>P.S. If you’d like a copy of a fun-filled, fact-filled brochure, “Insight,” just check the appropriate box on the form.</p>

<p>May 5, 1994</p>

<p>Michael C. Behnke MIT Director of Admissions Office of Admissions, Room 3-108 Cambridge MA 02139-4307</p>

<p>Dear Michael:</p>

<p>You’ve got the reputation. You’ve certainly got the pomposity. And now you’ve got a letter from John Mongan. Maybe you’re surprised. Most universities would be.</p>

<p>But you’re not most universities. And that’s exactly why I urge you to carefully consider one of the most selective students in America, so selective that he will choose only <em>one</em> of the thousands of accredited universities in the country.</p>

<p>The level of pomposity and lack of tact reflected in your letter is a powerful indicator that your august institution might well be a possibility for John Mongan’s future education. It certainly got my attention!</p>

<p>Don’t want Bio-Chem students? No problem. It may surprise you to learn that my interests cover over 400 fields of study, from semantics to limnology, from object-oriented programming (perhaps one of the youngest professionals in the country) to classical piano.</p>

<p>What? Of course you don’t want egotistical jerks. Who does? I <em>am</em> self-indulgent <em>and</em> over confident, but I’m also amusing. John Mongan is funny and amusing - whether you’re laughing with him or at him.</p>

<p>You’re interested in athletes? Great! John Mongan has played more sports - 47 - than almost any other student, including oddball favorites such as Orienteering.</p>

<p>You think I can pay for your school? Don’t be too sure. I’ve got surprises for you there, too.</p>

<p>Why not send a guaranteed admission and full scholarship to increase your chance of being selected by John Mongan? Why not do it right now?</p>

<p>Sincerely, John Mongan</p>

<p>P.S. If you’d like a copy of a fun-filled, fact-filled brochure, “John Mongan: What a Guy!” just ask.</p>

<p>Question: Are there any significant experiences you have had, or accomplishments you have realized, that have helped to define you as a person?</p>

<pre><code> I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. </code></pre>

<p>I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.</p>

<p>Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets. I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.</p>

<p>I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.</p>

<p>I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.</p>

<p>I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four-course meals using only a Mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.</p>

<p>But I have not yet gone to college.</p>

<p>These are two of my favorites. If you’ve got any to add, feel free.</p>

<p>I hope this eased some tension!</p>

<p>lol the first one I’ve never seen before</p>

<p>that was pretty good</p>

<p>Guys, seriously, it’s worth the time. They’re pretty funny. Haha I just realized that the only people who would read this comment are the people who already read the essays. Lol.</p>

<p>Second is a classic. The first one I absolutely love!</p>


<p>first one. what gut!</p>

<p>lol i really hope the kid got accepted.</p>

<p>Ahahaha that first one is awesome.</p>

<p>This is awesome.</p>

<p>hahahaha brilliant!!!</p>

<p>That first one is awesome. I have to bookmark this page and come back if I need a laugh.</p>

<p>I wish I was that funny. No sarcasm</p>

<p>“You think I can pay for your school? Don’t be too sure. I’ve got surprises for you there, too.”</p>

<p>I died at that line haha</p>

<p>^ ME TOO! Glad someone on this site shares my sense of humor :D. I really want to know if either of these kids got their first choice.</p>

<p>omg the first one killed! the 2nd is good too,but didnt make me laugh off my chair</p>

<p>wonder what happened to them…lol…omg I’m dying to write something unique in the essay “your interest and goals…”. this really helps me relax</p>

<p>The second guy is Hugh Gallagher.</p>

<p>I sent an actual essay, but I decided to send a “supplement” along with it. This was after I had already gotten in to one of my top schools early. I ended up getting waitlisted at the places I sent this to. Considering I got rejected by the schools I didn’t send this to, I’m not sure if it helped or hurt me. </p>

<p>A Guide To Cracking the Teenage Girl Below is the tested and trusted method for “Cracking the Teenage Girl.”*</p>

