When students have many college choices for applying, they’re likely to write meaningful common app essays, and they need to find important information to get their admissions. This helpful guide covers popular prompts for the best common app essays and:
- Common questions applicants need to answer;
- Everything committee members want to read;
- Effective topic options;
- Things you should avoid.
Use this complete starting guide. Read these writing tips to have your better idea of how to submit your engaging personal statement or learn the entire process.
Before you get your deeper understanding of your individual prompt choice, go over common application essay basics to keep general steps in mind. Most school requirements ask students to submit it. The common application asks them to give their blanket personal statement. This policy changed last year, so your common application essay importance is now optional for some institutions (it can be your benefit).
If you want to use your opportunity to apply to several schools at once to get your high education, check common app essays that worked. They can teach you fundamental lessons. Take enough time to research them because this knowledge can matter a lot for your desirable outcomes that will affect your future failure or success.
You can send different essays to every school. It’s not a good use of your time, that’s why you should turn to writing your common application and master relevant basics. How to succeed?
- Pay attention to your required limit of words;
- Don’t stress out too much about questions;
- Look at current prompted requirements.
Your word limit
How to write a common app essay? You should stick to its word limit that may change every year, but its range is about 250-650 words. If your written paper is longer or shorter, it can be your big problem that will prevent you from succeeding. Editing is important for any common application process.
No stress about questions
Common application topics are quite general, so they leave enough room for your possible interpretations. Colleges are more concerned with learning more about your identity, interest, accomplishment, or experience than whether your chosen subject fits their questions perfectly. Feel free to write about anything that works. Treat your background as great starting points for your brainstorming or thinking sessions that will help you share your interesting life story.
Check current prompts
The common application changes prompts regularly. You should be familiar with their updated versions for this period, don’t assume that you can use similar approaches as students in the past.
This helpful guide goes over important details of common app essays and their prompts, but you should get overall advice first. Use effective tips for finding the best topic. When you brainstorm or prepare to write your application, keep them in mind to choose the best one to explain your position:
- Make your common application personal;
- Take your time;
- Avoid repetitions;
- Stay specific.
Breaking down the best common app essays
Once you get basic ideas to discuss after brainstorming relevant posts, go through application questions or prompts to understand what committee officials want to see in your response. How to write the best common app essays? Your main challenge to solve is to address two parts of every application question:
- Describe something you did or any challenged event that happened to you;
- Recount what your chosen action or activity means to you.
Your common application is incomplete if you fail to reflect both sides of any chosen topic so that it sounds intellectual to all readers. What are common application prompts?
- Key piece of your story;
- Coping with different obstacles or how you solved them successfully;
- Challenging your belief;
- Solving problems;
- Show your personal growth or maturity;
- Describe your passion to anything in the world or your community.
Key piece of your story
Some applicants have their interests, backgrounds, talents, or identities that are so meaningful that they think that their common application is incomplete without it. Share your personal story if you’re one of them.
This common application prompt is broad, so you can use everything you like or want to design your response if it’s vital for your successful admission. Whatever you write in your common app should be genuinely crucial to you personally, not something you think committee member will like or appreciate. Clarify why your chosen topic is important.
What do readers want? This common application prompt is all about showing them how your basic backgrounds shaped your personality or what you could learn from life experiences. Identify any vital traits or experiences to show your leadership abilities or determination to overcome possible academic challenges to succeed.
Think about your artistic talent or intellectual curiosity. When you answer this common application prompt, tell admission officers what you consider your most important personal qualities. What common topics can work? Feel free to write about anything:
- Unexpected interests;
- Favorite hobbies;
- Life-changing events;
- Your family history;
- Important plans for your future.
Narrow down your topic to something specific. It must showcase your deeper quality. You don’t want your common application to read like your resume, so it shouldn’t sound like your full list of accomplishments. This essay must add something new to your image. Avoid broad or generic topics because it will sound like many other common app academic papers and your admission will fail.
Coping with obstacles
The lessons you learn from different obstacles can be fundamental for your future success, so recount your past challenges or failures. How did they affect you? This common essay prompt is straightforward because it asks you to describe specific obstacles or challenges to let readers know how you dealt with them. Don’t forget to mention your important lessons. This common application prompt raises basic issues:
- How you can handle complication situations;
- If you can learn from your own mistakes effectively.
