If you’re finishing up your college application essay and it has to do with a mission trip you were part of, I’m going to ask you not to submit it. At least not yet.
Some of the most common complaints against the Mission Trip essay is that it is cliché and therefore admissions officers are really tired of reading it because all the mission trip essays sound the same. To be clear: both these things are true. But I really don’t like that as a reason to avoid the Mission Trip essay. It reinforces the idea that your job is to write something the admissions officers will like, so they’ll like you and admit you—if you know they don’t like that essay topic, then you shouldn’t write about.
But your job isn’t to be a product that you’re “selling” to the colleges, and you shouldn’t change what you write about based on the idea that your meaningful experience isn’t valuable because colleges are tired of hearing about it.