<p>The Five Fundamental Theorems (FFT)</p>

<ol> <li><p>Despite what they say, teenage girls are not looking for someone to understand them. They want someone to control them and tell them what to do.</p></li> <li><p>The more arrogant and self-confident you are, the more you’ll be able to be the guy mentioned in one. Remember, it’s not harassment if she enjoys it.</p></li> <li><p>Physical and verbal reminders of the master/slave relationship is constantly needed to be able to fully follow steps one and two to perfection.</p></li> <li><p>The more she acts as if she dislikes the treatment; the more she’s actually enjoying it.</p></li> <li><p>Teenage girls have no self-pride. They are what you say they are.</p></li> </ol>

<p>Right at the beginning a firm master/slave relationship needs to be established with the girl immediately. It is usually achieved by personal attitude, by saying something along the lines of, “Hey, you’re almost as good-looking as I am. I might just let you go out with me.” This will attracts the girl’s attention causing the effect known as “love at first sight,” “a hot flash,” or “sexual obsession,” all of which share the same meaning.</p>

<p>The next step is to add in the punches. Phrases such as “Girl you the dumbest ***** I’ve ever seen” are usually a safe bet. The girl would become instantly ecstatic and aroused, even venturing to touch you, but don’t let her, not yet. When she replies to agree with you, nod your head like you’re not really listening; since she won’t be saying anything intelligent anyways and girls find that very attractive as well. It’s called foreplay.</p>

<p>A side effect however, is what professionals term Hard to Get Syndrome, or HGS. It usually involves the girl feigning shock and anger at the actions of the guy. It is believed to be a sort of mating test used to determine the validity of the opposite partner. A common occurrence is the phrase “You’re horrible I hate you”. However, this is commonly interpreted to mean “Wow I love this so much please don’t stop.”</p>

<p>In order to fulfill her desire for further domination one should take this opportunity to give her a quick slap. The suggested form used is the Wu Slap. Based on the Five Fundamental Theorem, the Wu Slap has become a standard practice in the Player’s handbook. Professional slapping involves the use of several techniques that distinguish it from normal slapping. Unlike other forms of slapping, the Wu Slap neither as light as the “girl slap” nor as heavy handed as the “***** slap.” It is also unlike both in style, consisting of a quick flick of the wrist, mainly to establish master/slave positions. The Wu Slap also contains the use of dragging the fingernails across the face, producing a raking effect. Properly done, a Wu Slap can cause pain and humiliation in a teenage girl, producing a desirable effect that cancels out any HGS the girl might possibly have.</p>

<p>Upon reaching this point, cracking the girl is already almost finished. The final trial simply comprises of hearing her complain, scream, and/or cry about various events. Never pay attention. Paying attention is a sign of homosexuality and male impotency. Falling asleep is an often used technique. This would also be a good time to pull out a nine-millimeter and shoot someone for the increased dramatic effect, which is extremely useful. A different type of firearm would also work, but a nine is usually more gangster and better fitting for a player.</p>

<p>*Disclaimer: The author takes no responsibility for the repercussions that may happen to any idiot dumb enough to follow the above method.</p>

<p>^wth would you put that? What was your motivation?</p>

<p>OMG, WTH?!!! you’re serious??!!</p>

<p>I would waitlist you, too. Enough guts/humor to warrant not getting rejected, but the humor/sarcasm is a little over the top to accept you. At least, that’s how I feel.</p>

<p>HAHAHA I love the first one! Hope the guy got accepted.</p>

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50 Expository Essay Topics for Your Next Assignment

Jessica Nita

Table of Contents

What exactly is an expository essay? The term expository stems from the word expose, meaning that this type of essay is meant to define, describe and take a deep delve into the subject matter. The essay can also take different forms. It can be an analysis or investigation of a particular issue, a cause-and-effect article, a comparison, problem and solution or a descriptive essay . If you have been assigned to write an expository essay, you have to invest your time in research so as to come up with great and convincing content. We have made your work easier by compiling a list of amazing expository essay topics to guide you. Comprehensive List of Expository Essay Topics

Teachers often assign students expository essay topics to test their ability to discuss those topics clearly and concisely and express opinions based on solid facts. The student is required to research the topic and write an essay to demonstrate their understanding of that subject. However, there are no particularly favourite topics for an expository essay since different topics inspire different individuals. We have crafted the best expository essay topics for you to begin your process of writing an excellent essay. The important thing to remember is that your expository paper should be based on facts rather than your thoughts and emotions. 

