How Can I Make a Thesis Out of Why I Came to College?

by Andrew Aarons, Demand Media

You can write a thesis about almost anything -- but that doesn’t mean you should. The trickiest theses are the ones written in the first-person, since they run the risk of being too personal. That’s true of academic essays even if they’re about why you went into academia. However, if you want to write a thesis about why you entered college, you can make it one that you’re proud to submit -- and that your teacher is happy to read.

Be Personal -- But Not Too Personal

Academia is so full of dry and stilted research papers that well-crafted first-person theses can be a welcome change of pace. Sharing a personal experience is a great way to break away from the pack of boring essays. Only you have completely unfettered access to the subject of a personal essay -- yourself. At the same time, it’s important not to be too personal in a thesis. There’s a fine line between personal and overly personal, according to the John Cabot University Admissions Office website. For instance, if you came to college to be the first person in your family to get a higher education, then by all means, describe that. However, there’s no benefit to sharing intimate details of your family life unless they’re clearly relevant.

Make the Thesis Larger than Yourself

The best personal theses talk about more than the person who’s writing them. They discuss issues to which other people can relate. This is always an important rule of thumb to follow when you’re writing an essay, but it’s especially true in academia. As a member of academia, your job is to contribute a valuable piece of insight to scholarship, which does not mean submitting a personal journal -- even if the journal is about why you became a member of academia in the first place.

Relate the Thesis to an Issue

Your thesis shouldn’t only relate to something beyond yourself -- it should relate to a problem beyond yourself. Every thesis deals with an issue of some sort. In the case of why you went to college, perhaps the problem at hand relates to economic, social or racial hardship, or perhaps it’s geographical in nature. Whatever the problem is, make sure to dedicate your thesis to the discussion -- and possibly to the resolution -- of it. Be specific and use focused language instead of vague language like "bad, good, terrible," states the Montana State University at Billings Writing Lab. A problem, not an author, lies at the core of every thesis.

Relate the Thesis to Your Program of Study

Most importantly, make sure your thesis is obviously relevant to your course of study, even if it is about why you came to college. If you major in anthropology, make sure your reasons for coming to college have anthropological relevance; if you major in sociology, make sure they have sociological relevance. Before you start writing the thesis, see if you can clearly frame your topic within the terms of the discipline that you study.

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About the Author

Living in Canada, Andrew Aarons has been writing professionally since 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ottawa, where he served as a writer and editor for the university newspaper. Aarons is also a certified computer-support technician.