Before you can get into college, one thing that you have to do first is apply. And if you ask just about anyone who has submitted college applications before, one thing that they will tell you is that it can be a pretty tedious process; one that requires you giving your full attention. After all, in most cases, your college application is what will give schools a “first impression” of what you have to offer. Therefore, you want to make sure that it’s a good one.

Being that the essay portion of a college application is a vital part of it, we wanted to take a moment to share with you five common college essay application topics to avoid. This way, you won’t give a bad impression of yourself or worse, outright offend the individuals who will be reading them.

Don’t talk about any kind of criminal activity. If you’ve ever filled out a college application before, then you know that there is a box that clearly asks you if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony or ever committed a crime. But just because you may not have been caught, that doesn’t meant that you haven’t done something illegal before. If you’ve had alcohol before 21, that is illegal. In most states, smoking weed is illegal. And talking about the time that you shoplifted and what you learned from it or when you cheated your drug test in order to get a job? If you can relate to any of these things, our advice is to leave it all out. Technically, it’s illegal and that’s not going to impress any college.

Don’t talk about your sex life. Although sex tends to sell when it comes to advertising and media, one place where it doesn’t belong in your college application. For one reason, most colleges couldn’t care less about what goes on in your bedroom and secondly, it doesn’t really give them a good idea of who you are as a student. If you happen to volunteer at a sexual abuse or rape survivor organization, that’s one thing. But addressing sex on a more casual basis is something that you should definitely avoid.

Don’t submit your travel journals. Sure, traveling can make expand your worldview and make you a better person; there’s no doubt about that. However, one thing to keep in mind about college applications is that administrators see thousands and thousands of them and travel journal entries tend to be a pretty common topic. You want to stand out so avoid talking about how much you’ve traveled and instead, share a unique and meaningful thing that you learned while you were on one of your excursions.

Don’t throw a pity party. Say that you want to get an Adelphi’s health informatics degree and you figure that one of the best ways to get into the school is by sharing all of the unfortunate things that have happened in your life. Although sharing how you have triumphed over adversity can work in your favor, submitting an essay that seems more like a pity party will not. Colleges want to see how resilient you are; not how horrible you think your life has been.

Don’t do a lot of bragging. If you’ve done something that would be considered (by more people than just you) to be heroic, that’s one thing. But avoid writing a college essay that just seems like you’re doing a ton of bragging. Arrogance is not appealing in any setting and so it really is best to not do it on your college application. Good luck!