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Interesting College Essay Topics: Video Games & Esports Part 2

Updated: Jul 12

college essay about a video game

Welcome to part 2 of our blog series about video games and esports in the college application process. If you've already read part 1 , feel free to skip to the new material focusing on competitive multiplayer games . If you haven't read part 1 , I highly recommend reading that post first, as I tackle some foundational ideas about how a single piece of culture can affect a person's values .

I'm a nerd, let's get that out of the way. I grew up immersed sci-fi, fantasy, movies, television shows, anime, video games, board games, tabletop games, and even read certain textbooks for fun (still do, looking at you A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to The Present ). My childhood pre-dated critically and commercially acclaimed comic book movies, the ability to make a living by streaming video games online, and the widespread adoption of video games for everyday audiences (think mobile phone games, or the Nintendo Wii in the mid-2000s). To put it simply, it's a lot easier to openly embrace nerdy culture now than it was during my childhood.

The social stigma and ostracization of being a "nerd" led me to hide many of my hobbies and interests from friends and family for most of my life. Sadly, I still hear echoes of these feelings in students I work with today. It's not uncommon to hear a student say, "It's easier to just say nothing than try to explain my interests, hobbies, or passions." This breaks my heart, and for this reason I've become more open about my nerdy side and encourage students to do the same.

So what does all this have to do with the college search and application process? As an admission officer and a college counselor, I've read too many essays and applications focusing on students telling me what they think I want to hear. What they don't realize is that the thing I want to read about is an authentic, introspective, and self-aware portrait of who they are as a person. Families tend to reinforce this censorship of a students personality, often both knowingly and unknowingly. We all see the stories of the 4.0 GPA, 1550 SAT, honor society student and that's what has become the standard of success. What most families don't see, but I have, is the student with an average GPA and test score that can successfully articulate why they actually participate in extracurriculars; explain their values; describe what problems they want to solve in the world; and write a unique essay that reflects who they are as a person, not just what they've accomplished. I've read thousands of essays by this point in my relatively young career, and the handful that have stuck with me had nothing to do with the students' grades, test scores, or accomplishments.

So, over the next few blog posts, I want to write about a topic that seems to grow more common each year I work with students and families: video games. It's a tale as old as the ~1980s: a parent is concerned because their student is spending too much time playing video games and not engaging with the world. I'll be the first to concede that not all students who play video games should be writing a college essay about them, and sometimes video games are just a temporary escape from the stress of life (same as movies, television, books, and any number of other hobbies). However, I'm going to posit the idea that there are a lot of students out there who have a true passion for video games and, with a little introspection, can turn that passion into a powerful asset for their college application.

During this multi-part college essay blog series, I'm going to review a few different ways to tackle the topics of video games:

The Personal Impact of Video Games

Artistic, Emotional, or Developmental Impact of a Single Player Game

Impact of a Competitive Multiplayer Game ( You Are Here )

Impact of a Social or Cooperative Multiplayer Game

The Impact of Video Games on a Student's Professional or Academic Path

Video Games as a Catalyst for Pursuing a STEM Education

Video Games as an Interdisciplinary Collaborative

As a reader, I want you to keep in mind two more universally understood concepts into which we can distill these essays:

An introspective look into how a form of culture has shaped a student's ideas, beliefs, values, and personality.

An introspective look into how a student began a journey to help shape others through the act of creation or innovation.

Impact of a Competitive Multiplayer Game

It's a Saturday, no homework or tests, all of the chores are done, and a student is looking to have some fun with a pickup game. None of the student's friends are available, so they head to a community gathering spot and join some strangers to play on a team. It's a five-on-five match and all of these people are strangers to one another. They all know the rules of the game, but they don't know each other's strengths, weaknesses, or general temperaments. Together they need to adapt, communicate, and leverage each other's talents. The players are stressed and the air is tense, any number of mistakes could lead to arguments amongst these strangers. The competition is fierce and no individual person has enough talent to win alone, so this group of strangers has to become a unified team to claim victory.

college essay about a video game

I'm not describing a pickup game of basketball, soccer, or rugby at a local community park. I'm describing League of Legends, an incredibly popular competitive team-based strategy game that pits two teams of five strangers against each other in matches that, on average, last from 30-45 minutes. For those not familiar with League of Legends, imagine a game of chess with over 60 unique pieces from which to choose. Each player on your team can only choose and control one piece. Ultimately these two teams of five make moves at the exact same time (instead of taking turns) advancing through "lanes" and destroying the opposing team's "nexus" (base). The game is a mix of strategy based on immense game knowledge, real-time reaction speed against living opponents, and delicate social management to keep five strangers from losing their tempers or the will to win.

