There is a real disconnect between what Admission Committee Representatives in the Info Sessions say they are looking for and these essay topics. College Reps say they would like to know something interesting about you that isn’t revealed in your application. Your essay is supposed to add “texture” to your application. These new essay topics will produce really boring essays, with many students beating their own chests or writing sad tales about a death in the family or another type of loss. Bring back the topic of choice!
In any case, writing about things to compare and contrast is an activity which requires your full attention and creativity. But when you have to compare things objectively, you should operate facts. Just like an argumentative essay, your text will need corresponding evidence. Search for the primary and secondary sources on the given topics before you start your first draft. Make sure these sources are no older than 5 years. They should be as relevant as possible. Don't forget to apply only credible sources to reveal your topics. Those are: