Admission News

New Essay Prompt on the Common Application

Written by CB Experts

The College Application organization is already getting ready for the fall—which means college applicants should be getting ready now, too.


The organization that puts out the Common App has surveyed its members and has made revisions for the fall of 2015. The revisions will go live in August, but they are available now. The first change being made is replacing prompt #4 from last year which 76% of the members disliked. The old prompt read: “Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content.” The new prompt will read: “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.”


Two other prompts have been re-worded.

• Prompt # 1 will read: “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 The old wording, “central to your identity,” has been replaced by the word, “meaningful.”

• Prompt # 2: “Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?” has a new introduction: “The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success.”


Prompts # 3 and # 5 remain the same.

• Prompt #3: “Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?”

• Prompt #5 “Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community family.”


The deadline for the Common App is November 1! Don’t wait to get started. There’s no excuse now!

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CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.