Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in. Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all fair game if you can tie it back to who you are or what you believe in.
Prompt 2: Learning from obstacles. You're trying to show colleges your best self, so it might seem counterintuitive to willingly acknowledge a time you struggled. But overcoming challenges demonstrates courage, grit, and perseverance!
The obstacle you write about can be large or small, but you must show the admissions committee how your perspective changed as a result. Prompt 3: Challenging a belief. Your answer to this question could focus on a time you stood up to others or an experience when your own preconceived view was challenged.
Choose this prompt if you have a relevant—and specific! Prompt 4: Solving a problem. You will have enough space if you write on every line, avoid wide margins, and keep your handwriting to a reasonable size.
Remember that people who are not familiar with your handwriting will read what you write. Try to write or print so that what you are writing is legible to those readers. We love Prompt 4, which asks students to talk about a problem and how they have solved or are planning to solve it. Students should think about everything from more traditional obstacles they have had to overcome to the small predicaments that have inspired them to think about what they really value.
Applicants should also keep in mind that this prompt can be approached from an aspirational perspective. Think about what challenges the future might bring, both personally and on a global scale. How might you be part of meaningful progress and problem-solving moving forward? Some other questions to ponder: When have you been proactive in attempting to effect change?
What inspires you to take action? What kind of mark would you like to leave on the world? How do you think you can positively contribute to a cause that is important to you? If you had the power to make a lasting impact in any area at all, what would it be? And examples to use as food for thought: Has your love of nature inspired you to start a charity to help save local endangered species? Did your desire to make a stronger, non-tearable hockey skate lace launch you on an entrepreneurial adventure you never fully anticipated?
Has your commitment to pursuing medical research inspired you to contact your favorite professors and researchers for summer lab positions, and to read every scientific paper you can get your hands on?
It is important that the problem you choose is linked to your life and world in a meaningful way. The whole purpose of this exercise is to reveal something valuable about yourself to admissions, so be sure to link the problem you highlight to your passions, actions, or aspirations. Thank you very much. There are a few things to note when unpacking this prompt.
A formal event or accomplishment might include anything from obvious landmarks like birthdays or weddings to achievements like earning an award or receiving a promotion. More informal examples might include something as simple as meeting a special person in your life, taking a car ride, or eating a particularly meaningful meal. We have often found that smaller, less formal events make for more surprising and memorable essays; but as with any of the other prompts, as long as you can answer with originality and put a unique twist on your subject matter, all ideas are fair game.
Some other things to consider: How do you react to periods of transition? What inspires a change in your perspective? What were the moments in life that fundamentally changed you as a person? When did you learn something that made you feel more adult, more capable, more grown up? For example: Did your expansion of a handmade stationery hobby into a full-fledged business give you the motivation and wherewithal to combat the effects of a debilitating illness?
Have you learned to love the football team playback sessions that force you to routinely examine your mistakes, welcome constructive criticism and point yourself toward self-improvement? Did a summer-long role as the U. President in a mock government and diplomacy exercise bring out leadership skills you never knew you had? How did this change the way you interact and connect with others? How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. Based on extensive counselor feedback, the existing essay prompts provide great flexibility for applicants to tell their unique stories in their own voice. Retaining the essay prompts provides the added benefit of consistency for students, counselors, parents, and members during the admissions process.
Plus, with essay prompts remaining the same, students rolling over their existing Common App accounts have more time to plan and prepare their applications prior to the final year of high school.
Counselors looking to get a head start with application workshops this year can take advantage of Common App Ready , a suite of on-demand resources, training videos, and infosheets, details everything students, counselors, and families need to know about using the Common App.
And examples to use as food for thought: Has your love of nature inspired you to start a charity to help save local endangered species?
Did you work as an intern on a political campaign caught at the center of a scandal? We are as sure as ever that every single one of you has a valuable story or two or twelve! What has that meant for your self-esteem and personal relationships? Contact us for information on rates and more!