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College application essay prompts topics for essays

  • 11.02.2019

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! PROMPT 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. What about your history, personality, hobbies, or accomplishments might be worth highlighting for an admissions officer?

It can be something as small as seeing an episode of a television show are you living life in the Upside Down? Some questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm: What about my history or background sets me apart from my peers?

How do I define myself? How do the people who are closest to me define me? What have I achieved that has been integral in molding my character and ambitions? What, in my seventeen years on this earth, has helped shape the person I am today? Does your crazy, dyed-blue hair define you? Did going to a Picasso exhibit inspire you to start an art collection that has since expanded beyond the borders of your bedroom?

What are the challenges and rewards of having same-sex parents? Or of being raised by your siblings? Or of being part of a family made up of stepsisters and stepbrothers? Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.

How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? We have always believed that essays about overcoming obstacles are most effective when they focus more on solutions than problems.

Applicants should aim to showcase qualities like resilience, determination, and humility. The obstacles you choose to explore can vary widely in nature, especially with the recent additions that allow students to explore challenges and setbacks in addition to failures. They can be as serious as being tormented by bullies, as ingrained as the financial issues that have plagued your family for years, or as seemingly pedestrian as a mistake that costs you a tip while waiting tables.

Still, if you can isolate an incident of trial in your life and illustrate how you learned from it, this can be a rewarding prompt to explore. Some key questions to consider: How do you deal with hardship? What qualifies as a challenge or setback in your life and world?

Are you the kind of person who can rebound and turn every experience, good or bad, into one from which you can learn something? What experiences might illustrate this quality? And was there a silver lining? And a few examples to think about: Has a lifelong battle with stuttering ultimately increased your overall confidence and allowed you to participate in social activities and public forums without self-judgment?

Did a series of setbacks on your road to becoming a child actor introduce you to screenwriting, your professional goal and biggest passion? Did your failure to follow directions lead you to a botched home science experiment root beer explosion!

Overall, try to keep these stories as positive as possible. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? This prompt requires a student to speak passionately about beliefs and ideology, which are often onerous subjects that can be difficult to mold into compact stories.

It can be one of the hardest questions to steer in a positive, productive direction without traveling into preachy, overly didactic territory. This is also a more precarious prompt than most in that students need to carefully assess the risks of espousing beliefs that might be polarizing for the readers of their applications. Applicants who can articulate their thoughts and feelings while showcasing malleability and willingness to thoughtfully consider the ideas of others will likely stand out as valuable additions to any campus.

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. What do you value?

What has made you grow as a person? What makes you the unique individual the admissions folks will want to invite to join their campus community? The best essays spend significant time with self-analysis rather than merely describing a place or event. The folks at The Common Application have cast a wide net with these questions, and nearly anything you want to write about could fit under at least one of the options. If your essay could fit under more than one option, it really doesn't matter which one you choose.

Many admissions officers, in fact, don't even look at which prompt you chose—they just want to see that you have written a good essay. The essay or essays is a great way to learn more about an applicant, her motivations, life experiences, and how she can contribute to the campus community. The essay is important because it gives students the chance to showcase their writing and tell the college something new. It also allows admissions officers to learn more about students and gain insight into their experiences that other parts of the application do not provide.

Over colleges and universities use the Common Application , which has one required essay, called the personal statement. There are five new prompts to choose from, and this essay can be used for multiple colleges.

Related: Why I Love the New Common Application Essay Prompts Beyond the Common Application essay, many colleges also have supplements that ask additional, university-specific questions which applicants must respond to with shorter-form essays.

While topics vary from supplement to supplement, there are a few standard essay formats that many colleges use: Personal Statement This is the most common essay and is used for the main Common Application essay. In this essay, the applicant talks about a meaningful life experience that helped shape who she is today. In this essay, students need to be detailed and offer specific examples for wanting to attend this school.

Find this year's Common App writing prompts and popular essay questions used by individual colleges. The college essay is your opportunity to show admissions officers who you are apart from your grades and test scores and to distinguish yourself from the rest of a very talented applicant pool.

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. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

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. 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? 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. Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in.