Sample Expository Essay Topics for Middle School Students

To write a high-scoring paper, you must begin with an amazing topic. Here are some interesting expository essay topics suitable for a middle school student.

  • How did my first day at school go?
  • How growing up with my brother influenced my behaviour.
  • My favourite vacation place.
  • Why I love science.
  • My life as a dog owner.
  • Why I love my teacher.
  • Things my father taught me about friendship.
  • Why I like living in this city.
  • My best friend.
  • The true meaning of friendship.

Interesting Expository Essay Topics for High School Students

Your teacher may have asked you to come up with a list of topics for expository essay s to share with your classmates, or maybe you have been assigned the task of coming up with an expository topic but need help knowing where to start. Here are some good expository essay topics to help you meet your goals.

  • How to remain safe while surfing the internet? 
  • What I found while exploring the rainforest.
  • My favorite plant and why I love it.
  • Why is it important to exercise? 
  • The role of Rosa Parks in the civil rights movement.
  • The life cycle of a mango tree.
  • The interesting world of birds.
  • The history of Egypt.
  • The lifecycle of a bee and why they are important to fruit trees.
  • Understanding the solar system.

Expository Essay Topics for College Students

The best place to start your assignment is by finding good expository essay topics on which to base your essay. These are some top-notch expository essay topics for college students.

  • The advantages and disadvantages of the internet.
  • How do we protect the environment? 
  • A list of items that bring people joy
  • How should financial issues be handled?
  • How do you show someone you admire them?
  • Which developments in communication have occurred throughout the past 20 years?
  • What are the advantages of social media?
  • Which book and why are you interested in reading?
  • How should bullying in schools be handled?
  • Is it beneficial to express your feelings?

Intriguing Expository Essay Topics for University Students

Being a university student is already difficult, and finding expository essay topics should not be another challenge. Here are some of the best expository essay topics for university students.

  • The significance of negotiations during military operations.
  • Justify the implementation of communism in various nations.
  • The use of art to address mental health issues.
  • Causes and consequences of the 1920s nationwide strike.
  • Talk about the main facets of John F. Kennedy’s political involvement.
  • Qualities of a good psychotherapist.
  • In what ways does an individual’s IQ score indicate their mental capacity?
  • Five reasons why racism is psychological.
  • Describe the risks associated with military operations in Eastern Asia.
  • Describe the evolution of social media.

Some Funny Expository Essay Topics

It is quite unusual to find funny topics for expository essay writing, but we have your back. We make it easy for you to concentrate on the research process on the subject matter by presenting you with a list of expository essay topics that will not only tickle your funny bone but also get your audience thinking deeper about the theme of the paper. Here are some hilarious topics for expository essay writing.

  • What makes kids lie?
  • What is wrong with the human race?
  • Are we insatiably greedy for money?
  • What is the relationship between loneliness and hunger?
  • What would life on the moon look like?
  • Do you believe in the concept of double standards?
  • Consequences of abstaining from elections.
  • How can you look after yourself?
  • Talk about how the human brain processes memories.
  • Do relationships suffer because of technology?

With such a wonderful list of expository essay topics , you should be in a position to craft an essay that will impress the teacher and your readers. You can start by choosing a subject from one of the topics for expository essay shared in this article to find out which direction your paper should take, then proceed with the topic that makes the most sense to you.

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More From Forbes

How not to write your college essay.

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If you are looking for the “secret formula” for writing a “winning” college essay, you have come to the wrong place. The reality is there is no silver bullet or strategy to write your way to an acceptance. There is not one topic or approach that will guarantee a favorable outcome.

At the end of the day, every admission office just wants to know more about you, what you value, and what excites you. They want to hear about your experiences through your own words and in your own voice. As you set out to write your essay, you will no doubt get input (both sought-after and unsolicited) on what to write. But how about what NOT Notcoin to write? There are avoidable blunders that applicants frequently make in drafting their essays. I asked college admission leaders, who have read thousands of submissions, to share their thoughts.