An essay focusing on experiences with competitive video games tends to be less reliant on the art, characters, or story and more on development of skills that can be applicable to the world outside of video games. These are essays that also tend to highlight a student's interest in esports (professional/collegiate level teams for competitive video games). Let's look at a quick example using League of Legends:

A student begins to play an online competitive game. They aren't the best at first, but with time and practice they begin to climb the official ranking system for the game. They hone their situational awareness, problem solving and critical thinking skills, and ability to adapt their plans and strategies to everchanging circumstances. Eventually, their practice has yielded significant increases in personal skill, but this isn't a game where one player can win the entire game for their team. So now the student has to develop a completely separate set of skills independent of their own performance. During the next 30-45 minutes the student will have to maintain a balancing act of demonstrating leadership, supporting their teammates, and playing peacekeeper if tensions run high amongst teammates. But here's the catch: the student needs to do all of this using only text. Ultimately, a student should be able to highlight personal growth, development of leadership and mediation skills, and explain how this growth and development has affected their life outside of video games.

college essay about a video game

The above example is very common, but students often lack the vocabulary or introspection to translate their experiences into lessons or skills that the general public would understand. One exercise to help a student feel more comfortable discussing their growth through competitive video games is to have them look at the experiences through a lens of competitive sports. High schools and colleges have no problem recognizing the benefits gained through competitive sports and terminology to highlight this kind of growth already exists and is readily available. Students can start by thinking about the common narratives surrounding benefits from sports, and then modify them to fit their personal experiences based on competitive video games. Here are some common questions or thoughts that might help a student get started on an essay focusing on competitive multiplayer gaming:

How and why did you get involved in competitive gaming? Are you a naturally competitive person who was drawn to that kind of game? Were you coerced into playing a competitive game because of a friend? Is playing an online game how you hang out with your friends? Think of the origin story for your passion about competitive video games.

How have you changed since you started playing competitive video games? Are you more confident? Have you strengthened your leadership or communication skills? Have you developed some resilience or grit through dealing with unruly teammates or losing a hard-fought match? I cannot emphasize enough the importance of describing your journey and transformation. After all, you are the star of this essay.

Are you interested in playing competitively at the collegiate level? Esports is the fastest growing college and high school sport in the world and a college that is putting esports as a strategic priority will be looking for talented and competitive students to help bolster their program. Demonstrating interest in a college's specific program might give you a slight edge in the admissions process.

What are some examples of lessons you learned through competitive gaming and how have you put them into practice outside of the game? If you have identified skills or lessons learned through these competitive video games and believe you have grown from these experiences then the next step is to show the reader how these changes have manifested in your everyday life.

Have you or your team actually competed in a local, state, regional, or national video game competition? If so, make sure to speak about this experience, what it entailed, and how you grew from it. Don't fall into the trap of spending your precious word count to tell a recount every detail about the event. Spend majority of your essay (60-80%) focusing on what you did during the event, how you utilized your newfound skills, why the event was meaningful, and where did you take your passion after the event (did you continue to participate in competitions)?

college essay about a video game

When talking with students and parents about how to utilize competitive video games in college applications, I usually ask about the student's interest in esports. It's important to realize not every student who plays a competitive video game is looking to play competitively in college (or after). The esports world is particularly competitive, and a student needs to be an exceptional player to continue competitively after the collegiate level. There will be a blog post later in the series focusing on the world of collegiate esports, but I did want to clarify for both students and parents that playing competitive video games can be an asset without a student needing to be involved in a collegiate esports program.

I hope that after reading this students feel a little more empowered to be vocal about their passions, and families feel a little more comfortable with the prospect of their student writing about the impact a competitive video game might have had on them. In part 3, we'll take a look at how a student can take their experience from social or cooperative multiplayer games and turn it into an interesting essay topic.

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on this blog post series and receive free monthly newsletters about higher education and college admissions news and advice. As always, if you have questions or a topic you'd like to hear more about, please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly.

college essay about a video game

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college essay about a video game

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Essay Intensive

don't write your college essay about video games

Before you write your college essay on video games

May 22, 2019 by Sara Nolan 2 Comments

Every year, I see a whole bunch of well-meaning students who want to write their college application essays about playing video games, their talent, bliss, hard-earned improvement over time, frustrations when they just can’t beat XYZ and– PSA , please rethink this college essay topic choice, friends.

Maybe the topic feels oh-so-right to you, and you’re perplexed why I (who am all about student choice) am handing the essay back to you to revise.

Yes, you can sometimes “lose all track of time” playing your favorite video games. And isn’t that exactly what Common App Prompt #6 is asking about?

Sure, the Common App want to know about your total absorption, such that the rest of life falls away ( who cares if it’s garbage pickup day?) , and all that matters is your passion. Right?

That is– until you’re stumped, stuck at Level 3 (Common App #6 asks, “Why does it captivate you? “ Because I need to get to level four, hello?) , and throw your controller at the wall. Maybe you call your cousin for help, the one who regularly locks himself in his room for three days straight with a jumbo size Mountain Dew – You-Ever-Even-Drink-Water (Common App #6 asks, “What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?”).

There has got to be more to your life and soul than this.

But shouldn’t you write your essay about what you love most? (Well, maybe!)

AND GAMING MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE, you’ll argue! Yes, these video games are the most exciting thing to you since sliced bread (because, hey, when bread is already sliced, you can blindly pull two pieces out of the bag and put them right in your mouth!).

But it’s not a great idea to subject admissions readers to your level-upping problems and prowess. Maybe they’ll worry you’ll spend all your time at their school gaming too– versus, say, focusing on academics. Or maybe they will feel judgment about a student habit that doesn’t add a whole lot to the world.

I’m riffing here, and it has nothing to do with being for or against video games, generally. My job as college essay writing coach is to guide you toward the best topic for admissions purposes, and I say– your obsession with video games is unlikely to be a good topic.

I have had many bright, accomplished students with big goals– who devote hours weekly to their favorite video games, among other things they love. Most of us have some distraction we turn to for enjoyment or stress relief. It’s also exactly that– distraction, relief.

Reasons not to write about video games:

  • Rarely is there a good story in there (despite lots of action verbs). Your excellence at the game is likely only interesting to you (and fellow similarly obsessed folks: chat with them instead?). Any storyline belongs more to the games’ narrative than your life experience.
  • We rarely will learn enough about you as a person (vs as a player). The topic (prompt) is supposed to be an excuse to learn about you, a meaningful story, character trait, or value.
  • Honestly, the “obstacle” of beating a level or not is not that relevant, no matter how challenging. It’s virtual, just a game. You could be doing other stuff. Onward.
  • The writing is almost always predictable and cliched. Yes, of course you want to beat the game. Is that not why you play so much?

But when could you write about video games, if you were really, really sure this was the topic burning a hole in your heart?

If you can come up with a unique angle. Video games need to be merely a lens through which we learn about something else key to what makes you you, or vehicle to talk about something else you have lived through, or done.

Some Ways to Turn Your Obsession with Video Games into a better topic:

Hypothetical examples abound, friends:

  • You used a video gaming habit to help you overcome social anxiety–and it worked.
  • You came to an insight about something important you could do or create in real life from gaming–and you did it.
  • You developed important relationships through gaming you would never have found otherwise, ones that had relevance beyond the time you spent online.
  • You developed new video games yourself, and had real-world business experience.
  • You had a high stakes bet for a life-saving deal that was contingent on your beating a game–and you did.
  • You turned around an intense gaming habit and turned it into a new habit that added to your family or community.

All these possible topics give you something substantial to talk about from your real life. But these tweaks mean you are no longer answering Common App prompt #6.

AND I have never read a video game essay that worked well enough to keep (so I challenge you! Change my view!).

Still, descriptions of you playing the actual video games should be minimal. One sentence, maybe two.

So I advise: use your love of games as some needed down time from essay-writing (in doses, please!) but not as your topic. And if you’re the kind of person who does get so obsessed with games you “lose all track of time”– set a timer. Here’s one, the famed focus-enhancing pomodoro timer .

Help, I can’t tweak my topic on my own!

Need help figuring out if you can work your video game passion into a topic that tells us about you? Contact us for fast feedback! But be prepared for hard news. 🙂

We want to know what makes you you . Loving video games soooo much makes you like a whole bunch of other people– but doesn’t tell us a lot worth remembering.

And what your admissions reader wants is to read something memorable.

