College Application Essays
Which Prompt Will You Pick?
UPDATE: Most of this information is still helpful and relevant. However, please see the changes in the NEW Common Application Prompts for 2015-16!
If you are ready to brainstorm ideas for your Common Application essays, here’s a great place to start. I’ve written posts on each of the 5 new prompts–including how to focus your answer, to find unique angles and twists, to structure your essay, to tell a story with an anecdote, and topics to avoid, on and on.
Here are the new prompts for the 2013 Common Application essays
(click each prompt to find my post on how to respond to it!):
- Some students have a background or story or interest or talent that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
- Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
- 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.
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
Check out my posts on how to answer the two prompts for the University of California essays.
If you find these helpful, but still need more help in the actual writing of your narrative-style essay, consider buying a copy of my new book: Escape Essay Hell! You can order off my blog here or it’s now also available on Amazon via Kindle. luck!