Writing funny college essays

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College application essays can seem daunting and exhausting. If you’re worried about writing your essay, there is nothing wrong with this. It only means that you care.

Writing a college essay is the most intimidating part of the application process for many students. Even though essay can be scary, they are also a great opportunity. When writing a college essay, you need to tell everything about yourself in the perfect manner, so it would look as perfect as possible. However, don’t try to present yourself as a perfect person. In college essays you need to show how you can be yourself.

The essay you’re preparing should reveal something about your character and personality to give your readers a good sense of who you are and how you’re different from other applicants. Even though this may sound like a serious task, using humor in small amounts can do the trick. Below you will find useful recommendations on how to write funny college essays without crossing the line.

Picking a trait of your character

The first thing you need to do is to pick an aspect of yourself that you want your paper to highlight. It can be, for example, the fact that you are a perfectionist or that you are always punctual. There are many options that you can pick from. Even though you may be impatient and pessimistic, college application essay is not the place to talk about it and try to show it in a positive light. Try to highlight some of the following characteristics of yourself:

  • Persistence
  • Determination
  • Sincerity
  • Kindness
  • Passion for cooperative thinking

If you can’t think of any of the traits you could write about try asking your close friends. Ask them what the words they would use to describe you. Once they give you their answer, you can start from here. Sometimes you will be surprised by what they say and it may give you an insight into yourself and you may have a great idea for writing an essay.

Don’t stand out for the wrong reasons

Your college essay is not the place to take a bizarre political stance or to try to differentiate yourself from other applicants by writing an essay on Kylie Jenner.

The thing is that trying to find depth in a tasteless topic that has nothing to do with who you are as a person does not show a college committee anything about yourself beyond and overestimation of your persuasion skills. You’re not given a lot of space so try to choose something that is actually worth writing about, something that is personal to you, and that gives the audience an insight into who you are.

Play with the format

Usually, you have from 250 to 650 words to write about your subject. The only requirement you may have is that your paper fits into that space. As for the rest, you can do almost anything. You can prepare your essay in one of the following unique formats:

  • A screenplay
  • A poem
  • A lyric essay
  • A photo essay
  • A presentation
  • A comedy scene
  • A recipe
  • A monologue

When writing your essay, so you can be funny, serious, playful, introspective, and anything else that comes to your mind. Just be creative.

No matter what format you will choose for your paper, your essay needs to have a beginning, middle, and end that tells your audience something about yourself that they are not getting anywhere else in your application. Try to have fun with your essay and allow yourself to try things that are not ordinary because in order to stand out from others in a positive way you need to do something different.

Avoid the words you’re not using in your daily life

Even though you can play with the format of your paper, don’t try to turn your work into a thesaurus. For example, if you’re trying to say “table,” say table, if you want to say “many,” say “many.” Don’t pull out glut, perfusion, plethora, or anything else that you normally would not use in your real life.

One of the reasons why you should not try to use smart words in your essay is that words that are not common in a normal vocabulary are a red flag for those who review your essay. The reviewers are always on the lookout for those who are trying too hard to look smart and attract the attention of the committee. If you’re not showing your true self, but using superfluity like it is normal, your essay will not have success among your readers. Imagine when you’re in class and you’re yelling to a teacher: “Me, pick me!” As it doesn’t usually work in class, it most likely won’t work with your college essay.

When looking for the synonyms for your words don’t try to use the first synonym that you find because it doesn’t mean that it is perfectly analogous. For example, many college applicants today have a favorite word, which is enigma. Even though it is a cool word, it is also complicated and has other definitions that go beyond “puzzling” or “confusing.” These are the two that words, enigma is most often used as a substitution for. So, when calling something or yourself an enigma is not going to make you seem fancy in a good way. When working on your funny college essays, try to stay clear, simple and use the words that you actually say in your everyday conversation.

Be who you are

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Even though you’re trying to use an original format for your paper, it is significant to stay authentic and true to who you are. It may be terrifying to take off your mask and show who you really are.