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Reader Interactions

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October 13, 2019 at 11:47 pm

Thank you for giving us – college applicants – advice by writing this article! Any information we can receive at this point is extremely crucial. I came across this article of yours when I was looking up college essays that talk about video games. You made some very good points throughout: I understood and agreed with most of them. However, I found it pretty intriguing how you said you haven’t read any gaming-essays that actually worked. (And it was really cute when you asked us to challenge your viewpoint!) Anyways, I am still planning on writing my essay on video games, only from a perspective different from the ones you talked about. Although I am a typical 5.0GPA/1600SAT student with multiple national championships, I spend A LOT of time playing video games… Especially MOBA and Battle Royale. There are so many things I gained from my gaming experience: meeting players from all over the world, developing in-depth relationships with them, establishing and leading groups/clans, help “noobs” learn, and etc. My favorite part about gaming is the strategic aspect: there are so many factors involved! The abilities of the in-game heroes you choose, teamwork, geographical factors, your opponents’ mentality/psychology, when to retreat and when to attack… Players need to put all of these things into consideration when coming up with an in-game strategy… Isn’t that pretty awesome? I wrote a ton of blogs with strategic plans of my own design (I uploaded the majority of them on WeChat, a Chinese social media app, which also gives me international experience!) some of them even got millions of reads, which I still can’t believe… Anyways, I am definitely not commenting JUST to tell you that I am confident in proving you wrong… I don’t think a lot of the other gamers had the same experience as me. However, I thought that it would be cool to share my perspective with you!

Sorry for this huge comment! Cheers! Samantha

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October 14, 2019 at 6:46 am

I emailed you but of course I want to see this essay and I am sure my readers do too! Please share. 🙂

With heart SARA

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College Essay About Video Games

The importance of video games.

In today’s society video games have a large influence on people. We also might be driven to the point of where we are dependent on them. In fact, being so engulfed in video games could help children become more focused.In fact, parents would probably disagree and say that video games wouldn’t be essential to learning because it would probably be considered a waste of time for children and time-consuming. Parents would also disagree with the content of what is in the game, but there is a great possibility that video games could actually make us smarter. Steven Johnson explains that the games we are used to playing can improve our visual intelligence and that it would be good to learn new strategies through gaming. Video games should be an

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

There is much knowledge within video games today. Being able to do things in a video game that some people can’t do in real life is important and I like that about video games. Some people may want to be a doctor, a NBA player, and a race car driver all at the same time and can do that with video games. Gaming can be based on real life situations and some can be based on fantasy situations which can let yourself have an

History of Video Games

Video games are a fast growing form of technology. This issue has to be discussed because of the two confronting sides that embark it. Because of the issue video games have to either continue growing as they are or they have to be stopped completely or a settlement between the two parties has to be

Essay Video Games Speech Outline

* Visualization – Video games are a great way to pass time, connect with others who enjoy similar games as you, and meet new friends through networking and similarities.

Videogames Don't Have a Negative Effect on Kids Essay example

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James Paul Gee, a professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, dove into the world of videogames to see

U.s. Public Education System

The U.S. public education system has been subject for debate for many years now, budget cuts, overcrowding and lack of innovation have severely impacted the effectiveness of our schools. As a result, according to a report by Education Week, “In mathematics, 29 nations and other jurisdictions outperformed the United States by a statistically significant margin, up from 23 three years ago” (Heitin). Coupled with our 19th and 22nd ranking of literacy and science respectively, because of this, we can conclude a reform is necessary if we want to remain prevalent in tomorrow 's economy (Heitin). To get to the root of the problem and secure economic prosperity for our children, we need to reconcile the relationship between schools and students. Some of the reasons students dislike school is because it revolves around the prospect of failure, not gaining knowledge or solving problems. Therefore, this method is not very effective as it does not encourage curiosity and relies on extrinsic motivation. Many educators have played around with the idea of using video games in the classroom, kids love to play these simulations where one must learn the game and fail, in order to succeed. Even though they are usually viewed as an expensive entertainment medium, recent technological advancements in hardware capabilities have resulted in better and more immersive gameplay while lowering the cost of each unit may help bring video games into the classroom. Video games can be used as a medium to

Persuasive Speech On Video Games

The gaming industry has attracted over a billion customers and has made around hundreds of billions dollars so far. So therefore i am going to persuade you that video games are incredibly beneficial. Some of the most valuable and necessary skills, video games give us include: Social advantages, Mental Advantages and Skills that will secure jobs. I am doing this because i am sick and tired of the common stereotype that gamers and lazy, stupid, unemployed and a particular age. I am here to give the drastic advantages and put a rest to this urban myth.