Don’t Go In There

There is wide consensus on this first one, so before you call on your Jedi mind tricks or predictive analytics, listen to the voices of a diverse range of admission deans. Peter Hagan, executive director of admissions at Syracuse University, sums it up best, saying, “I would recommend that students try not to get inside of our heads. He adds, “Too often the focus is on what they think we want.”

Andy Strickler, dean of admission and financial aid at Connecticut College agrees, warning, “Do NOT get caught in the trap of trying to figure out what is going to impress the admission committee. You have NO idea who is going to read your essay and what is going to connect with them. So, don't try to guess that.” Victoria Romero, vice president for enrollment, at Scripps College adds, “Do not write about something you don’t care about.” She says, “I think students try to figure out what an admission officer wants to read, and the reality is the reader begins every next essay with no expectations about the content THEY want to read.” Chrystal Russell, dean of admission at Hampden-Sydney College, agrees, saying, “If you're not interested in writing it, we will not be interested when reading it.” Jay Jacobs, vice provost for enrollment management at the University of Vermont elaborates, advising. “Don’t try to make yourself sound any different than you are.” He says, “The number one goal for admission officers is to better understand the applicant, what they like to do, what they want to do, where they spend the majority of their time, and what makes them tick. If a student stays genuine to that, it will shine through and make an engaging and successful essay.”

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Don’t Be Artificial

The headlines about college admission are dominated by stories about artificial intelligence and the college essay. Let’s set some ground rules–to allow ChatGPT or some other tool to do your work is not only unethical, it is also unintelligent. The only worse mistake you could make is to let another human write your essay for you. Instead of preoccupying yourself with whether or not colleges are using AI detection software (most are not), spend your time focused on how best to express yourself authentically. Rick Clark is the executive director of strategic student success at Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the first institutions to clearly outline their AI policy for applicants. He says, “Much of a college application is devoted to lines, boxes, and numbers. Essays and supplements are the one place to establish connection, personality, and distinction. AI, in its current state, is terrible at all three.” He adds, “My hope is that students will use ChatGPT or other tools for brainstorming and to get started, but then move quickly into crafting an essay that will provide insight and value.”

Don’t Overdo It

Michael Stefanowicz, vice president for enrollment management at Landmark College says, “You can only cover so much detail about yourself in an admission essay, and a lot of students feel pressure to tell their life story or choose their most defining experience to date as an essay topic. Admission professionals know that you’re sharing just one part of your lived experience in the essay.” He adds, “Some of the favorite essays I’ve read have been episodic, reflecting on the way you’ve found meaning in a seemingly ordinary experience, advice you’ve lived out, a mistake you’ve learned from, or a special tradition in your life.” Gary Ross, vice president for admission and financial aid at Colgate University adds, “More than a few applicants each year craft essays that talk about the frustration and struggles they have experienced in identifying a topic for their college application essay. Presenting your college application essay as a smorgasbord of topics that ultimately landed on the cutting room floor does not give us much insight into an applicant.”

Don’t Believe In Magic

Jason Nevinger, senior director of admission at the University of Rochester warns, “Be skeptical of anyone or any company telling you, ‘This is the essay that got me into _____.’ There is no magic topic, approach, sentence structure, or prose that got any student into any institution ever.” Social media is littered with advertisements promising strategic essay help. Don’t waste your time, energy, or money trying to emulate a certain style, topic, or tone. Liz Cheron is chief executive officer for the Coalition for College and former assistant vice president of enrollment & dean of admissions at Northeastern University. She agrees with Nevinger, saying “Don't put pressure on yourself to find the perfect, slam dunk topic. The vast majority of college essays do exactly what they're supposed to do–they are well-written and tell the admission officer more about the student in that student's voice–and that can take many different forms.”

