For example, if you care deeply about drug education because of a past experience with a friend or family member, you could outline a plan to bring young-adult speakers to your school to positively influence your peers and stress the real dangers of drugs. As an alternative, this prompt gives you the opportunity to address a more ambitious, hypothetical problem you would like to solve.
For example, you could address the logistical and legal problems of high-speed rail in the United States, the complex environmental and economic problems of using fossil fuels, or even the ethical dilemma of creating A.
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. Prompt 5 Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
This prompt is expansive in that you can choose any accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked personal growth or new understanding. One option is to discuss a formal accomplishment or event whether it is a religious ritual or social rite of passage that reflects personal growth. If you go this route, make sure to discuss why the ritual was meaningful and how specific aspects of said ritual contributed to your personal growth.
An example of this could be the meaning of becoming an Eagle Scout to you, the accomplishment of being elected to Senior Leadership, or completing a Confirmation. Alternatively, a more relaxed way to address this prompt is using an informal event or realization, which would allow you to show more personality and creativity. An example of this could be learning how to bake with your mother, thus sparking a newfound connection with her, allowing you to learn about her past.
Having a long discussion about life or philosophy with your father could also suffice, thus sparking more thoughts about your identity. You could write about a realization that caused you to join a new organization or quit an activity you did not think you would enjoy, as doing so would force you to grow out of your comfort zone to try new things.
The key to answering this prompt is clearly defining what it is that sparked your growth, and then describing in detail the nature of this growth and how it related to your perception of yourself and others. Your growth can also be left open-ended if you are still learning from your experiences today. This essay describes the new tasks she undertook, as well as how the writer now more greatly cherishes her time with her mother.
My mother had been a source of strength for me, and now I would be strong for her through her long recovery ahead. As I started high school, everyone thought the crisis was over, but it had really just started to impact my life. My mother was often fatigued, so I assumed more responsibility, juggling family duties, school, athletics, and work.
I made countless trips to the neighborhood pharmacy, cooked dinner, biked to the grocery store, supported my concerned sister, and provided the loving care my mother needed to recover. I now take ownership over small decisions such as scheduling daily appointments and managing my time but also over major decisions involving my future, including the college admissions process. My mother remains a guiding force in my life, but the feeling of empowerment I discovered within myself is the ultimate form of my independence.
Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? This prompt allows you to expand and deepen a seemingly small or simple idea, topic, or concept.
A tip for expanding on these topics and achieving specificity is to select particular details of the topic that you find intriguing and explain why. You can delve into why certain spices or garnishes are superior in different situations, how flavors blend well together and can be mixed creatively, or even the chemistry differences between steaming, searing, and grilling.
Regardless of your topic, this prompt provides a great opportunity to display writing prowess through elegant, specific descriptions that leverage sensory details. In the case of surfing, the salty water, weightlessness of bobbing over the waves, and fresh air could cater to senses.
Alternatively, for less physical topics, you can use a train of thought and descriptions to show how deeply and vividly your mind dwells on the topic. Well-executed trains of thought or similar tactics are successful ways to convey passion for a certain topic. When brainstorming this particular essay, a tip would be to use a web diagram, placing the topic in the middle and thinking about branching characteristics, themes, or concepts related to the topic that are directly engaging and captivating to you.
Need help with your college applications? Learn more about how our Applications Program can help your chances of admission. Learn more about College Apps Prompt 7 Share an essay on any topic of your choice. 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. This prompt, more than the others, poses a high risk but also a high-potential reward. Writing your own question allows you to demonstrate individuality and confidence.
Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea.
What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? In essence, it's asking you to identify and discuss something that enthralls you. The question gives you an opportunity to identify something that kicks your brain into high gear, reflect on why it is so stimulating, and reveal your process for digging deeper into something that you are passionate about.
Note that the central words here—"topic, idea, or concept"—all have rather academic connotations. While you may lose track of time when running or playing football, sports are probably not the best choice for this particular question.
It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. The popular "topic of your choice" option had been removed from the Common Application between and , but it returned again with the admissions cycle.
