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common app essay prompts

The Common App essay prompts have been released by the Common App Organization for the current admissions cycle, and they are the same as the prior year. The seven essay prompts are:


1. 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.


2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?


3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?


4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?


5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.


6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?


7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

The specific Common App essay prompt that you pick doesn’t matter, so don’t agonize over your choice. The prompt that you end up choosing should be about a topic for which you have plenty to say. If none of the prompts resonate with you, there’s always prompt #7, which is an open-ended question that allows you to write about anything at all. The benefit of this prompt is that you have full liberty to craft any narrative you wish, but the pitfall with this option is that your essay may lack structure and cohesion. So think through your essay very carefully and make sure to create a detailed outline before you begin writing.


For insights into the best practices for writing the Common App essay, from start to finish, visit our page on this topic:




If you aren’t entirely sure whether you are approaching a prompt correctly, or if you have any other questions whatsoever about the Common App essay prompts, contact us for a free consultation.

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