Persuasive Essay About Video Games

In life, you learn that certain things just don’t mix: Diet Coke and Mentos, cereal and water, drugs and good grades, and picnic tables and dancing, just to name a few. That last example might seem a little bizarre to you, but to me it hits very close to home. Throughout my childhood, we had this picnic table that sat on our back patio. We would have tea parties on it or use it as a place to color or do homework. Sounds pretty fun, right? Sure, as long as you were using it the way it was intended to be used. Throw in my sister and her aspiring dreams to be a dancer, and suddenly our story gets a little messy. So grab a snack, sit back, and listen to the story of how my sister drove me to start taking drugs.

Assassin's Creed Historically Accurate

Video games can be very helpful in school. Although they have a reputation for being “brainwashing” and distracting, they actually teach the players more than you think. Contrary to popular belief, video games are educational and should be included in schools and other forms of education.

Benefits of Playing Video Games Essay

Video games can improve visual skills and brain function. Video games increase spatial awareness. When playing different video games eyes are focused on a video game a person are more likely to gain different eye strengths after training the brain. Action video games train the brain to better process certain visual information. When people play action video games, they’re changing the brain’s pathway responsible for visual processing (Masnick 1). Video games change brain functions. Researchers today are reporting that first-person-shooter

Central idea: Video games are beneficial for students in the classroom and home. Using video games in schools or higher institutions can help build teamwork, foster decisions, critical and strategic skills useful in schools, work and life.

Video Games And Its Effects On Education Essay

Current education systems are failing to give learning material to students in a way that they understand. Most students don’t care about their education because they think it’s boring and unnecessary. Students feel if the homework or lesson is too hard they won’t give it their best work. We should use video games as a new source of teaching. Students can benefit from video games because it’s a fun interactive way of learning, improves a student 's thinking ability, and increases participation.

Essay Video Games in Education

Since the Early 70’s video games have been giving a bad name. Parents state that video games rot the minds of children and are influencing them do be violent. These accusations are far from the truth. In my research I found that there are many positive effects of gaming. Some of these effects are increased skills, creativity, general knowledge, and also help those in need. Parents can also take proper precautions and look into a game before buying it to see if it meets the criteria discussed in this paper.

Essay on The Educational Benefits of Video Games

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Video games can be used as instructional tools as well. They have positive elements and add value; they create a micro world of their own. The players act based on natural tendencies towards learning. Therefore, learning occurs while playing (Rosas et al., 2003).

A Research Proposal of the Effects of Online Gaming

Over the past two decades, electronic games have become ingrained in our culture. Children’s fixation with these games initially alarmed parents and educators, but educational researchers soon questioned whether the motivation to play could be tapped and harnessed for educational purposes. However, although many claim that educational potential lies within video games, they still have not been universally been regarded as a quality learning tool.

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Nowadays video game industry is considered to be a mainstream rather like movie or music industry. While the epic blockbusters such as Call of Duty series contribute to the developers within direct sales of game copies and franchising, free competitive online games attract more and more players. The evolution of electronic sports in the last decade has altered the industry. The online tournaments have become massive global events. We will consider the contribution of competitive game industry to economy in terms of one of the most popular multiplayer online games Dota 2.


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Interpretation: gender roles and setting negative example for children - Sex in video games leads to the erosion of culture

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"Video games have cultivated my creative thought pr..."

UC San Diego

2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.

0 - 350 words

Video games have cultivated my creative thought process. When I was a toddler I invented a game I would play with my brothers. It was nothing along the lines of Hide-and-Seek or Tag, but rather, it was meant to mimic a role-playing video game. It was called "Guy" and came with its own story, leveling system, and narrative story. While seemingly impossible to translate the mechanics of a video game into real life, the "Guy" trilogy provided hundreds of hours of fun to pass hot summer days and escape the harsh reality of our parents arguing and eventual divorce.

This thought process translated into my educational career. have always thought of a tough class or test as a video game. This mostly due to my excessive amounts of video games I played as a child through middle school (especially 7th grade). Each year comes bigger and "stronger" challenges, bigger and stronger bosses to defeat. My senior year will have me face the most powerful boss yet; full AP course load on top of heavy club involvement and community college classes.

