What about the process of learning, especially about subjects that call out to you, is satisfying? And a few examples to get those wheels turning: Did the idea of open source code inspire you to create a tech startup with a few of your friends?
What new projects within the company are you most excited to work on? Did getting an internship at an accounting firm inspire you to start each day by checking the markets?
Do you participate in a mock trading club that allows you to use the expertise you gather from culling through economic news and analysis online and beyond? On any given Sunday morning, could we find you lost in the literature of Kurt Vonnegut or immersed in a collection of stories by Isaac Asimov?
Have you taught yourself to master the compositions of Mozart and Beethoven and break down the songs of Bruno Mars by ear in your spare time? We know someone who did this—really. Show your feathers. 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. The "belief or idea" you explore could be your own, someone else's, or that of a group.
The best essays will be honest as they explore the difficulty of working against the status quo or a firmly held belief. The answer to the final question about the "outcome" of your challenge need not be a success story. Sometimes in retrospection, we discover that the cost of an action was perhaps too great.
However you approach this prompt, your essay needs to reveal one of your core personal values. If the belief you challenged doesn't give the admissions folks a window into your personality, then you haven't succeeded with this prompt. 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 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. With the ability to write about an "intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma," you can essentially write about any issue that you find important.
Note that you do not have to have solved the problem, and some of the best essays will explore problems that need to be solved in the future. 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.
This resource includes details on application creation, detailed descriptions of each section, and submission requirements. To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain. When my parents learned about The Smith Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also a community.
This meant transferring the family. And while there was concern about Sam, we all believed that given his sociable nature, moving would be far less impactful on him than staying put might be on me. But preoccupied with new friends and a rigorous course load, I failed to notice that the tables had turned.
Sam had become withdrawn and lonely. While I saw myself as genuinely compassionate, I had been oblivious to the heartache of the person closest to me. We stayed up half the night talking. He told me how challenging school had always been for him, due to his dyslexia, and that the ever-present comparison to me had only deepened his pain. We had been in parallel battles the whole time and, yet, I only saw that Sam was in distress once he experienced problems with which I directly identified.
This experience has reinforced the value of constantly striving for deeper sensitivity to the hidden struggles of those around me. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? A more tenable alternative here could be to discuss a time that you went against social norms, whether it was by becoming friends with someone who seemed like an outcast or by proudly showing off a geeky passion.
And if you ever participated in a situation in tandem with adults and found some success i. Another way to answer this prompt is to discuss a time when you noticed a need for change. In a similar way, if you led a fundraiser and recognized that advertising on social media would be more effective than the traditional use of printed flyers, you could write about a topic along those lines as well.
Focus on what action or experience caused you to recognize the need for change and follow with your actions and resulting outcome. As a whole, this prompt lends itself to reflective writing, and more specifically, talking the reader through your thought processes.
In many cases, the exploration of your thought processes and decision-making is more important than the actual outcome or concept in question. A good brainstorming exercise for this prompt would be to write your problem on a sheet of paper and then develop various solutions to the problem, including a brief reason for justification. 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.If, after careful consideration, your magic essay topic does not work within the confines of Prompts , you are in luck. Don't just summarize the plot; detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. After spending several weeks attempting to synthesize platinum nanoparticles with a diameter between 10 and 16 nm, I finally achieve nanoparticles with a diameter of Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all New game if you can tie it back to who you are or what you app. The event, accomplishment, or realization you discuss should be me, and now I common be strong for her through a different, more mature lens. My mother why should students go to college essay been a source of strength for something that helped you understand the world around you through her long recovery ahead.
Always refer back to the Strategy section of this article and make sure the topic and essay of your choice addresses the Core Four questions necessary for a good Common App essay. 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. Think about what challenges the future might bring, both personally and on a global scale. Finally, we were free. Sample essay for option 2: "Student Teacher" by Max Option 3 Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea.
So avoid the pitfall of writing about what you think will impress the admission office versus what truly matters to you.
Learn more about how our Applications Program can help your chances of admission. She would sacrifice her wishes and preferences just to make the unconventional choice. I received hundreds of shares and had dozens of discussion questions posted. You're trying to show colleges your best self, so it might seem counterintuitive to willingly acknowledge a time you struggled. And here are a few examples for you to ponder: Are you openly gay in a strict Catholic school environment? I worried others would judge me as too girlish and less competent compared to friends who wanted to work at the UN in foreign affairs or police the internet to crack down on hackers.
Prompt 5 Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. And while there was concern about Sam, we all believed that given his sociable nature, moving would be far less impactful on him than staying put might be on me. What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
Why does it captivate you? However, cosmetic science wasn't taught at school so I designed my own training.
I returned to China a year later to lead my team through their first Chinese-hosted international competition. I am no longer allowed to attend Chinese robotics competitions in China as a mentor. Trying to fill the void for a familiar community, I got involved with the Association of Latin American students, where I am now an Executive Officer. In fact, because I was involved in so many unrelated activities, I was socially flexible.
You can even write your own question!
Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. Be careful to frame your hypothetical problem clearly, explain why it is a problem, outline the important points, and explain your steps to create a solution.
Did your failure to follow directions lead you to a botched home science experiment root beer explosion! At school I saw opportunities to affect real change and launched a series of green chemistry campaigns: the green agenda engaged the school community in something positive and was a magnet for creative student ideas, such as a recent project to donate handmade organic pet shampoo to local dog shelters. This wide range of questions, meant to inspire candidates in their search for compelling personal stories, is ideal for exploring essay topics of all tones, styles, and subjects. Some questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm: What about my history or background sets me apart from my peers?
The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores and to distinguish yourself from the rest of a very talented applicant pool. By senior year, I was pleased my exploration had gone well. Why does it captivate you? Use the college's website and literature to do your research about programs, professors, and other opportunities that appeal to you. This essay prompt, like all of the options, is asking you to be introspective and share with the admissions folks what it is that you value. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.