college application essay


The folks at The Common Application added a new prompt this year and I love it.

It asks you to write about a problem.

What’s so great about a problem?

Problems = Stories = Great Essays!

This may be the only time having a juicy problem is a good thing. So take advantage of it!

I wrote Common App Prompt 4: When a Problem is a Good Thing earlier this year, but wanted to share the same writing advice and strategies in a video format. Some students learn better by listening and watching than reading.

So here it is. I’m offering it free for now.

You can learn almost everything you need to nail this prompt and write a standout narrative-style essay in less than 10 minutes.

If you want more in-depth instruction and writing advice after watching the video and pounding out a rough draft—and are a reader—my writing guide, Escape Essay Hell!, is the perfect companion to this video.

Another option to sharpen your essay writing skills would be to take my mini-course on How to Write A College Application Essay (cost: $49 time: one hour).

But there’s a good chance you won’t need more help. It all depends how much time and energy you want to invest in your essay.

Just watch the short video, take notes, start to dig in your past for a juicy problem, brainstorm a great topic, map out a narrative essay and then write it up.

This video will help you with Prompt 4, and also the other prompts—depending on what problems you end up writing about (this is explained in the video).

The sooner you start the better! Good luck!

Please share it if you find it helpful!

(To watch on a larger screen, click the YouTube icon on the bottom right and watch it there.)