People face many academic, social, or other challenges. When you address this essay prompt, use your opportunity to show admission officers that you can deal with all hardships in your life. Prove them that you learn from mistakes or challenges. Colleges want to see specific or strong examples. Good topics are specific because they have their explained impact on your perspective, so you should address both parts of this prompt:
- Your experiences of facing challenges;
- Everything you learn from them.
Almost any failure, challenge, or obstacle can work:
- Failing your classes (how retaking them helped you improve study skills;
- Doing poorly at important job interviews (how this experience taught you deal with your nerves);
- Directing schools plays when their set collapsed (how it taught you to remain calm under pressure).
Choose actual challenges or failures. Avoid writing about completely negative things because your common application should show your new skills or ability to face obstacles.
Challenging your belief
Reflect on any period when you challenged beliefs. You can use two effective approaches to answer this prompt:
- Talk about a time you questioned people on their idea;
- Discuss something that made you reconsider your own belief.
Explain why you made this decision or what you did. After reading your response to this common application essay prompt, admission officials learn more about your values and if you can stand up for what you believe. Show your genuine considerations. The committee also wants to see that you’re open-minded, kind, or fair towards people with different beliefs or ideas.
If you have any important idea or belief, personal or political, it’s a great question for you to address in your essay. What is a common pitfall? It often leads to abstract answers. Divisive political matters (gun rights or abortion) are tricky to discuss because many people feel strongly about them or don’t want to accept other viewpoints.
If you have conservative beliefs, treat them carefully. Don’t assume that all readers share similar views. Avoid appearing inflexible in your common application essay when writing about any controversial subject because you need to show that you’re open to other existing perspectives, no matter if you have strong values.
Describe any problem you solved, and it can be anything from intellectual challenges or research queries to ethical dilemmas. Think about something important. Explain its significant role and effective steps to take if you need to identify or solve your specific issue.
How to address this common application prompt? Your response helps admissions officers see how you can solve problems or what you care about in your life. Even if you choose minor issues to discuss in your essay, it will show readers how you think or what you value.
You’ll face different academic problems. Colleges want to see your ability to solve them effectively. Addressing this prompt is your unique opportunity to show your perseverance or maturity that is helpful in your future studies. You can choose any meaningful problem.
It’s easier to focus on specific occurrences or events. Writing about different problems that you want to solve is harder because they’re more abstract than discussing the ones you solved. Include your concrete or compelling explanation of their significance. Avoid general or sweeping matters.
Your maturity or personal growth
Discuss any event, realization, or accomplishments that led to your personal growth or new understanding. This common application prompt is general. It asks you to write in your essay about something that causes you to mature or grow, so you need to explain how this event enriched your personality.
How or when you grew as a person? Your common application essay should touch interesting subjects or complex issues, like your role in your community or personal responsibilities. Don’t explain your complete worldview to readers. All you need to do is to give them a better sense of your chosen event causes your significant growth.
This common prompt will help you show how you relate to other people or your sense of self-concept. What are potential topics to consider?
- Big changes in your life (moving to your new place or becoming a sibling);
- Common milestones (Getting your driver’s license or voting for the first time).
Ensure that your chosen topic describes your transition to positive changes or growth, which is always a gradual process. Focus on specific steps to explain their common meaning. Your overall message should convey maturity. Any new understanding or personal growth that you describe in your common application essay should be positive in its nature.
In your common application essay, describe any concept, idea, or topic that you find engaging enough to lose your track of time. Why is it so captivating? This prompt asks students to describe something they’re passionate about. You need to discuss any subject of your personal fascination, explain why you’re fond of it, detail how you further your knowledge about it.
This common prompt is winning because all colleges want to admit applicants who are more intellectually engaged with their surrounding environment. Show them your genuine love to pursue knowledge. Prove that you’re resourceful or self-motivated by describing everything you learned about your chosen concept, idea, or topic.
Consider something that makes you feel passionate. Demonstrate everything you do to get more information or emphasize how this topic engages your brain in many ways. What to avoid? Don’t write your common application essay about something uninteresting for you only because you suggest that it sounds good.
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