Common Application Essay Prompts

TopicsTopic Examples
Jun 9, 2018

Unlike previous years, 2019-20, applicants will officially have the option of continuity. This is mostly because this year’s seven essay prompts received great reviews from admissions professionals. Over 90% of surveyed admissions officers, guidance counselors, parents, and students continue to rate the selections positively. The current list offers students the full opportunity to present their best 650-word essay.

Common App Essay Prompts for 2019-20What are my choices?

  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. 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. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  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 admission 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.

Get started early

For students, there is no time like today to start on your Common App essay. Since your senior year will be an overwhelming flood of academic and admissions tasks. Students applying at a large number of institutions are often unaware that an October surprise can result in an essay. The Common App goes live in August which means that the summer before senior year is the best time to finish the first draft; it never hurts to get started in the prior spring by narrowing down potential ideas and jotting down specific topics.

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