Sometimes you need a little practice to show your real voice on paper. If you want to show your sense of humor, read some works by famous comedians and see how they use funny lines on paper. If you want to show yourself in being introspective, read your favorite memoir once again. However, even if you look for inspiration and outside sources, remember that you need to use your own words and show your own ideas.

Don’t scare yourself from the very start

Blank pages look scary, but the best way to overcome this fear is by filling the pages with words. You need to be patient when you’re writing and you need to give yourself time and room to explore. Don’t focus on a simple topic before you even start writing your college essay. Give yourself time to look for an interesting subject that is perfect for funny college essays. Did not wait until the last minute to brainstorm ideas for the perfect subject. Give yourself time, start writing your essay far advance. You will need to prepare several drafts before you submit a final version of your assay.

Take risks

Don’t be afraid to take risks when working on your college papers. This is one of the biggest tips if you want to succeed. You need to be fine with being a little uncomfortable at the start and you need to give yourself permission to struggle at first. It is not easy to write a good essay. Writing a good essay about yourself is even more difficult. Just get started and then the process will smoothly flow.


When writing an essay, it is important to have a narrow and concise focus. Many essays have similar structure. First the author begins with a very detailed story of a description of a place or a person or an event. Once the broad image is given, the paper expands making a bigger point about the author and connects the experience to the present situation of the author, the maturity level, newfound understanding, or the state of mind.

Most of the essays describe everyday life. One thing that distinguishes them one from another is how the author approaches the subject:

  • Analyzes the need for humor and drama
  • Moving qualities
  • How it connects with the emotional life of the author
  • What it says about the world of the author


To write an excellent college essay, need to follow these:

  • An attractive first sentence. You have to attract the attention of your reader. The best place to do that is the first sentence. First sentences set up an exciting or unusual scene or situation with no clear conclusion in order to make the reader to learn more about it.
  • An individual voice. The main audience of your college application essay is the admissions officer who has read thousands of papers before yours and will read thousands more after. What is your objective? Do not bore your reader. Try to use interesting descriptions, avoid clichés, include your own observations, or anything that make your paper sound like you and not like someone else’s idea.
  • Correctness. All successful college essays have no mistakes, no syntax problems, no punctuation errors, and no grammar weirdness. If your paper contains one of the following, you’re not in luck. College advisers tell students to look over the essay several times and ask your parents, teachers, or anyone else who can spot a mistake to read your paper. Your paper is your own work, but there is nothing wrong in asking for help to make it better.

Making your essay better

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Even the best essay may not be perfect. So, what do you need to do to make your paper as best as you can?

  • Get rid of the clichéd language.
  • Don’t use handy phrases that may explain your relationship to the subject.
  • When you apply too many already-made expressions into your paper, there is a risk of hiding your own voice and changing it with something boring and expected.
  • Use another example. When explaining how one or the other situation or event influenced and impacted your life, try to include the situation from another context to show a bigger influence the event had on you.

Some of the techniques you can use when writing funny college essays include:

  • Humor. Use a little irony or sarcasm in your paper to hold the readers’ attention.
  • Invented terminology. You can try and use your own terms in the paper to guide your audience through the whole essay. The titles and terminology you invent may serve as the central metaphor of your paper.
  • Play with the syntax. Use sentences of different syntax, length, and structure. Most of the essays in the English language are grammatically correct sentences, however if you switch to colloquial, short, and differently punctuated sentences, your reader will need to sit up and really pay attention to what you are saying.

Read essays of others to find ideas for your own paper

When working on your own essay, go through the papers written by others and ask yourself these questions:

  • Why does the opening sentence work well?
  • Do personal anecdotes fit well in the essay?
  • How does the anecdote connect to a bigger insight about the author? How does the anecdote work as an example of the author’s skill, trait, or characteristic?
  • What is the essay’s tone? If it is funny, what are the places the humor comes from? If it is moving and sad, find the descriptions and imagery of feelings that make you sad. If the paper is serious, how does the choice of words add to this tone?

When you find an essay that you think is well-written, make a note of it and try to write down the things that make this essay stand out from others.

Find a compelling fact

All the essays connect with the audience through very descriptive scenes from the life of the author. It can be ordinary or dramatic. In any case it should be revealing and personal about you, your personality and the way you are entering the world.