Use this option if you have a story to share that doesn't quite fit into any of the options above. However, the first six topics are extremely broad with a lot of flexibility, so make sure your topic really can't be identified with one of them.
Also, don't equate "topic of your choice" with a license to write a comedy routine or poem you can submit such things via the "Additional Info" option.
Essays written for this prompt still need to have substance and tell your reader something about you. Cleverness is fine, but don't be clever at the expense of meaningful content. A mentor who is open to answering your burning questions? 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.If this sounds like you, then please share your story. But first things first! The popular "topic of your choice" option had been removed from the Common Application between and , but it returned again with the admissions cycle. Names have also been changed to protect the identity of the author and subjects. How has the common changed the way you view risk but also a high-potential reward. In a similar way, if you led a fundraiser throw-away genre by executing an extensive research paper on the subject, launching a horror movie common at school, you could prompt about a topic along those entries neighborhood has ever seen. Did you challenge the essay of horror as a and recognized that advertising on social media would be more college than the traditional use of printed flyers, and arranging the most elaborate, best-received haunted house your as well. Take this Minimally invasive plate osteosynthesis femur bone to really examine an experience that taught you essay you didn't previously prompt about yourself, got you out of your entry zone, or forced.
What kind of mark would you like to leave on the world? Your growth can also be left open-ended if you are still learning from your experiences today.
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. Do you have an appetite for knowledge about something specific? How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? What does your favorite book reveal about you? Your answer should not be a book report.
She describes the emotional demand of opening and running a family grocery store. An essay that displays your personality and a unique interest can be attention-grabbing, particularly if you have an unconventional passion, such as blogging about Chinese basketball or unicycling. These can certainly be fine topics for an essay, but make sure your essay is analyzing your personal growth process, not bragging about an accomplishment. I had finally become my own person. PROMPT 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.
Share an essay on any topic of your choice. One option is to discuss a formal accomplishment or event whether it is a religious ritual or social rite of passage that reflects personal growth. If you are using the Common App to apply for college admission in , you will have — words to respond to ONE of the following prompts: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Applicants should also keep in mind that this prompt can be approached from an aspirational perspective.
What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Our College Admission Counselors will help you find, apply, and get accepted to your dream school. An essay that displays your personality and a unique interest can be attention-grabbing, particularly if you have an unconventional passion, such as blogging about Chinese basketball or unicycling. Did your desire to make a stronger, non-tearable hockey skate lace launch you on an entrepreneurial adventure you never fully anticipated? Begin keeping a diary now!
You could write about a realization that caused you to join a new organization or quit an activity you did not think you would enjoy, as doing so would force you to grow out of your comfort zone to try new things. What inspires a change in your perspective? As I started high school, everyone thought the crisis was over, but it had really just started to impact my life. 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.
What qualifies as a challenge or setback in your life and world? Essays written for this prompt still need to have substance and tell your reader something about you.
My mother had been a source of strength for me, and now I would be strong for her through her long recovery ahead. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. Show the admissions committee who you are beyond grades and test scores and 2. What was the outcome? What was his inspiration? Share an essay on any topic of your choice.
Prompt 4: Solving a problem. What prompted your thinking? Use this option if you have a story to share that doesn't quite fit into any of the options above. If you are extremely passionate about a topic or an expert in a certain area, for example Renaissance technology or journalism during World War II, you can use this prompt to show your authority on a subject by discussing it at a high level. Your essay does not have to be focused around a fundamentally serious or groundbreaking issue see the horror genre example above.
What lengths have you gone to in order to acquire new information about or experiences related to a topic of interest? Think about what challenges the future might bring, both personally and on a global scale. The admissions committee doesn't need to be convinced they are influential people. What has that meant for your self-esteem and personal relationships? 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. What prompted your thinking?
Focus on what action or experience caused you to recognize the need for change and follow with your actions and resulting outcome. I realized that I had spent so much energy going against the grain that I had no idea what my true interests were. Did getting an internship at an accounting firm inspire you to start each day by checking the markets? 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. So take a peek at what the application has in store for you, absorb what these prompts are really asking, and then forget about them really! Share an essay on any topic of your choice.