Many thought of this "secret boss" as an impossible challenge; something that could never be beaten. No one from my school has ever attempted to take on such a challenge, let alone defeat it. That is probably what excites me about it. In a game, messing around with lower level enemies is fun for a while, but gets boring when it is too easy. The thought of a challenge so great and difficult makes the victory even more rewarding. Stormy skies, heavy rain, and epic boss battle music; I'll take that over a peaceful village any day. In the future, I seek to use this thinking to drive research. I think of abstract physics concepts like secret door and levels that need to be proven true or just a myth in the game. One day, I can make my own discovery of a secret "cheat code' that can help everyone who plays a little game called life.

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college essay about a video game

12 Tips For Writing A College Essay On Video Games

Almost any young person nowadays played or is playing video games. They became so popular that you could find children not older than a few years old that know what buttons to press. This is not seen as good thing by most of the people, but there does not seem to be a big, positive change. An essay on this topic will allow you to show a different perspective to your classmates and to gain valuable information.

  • Do not use too many names or terms. We know that you are good at this and that you know all the characters of a game, but not all your classmates do and certainly not your teacher. Don’t be too explicit in your composition.
  • Keep the details to yourself. Many of these games are more complex than many adults seem to think. However, for somebody who does not have experience with this, it can be tricky to understand the entire concept. Be explicit, but short.
  • Don’t make it personal. It’s ok to talk a little bit about your experience with this kind of games, but do not write your opinion on one entire page.
  • Collect information from your friends. Since many of them like this type of gaming, you can discuss with them the most important aspects that you will introduce in your paper.
  • Stay away from “us vs. Them”. Do not make this as a conflict between teenagers and adults who don’t understand these games. The purpose of your essay is to be informative, not to offend.
  • Be realistic when you write. Even if you don’t like the facts, there will be times when you have to admit that games are not suitable for anyone, and certainly not for any time.
  • Present some of the advantages. Even if adults see them as damaging, many of them can bring benefits when they are not used in excess.
  • Use statistics. Every time you want to prove a point, you will seem more reliable if you use official statistics and charts.
  • Analyze this from different perspectives. Is this helpful or not for teenagers that deal with anxiety or depression.
  • Mass-media and the influence over the video games world. Players usually have a particular image that was built by mass media.
  • The economic power of companies. Some of the biggest companies in the world are producing and selling video games.
  • Educational games. Discuss the idea of educational video games, that are much more suitable for young teenagers and children.

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College Essays involving Videogames?

<p>Hello everyone, I've just started writing a draft for the common app essay for prompt #4 which reads "Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?” So I'm a fan of video games and I talked about how i play them in this secluded part of my house and how they allow me to escape from reality and explore the new worlds in the games. In the end I tie it into how the diverse opportunities colleges will allow me to enjoy similar simulations and grow to be a better person. Overall, i think i wrote my draft really well. Also aren't college essays supposed to be really personal and informal (I included humor in mine) ? What i hope to figure out from you all is what the average admissions officer will think. Would they see me as a slacker in school or something, even though I'm not? I'm actually a really hard worker(In the top 1 percent out of 400 kids in my class), but what if they don't see that? Videogames are just really fun for me and I am just wondering if its too risky or not to go along with this as my essay focus. So what do you all think? Any comments, advice, anything. Thanks in advance</p>

<p>For any prompt, they still want to learn what makes you compelling for their school, how you will fit, what you bring to the campus community. Choosing to tell them, in your app, that you like hiding somewhere, escaping reality, playing videos…do you think that’s what they have in mind for a solid college experience? What you choose to say also reflects your judgment.</p>

<p>No, it’s not meant to be “really personal,” if that sends up flags. Try to make the essay relevant to a college admit review, let it show the sort of personal attributes they seek. “Show, not tell.” </p>

<p>Thank you for the comment @lookingforward . I see what you say so do you have any suggestions as to how I can edit my essay sort of steering towards a new focus? </p>

<p>If you still really want to use that topic, then try to point more toward collaborative team-work based video games instead of single player ones.</p>

<p>Lots of posters will tell you to be yourself. But you’re 16 or 17, doing college apps for the first time, hoping to make that leap. It’s not a hs essay, where a teacher might be delighted by certain sorts of self-revelation, as an exercise. I wouldn’t encourage any kid to admit to wanting to escape reality. Truth is, we all have ways we do that, but it isn’t something to bring up on an app, unless some “greater good” came from it. (That usually means, some impact you had on someone or something else.) What tier of colleges?</p>

