Failures are just as important as successes. One way for a student to come up with a great college essay topic is to think of a time when they failed big. Telling that story out loud can bring up emotions that will be crucial to crafting a genuine essay.
"Think about a time where you failed big at something, and then tell that story out loud while you record it on your phone.
This will help your editing brain stay out of the way while you create a great story. [...] As you listen to it, just transcribe it—again without editing—and then reread it and see what you’ve got."