Don’t Over Recycle

Beatrice Atkinson-Myers, associate director of global recruitment at the University of California at Santa Cruz tells students, “Do not use the same response for each university; research and craft your essay to match the program at the university you are interested in studying. Don't waste time telling me things I can read elsewhere in your application. Use your essay to give the admissions officer insights into your motivations, interests, and thinking. Don't make your essay the kitchen sink, focus on one or two examples which demonstrate your depth and creativity.” Her UC colleague, Jim Rawlins, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management at the University of California at San Diego agrees, saying “Answer the question. Not doing so is the surest way we can tell you are simply giving us a snippet of something you actually wrote for a different purpose.”

Don’t Overedit

Emily Roper-Doten, vice president for undergraduate admissions and financial assistance at Clark University warns against “Too many editors!” She says, “Pick a couple of trusted folks to be your sounding board when considering topics and as readers once you have drafts. You don’t want too many voices in your essay to drown you out!” Scripps’ Romero agrees, suggesting, “Ask a good friend, someone you trust and knows you well, to read your essays.” She adds, “The goal is for the admission committee to get to know a little about you and who better to help you create that framework, than a good friend. This may not work for all students because of content but helps them understand it’s important to be themselves.” Whitney Soule, vice provost and dean of admissions at The University of Pennsylvania adds, “Avoid well-meaning editorial interference that might seem to polish your writing but actually takes your own personal ‘shine’ right out of the message.” She says, “As readers, we connect to applicants through their genuine tone and style. Considering editorial advice for flow and message is OK but hold on to the 'you' for what you want to say and how you want to say it.”

Don’t Get Showy

Palmer Muntz, senior regional admissions counselor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks cautions applicants, “Don’t be fancier than you are. You don’t need to put on airs.” He adds, “Yes, proofread your work for grammar and spelling, but be natural. Craft something you’d want to read yourself, which probably means keeping your paragraphs short, using familiar words, and writing in an active voice.” Connecticut College’s Strickler agrees, warning, “Don't try to be someone you are not. If you are not funny, don't try to write a funny essay. If you are not an intellectual, trying to write an intellectual essay is a bad idea.”

Anthony Jones, the vice president of enrollment management at Loyola University New Orleans offers a unique metaphor for thinking about the essay. He says, “In the new world of the hyper-fast college admission process, it's become easy to overlook the essential meaning of the college application. It's meant to reveal Y...O...U, the real you, not some phony digital avatar. Think of the essay as the essence of that voice but in analog. Like the completeness and authenticity captured in a vinyl record, the few lines you're given to explain your view should be a slow walk through unrestrained expression chock full of unapologetic nuances, crevices of emotion, and exactness about how you feel in the moment. Then, and only then, can you give the admissions officer an experience that makes them want to tune in and listen for more.”

Don’t Be A Downer

James Nondorf, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at The University of Chicago says, “Don’t be negative about other people, be appreciative of those who have supported you, and be excited about who you are and what you will bring to our campus!” He adds, “While admissions offices want smart students for our classrooms, we also want kind-hearted, caring, and joyous students who will add to our campus communities too.”

Don’t Pattern Match

Alan Ramirez is the dean of admission and financial aid at Sewanee, The University of the South. He explains, “A big concern I have is when students find themselves comparing their writing to other students or past applicants and transform their writing to be more like those individuals as a way to better their chances of offering a more-compelling essay.” He emphasizes that the result is that the “essay is no longer authentic nor the best representation of themselves and the whole point of the essay is lost. Their distinctive voice and viewpoint contribute to the range of voices in the incoming class, enhancing the diversity of perspectives we aim to achieve.” Ramirez simple tells students, “Be yourself, that’s what we want to see, plus there's no one else who can do it better than you!”

Don’t Feel Tied To A Topic

Jessica Ricker is the vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid at Skidmore College. She says, “Sometimes students feel they must tell a story of grief or hardship, and then end up reliving that during the essay-writing process in ways that are emotionally detrimental. I encourage students to choose a topic they can reflect upon positively but recommend that if they choose a more challenging experience to write about, they avoid belaboring the details and instead focus on the outcome of that journey.” She adds, "They simply need to name it, frame its impact, and then help us as the reader understand how it has shaped their lens on life and their approach moving forward.”

