How to Answer Prompt #1 of the New Common Application

College Admissions Essays:

The Common App. Prompt #1

 My Favorite

 Out of the seven prompts you can chose from to write your application essay for The Common Application, I like the first one a lot. (UPDATE: As of 2017, you can now write about any topic you want. See new prompt #7.)

Prompt No. 1 is trying to “prompt” you to find and share a story that will reveal an important part of what makes you unique and special.

These are called personal essays, and they are what my entire blog is trying to help you learn to write!

In a nutshell, you write these types of essays in the first-person (I, me, you…point of view) and use a “write-like-you-talk” casual style.

Narrative-style (storytelling) essays are natural “grabbers” because you use mini-stories from real life, also called anecdotes, for your introduction to illustrate a larger point.

Related: How to Write an Anecdote: Part One

The structure can be as elaborate as you want, but in general, you “show” the reader your point with an anecdote at the beginning, and then “tell” or explain what it means in the second part. (Here’s a quickie guide to help you Write a College Application Essay in 3 Steps.)

(Those stiff, 5-paragraph essays from high school English class are history!)

Narrative, slice-of-life essays are ideal for almost any type of admissions essay. But some college application essay prompts are trickier than others to figure out how to answer the question by telling a story.

Others, however, are easier and actually ask for a story. Like Prompt No. 1. (and No. 2 and 4). (more…)