Start far in advance

It is considered that the best writing is actually rewriting. In order to have time to really rewrite you need to start working on your application essay as early as possible. It is recommended to write the first draft at least a couple of months before your essay is due.

Once you finish working on the draft, let it sit untouched for several days. Then go back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you have written. Try to see what can be removed, what is missing, what doesn’t belong, what is not in the right place, and what doesn’t make any sense. Do not be afraid to rearrange your sections and take your paper apart. If you want to create a successful essay you need to do this a few times.

Using humor effectively in college essays

Some students may steer clear of applying humor in their papers being afraid that the committee officer may see them as unprofessional. However, if you keep within the limits, humor will be very effective in your paper. Here are some tips to follow when applying humor in your paper:

  • Do not overdo it. Good humor is concise and simple. Keep in mind that you are writing a college essay, not a comedy sketch. Not every word or sentence you use have to make your audience laugh. Avoid the random jokes or anything that is not related to your ideas or story. Remember there is a fine line between being distracting and memorable.
  • Use humor when it is necessary. Through your college paper you express yourself. Sometimes, it is critical to show your passions, strengths, and accomplishments. Add funny observations, clever descriptions, bright memories, and certain details that give depth to your personal story and ideas. Only in this case you will be able to produce a high-quality piece. Your humor should be genuine, natural, and appropriate to your story.
  • Stay true to your voice. Everyone has an interesting and unique story to tell. Even though it may be something cheesy, your college essay allows you to share this information with a stranger. Grab the opportunity to tell the story as best as you can. It doesn’t matter how serious of funny your paper is. The important thing is to keep your point of view, trust your ideas, and write from the heart.
  • Use your humor as your support. Even though you may feel pressured to stand out among other applicants, don’t rely only on a funny essay to get you into college. Follow proper writing and grammatical skills, make sure the content of the essay is relevant. If you produce a hilarious essay, it doesn’t mean that it is a concise reflection of your values, goals, and interests. When using humor in funny college essays, it only needs to enhance your story rather than disguising your personality.
  • Keep in mind your audience. Something may be funny to one person while not being funny at all to another. You can’t know the gender, age, or life story or the admission officer who will be reading your paper. Therefore, before submitting your essay, try to find at least two readers you can trust who can read through your paper to make sure any sayings, references, or smart descriptions come out the way you planned.

Making the paper about you

The college paper is the only place in your application where the admission committee can hear your own voice. Even though many applications have similar academics or activities in them, none of them is about you. Thus, it is critical to make your essay stand out.

Select the topic that is important to you

It doesn’t mean that you have to choose the topic that is really sad or emotional. Also, it doesn’t mean that your topic should be something impressive about yourself. The impressive information about yourself the admission officers can get from your academics and a resume, so don’t try to impress them in your essay. The important thing in choosing the right to topic is to brainstorm many ideas and try to find something that really brings out the best in your personality. The other thing to keep in mind is to write about the subject that doesn’t bore you.

Begin writing

Starting writing is the most difficult part for many students. The best method to overcome this is just to start writing. Simply write down everything that comes to your mind. Once you see the words on the paper more and more ideas will come into your head.

Write as much as you can about your subject. Even if you think it doesn’t make a lot of sense just write those ideas down on paper. Once you write everything you can possibly think of about your topic, it’s time to reduce the novel you produced to about 650 words. Try to select only the most appropriate information that best describes the subject.

Get rid of everything that is not relevant or sounds weird. When you have a text of 650 words you need to revise it and rewrite it again. After that read your paper out loud. If it sounds weird, fix that. If it is boring, add some funny and amusing details. Then rewrite the paper again and try to tell the story in the best possible way. Remember that your essay will be read by the people who do not really know you so you need to present yourself as best as you can.

Don’t forget to show your essay to your parents or your teacher so they could tell you if it needs perfection. You need to have a different perspective on your paper. If you get criticism, this is very good because you can make your paper better. If you show your essay to more people, it will make it stronger. Work on your essay until you’re proud of it.

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