Landmark College’s Stefanowicz adds, “A lot of students worry about how personal to get in sharing a part of their identity like your race or heritage (recalling last year’s Supreme Court case about race-conscious admissions), a learning difference or other disability, your religious values, LGBTQ identity…the list goes on.” He emphasizes, “This is always your choice, and your essay doesn’t have to be about a defining identity. But I encourage you to be fully yourself as you present yourself to colleges—because the college admission process is about finding a school where your whole self is welcome and you find a setting to flourish!”

Don’t Be Redundant

Hillen Grason Jr., dean of admission at Franklin & Marshall College, advises, “Don't repeat academic or co-curricular information that is easily identifiable within other parts of your application unless the topic is a core tenant of you as an individual.” He adds, “Use your essay, and other parts of your application, wisely. Your essay is the best way to convey who your authentic self is to the schools you apply. If you navigated a situation that led to a dip in your grades or co-curricular involvement, leverage the ‘additional information’ section of the application.

Thomas Marr is a regional manager of admissions for the Americas at The University of St Andrews in Scotland and points out that “Not all international schools use the main college essay as part of their assessment when reviewing student applications.” He says, “At the University of St Andrews, we focus on the supplemental essay and students should avoid the mistake of making the supplemental a repeat of their other essay. The supplemental (called the Personal Statement if using the UCAS application process) is to show the extent of their passion and enthusiasm for the subject/s to which they are applying and we expect about 75% of the content to cover this. They can use the remaining space to mention their interests outside of the classroom. Some students confuse passion for the school with passion for their subject; do not fall into that trap.”

A Few Final Don’ts

Don’t delay. Every college applicant I have ever worked with has wished they had started earlier. You can best avoid the pitfalls above if you give yourself the time and space to write a thoughtful essay and welcome feedback openly but cautiously. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect . Do your best, share your voice, and stay true to who you are.

Brennan Barnard

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Humor in college essays

Okay, I know this has been answered before on this site, but I just wanted to ask what the consensus is on humor being used in college essays?

A lot of the advice seems to be very critical about using any at all. And I've heard the "Don't force it" quite a bit, which frustrates me too.

Like, background, I've always been one of those people who really has to force myself to write "academically" every time I have to do something in an English class, because that style of dry, lifeless-sorta writing doesn't sit well with me. I want to write how I talk, and how I talk is... not that. Which I can deal with when it's an English class because whatever, doesn't matter, but when I'm supposed to show off myself in writing it's hard to not try and write like I actually am. I want to include all the dry remarks and dumb hyperbole and what-have-you that's such a part of how I actually interact with the world.

But on the other hand, that's not particularly rare of a phenomenon, which is why the "don't force it" gets me. I don't feel like I'm forcing it, it's basically just the closest to a transcript of my actual conversations as possible, but on the other hand, people seem to be casting all attempts at jokes as just a bad idea all-around. Which just makes it feel like all those English classes I had to pretend to not be myself at again.

I guess, reigning it in a bit, my point is that, you're supposed to be not be fake and put on a persona to college admission people, but ALSO not be humorous. And to me, not at least trying to be humorous is more unnatural and makes me feel like I AM putting on the persona of an 8th grade 5-paragraph essay.

Calculate for all schools

Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, can you use humor in college essays.

Hi everyone! I have a pretty good sense of humor and I am considering incorporating it into my college essay. Is humor appropriate for college essays, or should I stick to a more serious tone? I want to make sure my essay is both engaging and effective.

Hey there! It's great that you want to showcase your sense of humor in your college essay. Humor can definitely be appropriate and even make your essay stand out if you do it well. Just keep in mind that you still want to convey a meaningful message and show off your personality.

To strike the right balance between humor and substance, start by brainstorming what aspects of your life or experiences you'd like to focus on. Inject humor in a way that highlights your voice and perspective, but avoid making the entire essay a comedy routine.

It might help to get someone to read your essay and give you feedback on the humor as well as the overall content. You could also read this CollegeVine blog post that offers tips on how to add humor to your essay: https://blog.collegevine.com/should-you-be-funny-in-your-college-essay/

Best of luck with your essay writing, and remember to have fun while sharing what makes you unique!

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

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One study compared the funniness of novel jokes generated by regular people with jokes generated by ChatGPT. A second study challenged ChatGPT to develop new headlines in the satirical style of The Onion. (Illustration/Created with OpenArtAI)

Think you’re funny? ChatGPT might be funnier

A USC psychology study shows that AI-generated jokes tickle funny bones more than those created by people, raising concerns about the technology’s threat to entertainment jobs.

A study comparing jokes by people versus those told by ChatGPT shows that humans need to work on their material.

The research team behind the study published July 3 in the journal PLOS ONE took on the serious task of comparing participants’ reactions to jokes written by ChatGPT 3.5 and others written by people. This was conducted in an effort to determine if artificial intelligence can outwit humans for a laugh, said Drew Gorenz , a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences .

“Since ChatGPT can’t feel emotions itself but it tells novel jokes better than the average human, these studies provide evidence that you don’t need to feel the emotions of appreciating a good joke to tell a really good one yourself,” Gorenz said.

One study compared the funniness of novel jokes generated by regular people with the funniness of novel jokes generated by ChatGPT. Participants rated the funniness of all jokes without knowing their author. The researchers found that overall, nearly 70% of the participants rated the ChatGPT-generated jokes as funnier than those crafted by humans. A little over 25% of participants rated the human-crafted responses as funnier, and only about 5% rated jokes from both sources as equally funny. The results were consistent even when the researchers checked for differences across various demographics.

To see how ChatGPT might fare against professional humor writers, the researchers conducted a second study in which they challenged ChatGPT to develop new headlines in the satirical style of The Onion . They then asked another group of 200 participants to rate the funniness of original Onion headlines and of the new ChatGPT-generated headlines. Participants found ChatGPT’s headlines just as funny as the original Onion headlines.

AI jokes: First study

How does one get people and AI to generate original jokes? For the first study, both ChatGPT and 105 participants completed three tasks, each including three prompts.

In the first task, they crafted humorous new phrases for common acronyms. In a second task, both ChatGPT and the human writers generated funny answers to fill-in-the-blank phrases such as, “A lesser known room in the White House: _____.” They were also prompted to come up with a “roast joke,” a funny slam inspired by an awkward fictional scenario such as this:

“Imagine that one of your friends wants your opinion on how well she sings. She sings a minute or two to demonstrate her voice, and you cringe — she might be the worst singer you ever heard. When she asks, ‘So how was it?’ you decide to be honest so you say, ‘To be honest, listening to that was like: _____’”

These three tasks resulted in more than 945 jokes written by 105 writers. ChatGPT was asked to generate 20 humorous answers for each prompt for a total of 180 jokes. A new group of participants then rated the funniness of the jokes.

Investigating ChatGPT and humor: Second study

In the second study, ChatGPT was fed original headlines from The Onion and asked to generate new headlines in the same style. A group of 200 participants was asked to rate the funniness of the original Onion headlines and the ChatGPT-generated ones without knowing the authorship.

Gorenz said his idea for the study stemmed in part from the entertainment world’s debate over writers’ concerns about the use of large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT in entertainment production. The issue has been magnified by recent Hollywood strikes by writers and actors who are fearful that the adoption of large language models poses an existential threat to their professions, to art and to human creativity.

Gorenz, himself an amateur stand-up comedian, acknowledged a lifelong love for comedy that inspired his research with co-author, Norbert Schwarz , who is a co-director of the USC Dornsife Mind and Society Center and an expert on consumer judgment with the USC Marshall School of Business .

Gorenz said their study raises concerns about the use of ChatGPT and other LLMs within the entertainment industry.

“The implications are more positive for people who merely want to reap the benefits of elevating their everyday communications with a dose of humor,” he and Schwarz, a Provost Professor of Psychology and Marketing, wrote.

“But for professional comedy writers, our results suggest that LLMs can pose a serious employment threat,” Schwarz noted.

Whether AI gets the last laugh remains to be seen.

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