One of the most daunting aspects of the college application process is the college essay.

Whether you have to write an open-ended personal statement, a school-specific topic or you’re answering a question from the Common Application’s essay prompts, deciding what you will write about is often the most challenging part.

In actuality, the topic you choose is probably less important than your writing execution and the insights you share. Still, choosing a topic that fits you best will make the writing flow more naturally, and ultimately, make you shine.

Here are some tips for choosing the best college essay topic.

Work in reverse

What would you want to write about if there were no limits? See if you can apply that topic to one of the Common Application writing prompts or school-specific options. The 2016−2017 essay options are pretty broad, allowing students to write about a problem, an event, an accomplishment, a time you challenged a belief, a talent or a failure you overcame. Chances are your best story may fit into one of those categories.

Try not to be cliché

It might be tempting to write about how you overcame an illness or a hardship, how volunteering at a soup kitchen impacts you or how your mom inspires you, but these topics have become hackneyed. Unless you have a really unique take, try to find a more original topic. You should also try to avoid overused phrases like “I want to dedicate my life to helping others,” or “that experience made me realize the value of hard work.”

Be authentic

Don’t choose a topic that you think the admissions officer wants to read about — choose one that is meaningful to you. Also, because you want your essay to come across as genuine, use conversational language and don’t rely too much on the thesaurus. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should resort to slang or texting acronyms, but an essay from a high-schooler shouldn’t read like a scholarly journal or corporate handbook. Be yourself!

Find the big picture in something simple

Forget about professing your lofty, big-picture goals and hopes for the future, or listing your accomplishments. Instead, tell a unique story about how something mundane, say a trip to the supermarket, unexpectedly changed your life in some way — now that’s clever and entertaining! Was there a specific experience or memory from your childhood that influenced you? Start there. If you’re stumped, try speaking with someone close to you (such as your best friend, a coach, a parent, or a teacher) who might be able to recall a story that exemplifies your best traits.

Choosing a college essay topic boils down to finding a topic you’re passionate about. Think about what makes you special and what you want the admissions officer to learn about you, and choose the topic that will best allow you to illustrate those points.