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Popular College Application Essay Topics (and How to Answer Them)

Tackling the Common App Essay Prompts

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Mastering the 2017-2018 Common App Essay

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2018-19 Common App Essays
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It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.

Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. Question 4 was actually introduced to the Common App in , and it was in response to a desire from member institutions to see a prompt that encouraged students to more effectively display their analytical ability and intellectual curiosity.

Students with an entrepreneurial or creative spirit may be especially well-suited to tackle this question. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Rather than feeling forced to identifying a singular and momentous occasion that in reality rather few high schoolers have experienced, students can now think more broadly about their evolution and development over time. Writing about personal growth can be a tremendous way to show colleges your thoughtful and reflective side. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you?

What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Introducing our favorite new prompt of As you might imagine, if a student can write passionately about a topic or idea that excites them, chances are good that admissions officers will be able to share in their enthusiasm, too.

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. This is your chance to let colleges know who you are beyond grades and test scores. In just words, what do you want colleges to know about you? An essay devoid of your own personal insights and character will not score you any points with the admissions committee. What truly matters is the story you want to tell about yourself. It was so complex and interesting, and made me think in ways I never did before.

I went home and read as much as I could on the Internet and checked out books from the library to learn as much as I could…. Quantum physics is fascinating, but why did it hook YOU? Shift into what you learned from that pursuit to dig deeper into your intellectual curiosity. This new Common Application prompt 6 reminds me of the old Common App prompt: It was ditched by The Common Application folks last year, purportedly because it failed to inspire strong personal statements.

Word on the street among admissions counselors and college application essay wonks like myself and based on what I saw with my students was that it prompted dull and often sappy essays.

When students wrote about their blissful places, the essays were often terrible because they were boring. I love the library, or I love visiting my grandparents or I love hiking in the woods. What makes essays interesting are stories. Something has to happen. And for something to happen, something has to go sideways—a problem. If you knocked over a shelf of books onto the head librarian, or your grandparents home flooded during a hurricane or you came face-to-face with a mama bear on your hike, then your essay could be interesting.

Because we suddenly feel for you and want to know how you handled the problem and what happened. This is why real-life stories are so powerful and the best college admissions essays include them. It asks students to write about something they love. It will be up to counselors, teachers and parents to help students push themselves with this essay prompt to make sure something happens, that it includes not only reflection and thinking but an experience or moment.

These are often the same students those who are interested in chemistry, gaming, engineering, technology, physics, computer science, etc. There are many ways to approach your essay, so use this if it makes sense and feel free to take it in any direction you want. Your email address will not be published. As a professional writing coach, I help students, parents, counselors, teachers and others from around the world on these dreaded essays!

Learn about my in-person and online tutoring, editing, workshops, books, and online courses, My on-demand, fast-and-easy online e-course: Common Application Prompt 6: The Common Application added two new prompts for The New Common Application Prompt 6 6. No story and no problem. Dullsville, Quantum physics is fascinating, but why did it hook YOU? Share both the good and the bad about what you learned.

Nothing is black and white. Did learning about this topic, concept or idea lead you to other ideas or passions in your life? Looking back at your exploration of this topic, concept or idea, what did you learn about what YOU value most in your life? Are you still learning about this topic, idea or concept?

Is so, why is that good, too? For college admission counselors, English teachers, parents and educational counselors who have worked with the Common Application prompts in the past: I believe this new Common Application prompt 6 has the same potential pitfalls.

Once you have a little story, you are on your way to an excellent essay. Try to include some type of problem an obstacle, challenge, mistake, setback, etc. Now provide some background or context for that moment, incident or experience and explain more about your topic, idea or concept. Include your main point:


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We are pleased to share the Common Application essay prompts with you. The changes you see below reflect the feedback of Common App member colleges and more than 5, other Common App constituents, as well as consultation with our advisory committees and Board of Directors.

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The Common Application has announced that the personal statement essay prompts will be the same as the prompts. By conducting a review process every other year, rather than annually, we can hear from admissions officers, as well as students, parents, and counselors, about the effectiveness of the essay prompts.

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The Common App undergoes some changes every year, and the essay prompts have recently been announced. In the past, the Common App released its essay prompts in August, which gave aspiring graduates only . In the Common App added two new prompts to the pile, one of which was a return to the much-beloved “topic of your choice.” (Cue the confetti!) So college applicants, like those who came before them in , will have seven (that’s right, seven) essay prompts to choose from.

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Everything you need to know about the Common Application Essay prompts from our college essay experts. What changed this year & why does it matter? Be on the lookout for our comprehensive Guide to the Common App Essay Prompts, which will be released as soon as we can get our little elves to write it for us (luckily . Wondering about the new essay prompts for the Common Application? Our Common App expert, Elyse Krantz, has you covered! Read on. Mastering the Common App Essay. Fewer than 4% of applicants elected to write about this prompt in Is that because high school students are rarely presented with .