This resource includes details on application creation, detailed descriptions of each section, and submission requirements. The tool also includes Spanish language resources. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. The more thorough you are in justifying and explaining your solutions in the essay, the more compelling your response will be.
One of our consultants penned her experience of growing up with a unique name, and feeling pressured to be different from others. She would sacrifice her wishes and preferences just to make the unconventional choice. Finally, she challenged this idea of being different for the sake of being different to discover her real interests. She must be from somewhere exotic. She must be musical and artsy.
When I was little, these sentiments felt more like commands than assumptions. I thought I had to be the most unique child of all time, which was a daunting task, but I tried. I was the only kid in the second grade to color the sun red. During snack time, we could choose between apple juice and grape juice. I liked apple juice more, but if everyone else was choosing apple, then I had to choose grape.
This was how I lived my life, and it was exhausting. After 8th grade, I moved to Georgia. I panicked. If there was no normal, how could I be unique? I realized that I had spent so much energy going against the grain that I had no idea what my true interests were. It was time to find out. I joined the basketball team, performed in the school musical, and enrolled in chorus, all of which were firsts for me.
I did whatever I thought would make me happy. And it paid off. I was no longer socially awkward. In fact, because I was involved in so many unrelated activities, I was socially flexible. I had finally become my own person. 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.
Even though the prompt allows you to explore more academic and intellectual topics, it is important not to get carried away with esoteric details.
Bottom line, the topic you choose for this prompt should, like every topic, highlight your personality, identity, and how you think about the world. Be sure to describe the event or experience that caused you to realize the gravity of the problem, the specific actions you took to plan or execute your solution i.
For example, if you care deeply about drug education because of a past experience with a friend or family member, you could outline a plan to bring young-adult speakers to your school to positively influence your peers and stress the real dangers of drugs.
As an alternative, this prompt gives you the opportunity to address a more ambitious, hypothetical problem you would like to solve. Use this option if you have a story to share that doesn't quite fit into any of the options above.
However, the first six topics are extremely broad with a lot of flexibility, so make sure your topic really can't be identified with one of them. Also, don't equate "topic of your choice" with a license to write a comedy routine or poem you can submit such things via the "Additional Info" option.
Essays written for this prompt still need to have substance and tell your reader something about you. Cleverness is fine, but don't be clever at the expense of meaningful content. What do you value? What has made you grow as a person?
What makes you the unique individual the admissions folks will want to invite to join their campus community? The best essays spend significant time with self-analysis rather than merely describing a place or event.
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.
This essay is designed to get at the heart of how you think and what makes you tick. Present a situation or quandary and show steps toward the solution. Admissions officers want insight into your thought process and the issues you grapple with, so explain how you became aware of the dilemma and how you tackled solving it. Prompt 5: Personal growth. Describe the event or accomplishment that shaped you but take care to also show what you learned or how you changed. Colleges are looking for a sense of maturity and introspection—pinpoint the transformation and demonstrate your personal growth.
Let your freak flag fly within reason, obvs. This prompt is about the pursuit of knowledge and your desire to proactively challenge yourself. Whether you are devouring the classics on your Kindle or nerding out over the perfect cheese for calzone-making, your attachment to a subject may inspire admissions to want to learn more about it…and you. Feared by some, coveted by others, and legendary in its existence; regardless of where you stand on the issue, this was a newsworthy addition to the Common App prompt choices.
For years, students have been treating Prompt 1 which asks about your background, etc. Applicants around the world likely let out a big exhale when they saw they could still serve up a big scoop of Prompt 7 to admissions last year. And this year will be no different. What are the stories that come up over and over again, at the dinner table or in the cafeteria with your friends, that might give admissions some insight into who you are and what is important to you?
If you had ten minutes alone in a room with an admissions officer, what would you want to talk about or tell him or her about yourself? What would you bring to a college campus that no one else would or could? And a few examples of potential subjects and their related custom! Q:How is your perspective on the world unique?
Do you spend 40 minutes each Friday night tutoring a class of elementary school students in Cambodia? How has that impacted the way you mete out your time and assess your commitments? Q: What is the value of 40 minutes? Did your parents let your older brother choose your name? What was his inspiration? What does your name represent for you? How has it impacted your interactions in the world? If that is the case, fear not! Use some of the other prompts as starting points for your brainstorming and free writing journeys.
Begin keeping a diary now! Now that you have read our handy-dandy prompt guide and understand what admissions is looking for from these prompts, you could very well have a notebook filled with ideas that are ripe for expansion by the time you sit down to write. Trying to tailor your essay to a more specific prompt option may inspire an interesting spin on the story you are trying to tell—one you may not have thought of otherwise. Form influences content. If, after careful consideration, your magic essay topic does not work within the confines of Prompts , you are in luck.
The glorious, all-encompassing Prompt 7 will be here to catch you. Remember, admissions wants a glimpse of your personality, your values, your interests and your passions. They want to get an idea of what kind of attitude and energy you will bring to the classroom and campus life.
So avoid the pitfall of writing about what you think will impress the admission office versus what truly matters to you. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale.
Be careful to avoid the "hero" essay—admissions offices are often overrun with essays about the season-winning touchdown or brilliant performance in the school play see the list of bad essay topics for more about this issue. What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? We know someone who did this—really. Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why.
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. What are the stories that come up over and over again, at the dinner table or in the cafeteria with your friends, that might give admissions some insight into who you are and what is important to you? In fact, in our instructional writing course and private advising , we encourage applicants to root around for their most meaningful stories first and consider the prompts later. She must be from somewhere exotic. Bottom line, the topic you choose for this prompt should, like every topic, highlight your personality, identity, and how you think about the world.
This experience has reinforced the value of constantly striving for deeper sensitivity to the hidden struggles of those around me. So take a peek at what the application has in store for you, absorb what these prompts are really asking, and then forget about them really!
Sample essay for option 3: "Gym Class Hero" by Jennifer Option 4 Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be one of the hardest questions to steer in a positive, productive direction without traveling into preachy, overly didactic territory. Alternatively, for less physical topics, you can use a train of thought and descriptions to show how deeply and vividly your mind dwells on the topic. Dig into your topic by asking yourself how and why. If you are extremely passionate about a topic or an expert in a certain area, for example Renaissance technology or journalism during World War II, you can use this prompt to show your authority on a subject by discussing it at a high level. What about the process of learning, especially about subjects that call out to you, is satisfying?
Share an essay on any topic of your choice. Twenty dollars. Retaining the essay prompts provides the added benefit of consistency for students, counselors, parents, and members during the admissions process. Here are a few popular application essay topics and some tips for how to approach them: Describe a person you admire.
An example of this could be learning how to bake with your mother, thus sparking a newfound connection with her, allowing you to learn about her past.
As I started high school, everyone thought the crisis was over, but it had really just started to impact my life.