The New Common Application Essay Prompts

Now there are 7 college essay prompts instead of 5 on the Common Application. Some of the prompts are still the same, some have been revised slightly, and two more prompts have been added.

Here they are:

1. (same) 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.
2. (changed) The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
3. (changed) Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
4. (same) Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. 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.
5. (changed) Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
6. (new) 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?
7. (new) 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.

Because the prompts are out now for next year’s college applicants, you can start early, and starting early is a very good idea! Frist, read the prompts to make sure you understand them and also dissect each so that when you write to a prompt you are sure to answer it in full. Next, think about which prompts appeal to you and attempt to write a first draft of one or two. Brainstorm while writing your drafts with friends, patents, and teachers to make sure you have thought about all your strengths and achievements. Then you can use the prompt that best fits you to reveal aspects of you that are not already in your transcript and high school resume. Also, check out the main site for College Basics and read some of the articles that can help you refine your college essay, especially getting started and planning for a winning essay.

All of this will help you get a jump on college applications and save you from senior year crisis.

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