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More College Essay Topics Individual schools sometimes require supplemental essays. To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain. Noodle's mission is to make the search for education better through increased transparency and efficiency. Every student has a fabulous essay inside of them — these prompts can help you find yours. 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. The time has come. My mother had been a source of strength for me, and now I would be strong for her through her long recovery ahead.
College application essay prompts topics for essays

–20 Common App Essays

I certify that I am 13 years of age or older, agree to recieve marketing email messages from The Princeton Review, and agree to Terms of Use. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Discuss what role sports played in your life and why it was important.
Did you work as an intern on a political campaign caught at the center of a scandal? In this essay, the applicant talks about a meaningful life experience that helped shape who she is today. What about your history, personality, hobbies, or accomplishments might be worth highlighting for an admissions officer?

Overview of the Common App

We have often found that smaller, less formal events make for more surprising and memorable essays; but as with any of the other prompts, as long as you can answer with originality and put a unique twist on your subject matter, all ideas are fair game. Use some of the other prompts as starting points for your brainstorming and free writing journeys. Did a summer-long role as the U. While topics vary from supplement to supplement, there are a few standard essay formats that many colleges use: Personal Statement This is the most common essay and is used for the main Common Application essay. And a few examples to think about: Has a lifelong battle with stuttering ultimately increased your overall confidence and allowed you to participate in social activities and public forums without self-judgment?
College application essay prompts topics for essays
The time has come. 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. Because we order committed to getting you the most timely and comprehensive essay advice on the interweb, we have made a assignment to help you navigate the ins and outs of all seven prompts. Before you dive or cannonball! In fact, in our instructional writing course and private advisingwe encourage applicants to root around for their online meaningful stories first and consider the prompts later. This is a process we call cheap Backwards Brainstorm, and you can learn more about it here.

Tips and Guidance for the 7 Essay Options on the New Common Application

Remember when you are thinking of what prompts to use for your application essay, you want to answer a question and describe to the reader what makes you an individual person. You may not be able to find the time to think about a topic that is going to make your essay application move to the top of the list. What, in my seventeen years on this earth, has helped shape the person I am today? Q:How is your perspective on the world unique? Does your crazy, dyed-blue hair define you?
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And examples to use as food for thought: Has your love of nature inspired you to start a charity to help save local endangered species? Sometimes in retrospection, we discover that the cost of an action was perhaps too great. Prompt 3: Challenging a belief. The whole purpose of this exercise is to reveal something valuable about yourself to admissions, so be sure to link the problem you highlight to your passions, actions, or aspirations.

Using Your Prompts to Make Your Application Essay Stand Out

Get started The Best and Worst Topics for a College Application Essay The college essay is your opportunity to let your personality shine on your application. Consider this approach instead. Kat Cohen Author Students prepare for applying to selective colleges by taking rigorous coursesparticipating in extracurricular activitiesstudying for standardized testsand more. All of durga puja celebration essay writer preparation, however, can distract attention from one of the most notorious sections of the college application: the essays.
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College application essay prompts topics for essays
Sample essay for option 2: "Student Teacher" by Max Option 3 Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Keep in mind how open-ended this prompt truly is. The "belief or idea" you explore could be your own, someone else's, or that of a group. The best american doctoral dissertations online database will be honest as they explore the difficulty of working against the status quo or a firmly held belief.

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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. I had finally become my own person. Some key questions to consider: What floats your boat? 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. What inspires you to take action?
College application essay prompts topics for essays
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. When my parents learned about The Smith Academy, we hoped it would be an opportunity for me to find not only an academically challenging environment, but also a community. Describe your personality when you were starting in high school and how it has changed in the four years you were there. All it takes is ample time for reflection and a little writerly elbow grease to find it. Learn more about how our Applications Program can help your chances of admission. What was the outcome?
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Be careful to avoid the "hero" essay—admissions offices are often overrun with essays about the season-winning touchdown or brilliant performance in the school play see the list of bad essay topics for more about this issue. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve.

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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. Did a summer-long role as the U. The answer to the final question about the "outcome" of your challenge need not be a success story.

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Focus on yourself: Choose someone who has actually caused you to change your behavior or your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you. One important thing to note: the topic of identity can easily lack originality if you cover a common experience such as feeling divided between cultures, or coming out. 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.

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