<p>Writing an essay about video games has the potential to be different, something an admissions officer sick of the same mundane topics loves. What really matters is your execution. You mentioned it has humour. Is the humour actually humorous or just meh?</p>

<p>I don’t fully agree with you @lookingforward . Talking about video games will be a very unique essay. I would say try to find a more unique angle. Saying that they allow yo to escape reality is very cliche. Find something about those videogames to focus on and really illustrate your essay. Like @lookingforward said, “Show, don’t tell.” Even better, try to really show your perspective on something through videogaming (if that makes sense.) When people say your essays should be personal, what they mean is that they should give the reader an insight to an aspect of your life. It should show how you think, or who you are, etc.</p>

<p>I do not think an admissions officer is going to like this topic. They are looking for students to be engaged and active on campus. A student who writes about a video game like this is likely to… sit in his room and game all the time. They want students who engage in their communities. I think you need to scrap this idea and look for something else. </p>


<p>Everything depends on how you write it. I’ve read friends’ essays that took very unique angles and ergo were very interesting to read. I’ve also read a few that didn’t grab my attention at all and were simply boring. Using video games as a topic can be great, but it can also be bad. It all depends on what you highlight/mention and in general, how you write it. @somethingwithin is right. Admissions officers really can see through false passion in an essay. Doesn’t matter how well you think you wrote it, there is a good chance they’ll notice. My biggest recommendation is to have parents/teachers read over your drafts. Ask them to focus on things you can clarify, on whether or not it sounds genuine</p>

<p>I once read an essay that compared his life to a chess match in which he described parts then would relate it by saying “Bishop takes rook at…” It was very clever. The way you tell your story is how you leave an impact.</p>

<p>That sounds like a really cool essay! I once went to a UChicago talk, and the dean of admissions metioned one essay that he liked in particular. The student basically talked about how if she were forced into cannibalization at her school, she would eat the most interesting students (she had some really unique reason for it which I for some reason can’t remember at the moment), and that’s why she would want to go to uChicago - becaue the school is very diverse. I think the reason may have been along the lines of gaining knowledge that way or something… Anywys, don’t quote me on it :P</p>

<p>The dean basically said that he loves that essay so much because it was unique, well-written, gave an insight as to what is important to her, etc. He also mentioned not to force humor into an essay, as it will most likely not be very funny. The essay hould be very natural and you.</p>

<p>You guys are missing the point of the essay. Being readable and clever is no good if it portrays you in a light that isn’t what the college wants more of. The U of C essay is completely different (and creative) in a way that I don’t think the OP’s essay could be. A good essay is revealing of yourself and leads the college to want to add you to their campus. I can’t see how writing about a made-up environment that someone else made up (!) that colleges hope students won’t spend all their time in is a winning formula. Look elsewhere.</p>

<p>I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I completely agree that the OP should be careful in how he or she writes the essay (to portray him or her in a positive light.) That being said, the concept of video games shouldn’t be thrown out automatically. I feel like there is a stigma associated with video games that says all you do is sit in front of a TV and play games. Although I personally don’t see any productive value in video games (I actually despise of them,) that doesn’t mean that someone else doesn’t. It’s difficult to critique an essay being provided basically just the concept. </p>

<p>" I can’t see how writing about a made-up environment that someone else made up (!) that colleges hope students won’t spend all their time in is a winning formula." ^don’t know how to quote anything :P</p>

<p>The essay was in no way a winning formula. It was memorable due to its oddity (basically acted as a hook.) It showed interest to be a part of a diverse student population that the university is very fond of. For these reasons, the dean liked it. In addition to the rest of the student’s application, it showed high interest in the school which is something they consider.</p>

<p>Wow… you are still missing the point. The OP may see value in it, but odds are very good an admissions counselor won’t. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.</p>

<p>And the point of my comment about the made up environment is about what the OP wants to write about (video game environment), not an example you posted. I see why the dean liked the cannibal essay (but they are U of Chicago, creativity is highly rewarded in the essays there).</p>

