BRAND NEW CommonApp Essay Prompts
(And Why They’re Amazing)
All college bound and college hopeful students are probably familiar with the CommonApp. Used by nearly 700 different colleges and universities, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a common application that can be submitted to several different schools. The CommonApp essay is a crucial component, and it's a chance to show off your unique personality, life experiences, and goals for the future. For the 2017-2018 application season, old prompts have been revised and two new prompts have been added! Over at The Enrichery, this is cause for celebration. We’ll go over each new (and slightly new) prompt, and go over how you can make the most of them.
REVISED: 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?
Why We Love It: 99% of your college application will be detailing your successes and accomplishments, and this prompt gives you a chance to show a vulnerable side. In this CommonApp essay you can acknowledge how you struggled, but more importantly how you overcame it. You’ll have the chance to demonstrate your problem solving and determination, and write poignantly about how it changed your entire perspective. This prompt allows you to write about an important transformation that will show schools your self-awareness and perseverance.
REVISED: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
Why We Love It: Colleges want students who can think for themselves. If you can remember an important time that you challenged the status quo or took a stance that wasn’t necessarily a popular one, this CommonApp essay is for you. This prompt allows you to showcase your critical thinking skills and your courage to stand up for your beliefs, even when it’s difficult.
REVISED: Discuss an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
Why We Love It: The big value of this prompt comes in the second half – personal growth and understanding. The “accomplishment, event or realization” doesn’t need to be groundbreaking. Instead, it just needs to be the catalyst of some sort of personal change. With this essay, you can highlight your maturity and knack for self-examination. Every high school student changes between freshman and senior year. Think about how you changed. You can also consider a personal trait that makes you proud, and how you acquired that trait.
NEW: 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?
Why We Love It: Have you ever seen someone’s entire face light up when they talk about something they love? Isn’t it magnetic? This is your chance to write the CommonApp essay equivalent of that! This prompt allows you to write all about whatever you love, and there is nothing more exciting and enthralling than that. Authenticity is key for this essay – don’t say you get swept away in the joy of geometry unless it’s really true! Be genuine, and find a way to naturally connect your interests to the academic realm, but don’t force it.
NEW: 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.
Why We Love It: This is the free skate of CommonApp essay prompts, AKA the chance to show off the skills you have up your sleeve. If you have something that will knock the college’s socks off, but it doesn’t really work with any of the above prompts, this is your chance. If you’ve already written an incredible essay that’s gotten stellar feedback, use that! Your essay still needs to be direct, well-written, and logically organized, but the content is up to you.