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Common Application’s new and revised essay prompts

May 30th, 2017

The school year has ended for some and is near for others!  

While seniors have made college enrollment choices, juniors are just beginning to ramp up for the excitement of application season. For students still intent on final exams, it is most important to finish the year with a flourish.  But as the academic year finishes, juniors can begin letting essay ideas flow.

The new essay prompts from the Common Application have been revised and improved through the guidance of teachers, students and school counselors.  The goal of the edits is to give students more room to express themselves freely.  Along with two new prompts, three of the essay prompts have been revised to reflect the suggestions of members and constituents.

2017-2018 Common Application Essay Prompts

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. [No change]

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? [Revised]

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

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. [No change]

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

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? [New]

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. [New]
 

We expect these topics will spark many ideas about great stories to tell and look forward to reading our rising seniors’ essays in the weeks and months ahead.

Read more at The Common Application >>

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