<p>@intparent is correct. Your audience isn’t necessarily going to be so sympathetic and familiar with the video gaming environments and experiences that are so prevalent among teens today. For all you know, one of your readers could be someone who thinks that video games are a lead cause of teenage violence and/or for the antisocial. You want to be creative, but not so out there or radical that you run the risk of offending or going against the preconceptions that an AO may have, even in this day and age. The video game concept could work for a younger reader; for an older reader quite unfamiliar with video games… not necessarily.</p>

<p>I enjoy occasional video games (and just finished reading “Ready Player One” if anyone is interested in a good fiction read set mostly in a video game world!). But that does not make it appropriate fodder for a Common App essay.</p>

<p>You still don’t see what I’m trying to say. If the OP writes a typical essay about video games, then chances are it won’t do much good. In no way am I saying that the admissions officer has to see value in video games. I can see a perfectly fine essay being written with the use of a video game as a metaphor. You have to know your audience - yes. That’s why you alter the angle you take in the essay. You don’t talk about juts playing the game, but something greater. Just because most essays about video games won’t be great, doesn’t mean all of them will be. </p>

<p>Nope. You don’t understand the purpose of the college essay. It isn’t to show how clever you are, or how well you can draw a methaphor (although I do not believe the OP was really considering the metaphor angle). You somehow think a well turned phrase is what it is all about. It is the essence of the essay that reveals YOU that matters. This is almost inherently impossible in an essay about video games, AND leaves the admissions officer with the impression that you spend your spare time on a time-wasting activity that doesn’t involve real life interaction with other people. Terrible topic!</p>


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Best Personal Essay Examples

Personal statement essay on video games.

745 words | 3 page(s)

I am a person who is most happy in a huge variety of worlds. These are worlds are often dangerous, contain deadly creatures, and are ones n which I must conduct baffling feats of mental ingenuity and physical dexterity in order to survive. Should I survive them then I can never be guaranteed to be afforded any definite degree of success or personal security. Nonetheless, these are worlds to which I return again and again, usually on a daily basis in order to conduct death defying and occasionally fatal missions and adventures. Although I have experienced many happy times in other surroundings; in my childhood home and in the parks where I’ve played for years, none of this can complete with the thrill and the sense of happiness which I experience in the worlds which I am talking of here. They are constantly varied, the travel there is cheap and I can be assured of a new one at least every two or three months. Nonetheless, they all present me with a basic sense of fun, contentment, and occasionally companionship which I seek and need in my life. I’m speaking here, of course, about the world and environment of video games. This is a world in which I can honestly say that I feel most happy and satisfied.

For me, an idea of contentment cannot be separated from an idea of both adventure and of diversity. I am most happy when I am able to explore new things, new worlds and new ideas. I love to do this with both old and new friends and I seek to do such exploration in ways which are sometimes familiar and sometimes entirely new. This idea of a diverse and exciting contentment is something which I fell that I have possessed throughout my life and it is something which I feel I can find and bring to the world of video-gaming as I experience it.

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To understand the contentment that playing video games brings to me, it is necessary only to think of their diversity. I play a range of games when I can, and constantly interact with new worlds and test my mental abilities in each of them. I am also able to meet and interact with people around the world in a way which is free from the pressures of social life. In what may seem like a bizarre way, the opportunity of playing video games in a way which allows me and others with whom I would otherwise have no contact, to take on avatars and to move around worlds where we belong completely, is an opportunity to fully and completely be myself. That I know that the vast majority of the people whom I encounter in the gaming world feel the same creates a sense of a shared experience of security and comfort. It is from this base that we game and play together in the perfect combination of adventure and security.

Video-gaming is not the central aspect of my life, and I do not spend all of my free time doing it. It is, however, the activity in which I feel most at home. My favourite games are intellectual and imaginary shelters for me and allow me to escape from the difficulties of the world into a place where I can communicate and act in a way which is otherwise entirely impossible. Like other worlds, of the course, the worlds of games have rules, but they are rules which are tailored to suit me and those with whom I play. To play a video game, in the sense that I often experience them is to to exist in a world in which the rules were designed explicitly for my own enjoyment, and in which they serve to actively facilitate what I do and how I do it.

I believe that I am a deeply creative and adventurous person, and to move through a well constructed gaming world is to move through a world in which all amount of possible care has been taken in order to make each detail careful and beautiful. I believe that the very best games are works of art, and the experience of living and moving in such a work, of feeling both safe and thrilled, and of knowing that millions of people around the world are sharing this experience with me is the closest to a feeling of happiness and contentment that I am able to conceive of.

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