Common app essay prompts 2016

With nearly colleges and universities now accepting the Common Application—including Harvard, Princeton, and Yale—the question is no longer if you should use the Common Application, but how should you use it. The Common Application essay prompts are available here. Obviously, if you are moved by one prompt over the other and feel you have a really great idea, then any one of them will work.

I love this question because it allows you to take the theme of your special talent and weave in a larger connection to the world. This almost always makes a great essay. Remember though, this piece also has to tie into your academic and professional goals. If you want to discuss your prowess as a soccer player, make sure you talk about how it taught you leadership, teamwork, and responsibility Related: Warning!

Learning from failure can show thoughtfulness, strength, and maturity. But I've also seen this prompt become an exercise in making excuses and needless confessions. It's important to think carefully about the example you share. First, admission adjudicators dislike reading excuses as to why your grades might have been low one semester or why you may have tanked the PSAT even if your story is legitimate: family trouble, illness, a friend in need, etc.

Second, revealing something like the time you were once suspended for skipping school or worse can easily backfire and paint you in an unfavorable light. If you choose this prompt, be sure to focus on what you learned and how you're better because of your "failure. Like all Common App essay prompts, this topic has the potential to reveal a lot about your values, beliefs, and character. But, again, I recommend treading lightly with this prompt, because it's easy to venture into unintentionally off-putting territory.

For example, if you write about something politically charged, it might have a negative effect—you just never know. If you choose this prompt and write about an idea or belief you challenged that you would repeat, discuss why you are even more certain of your actions today, showing confidence in your trajectory.

This is another great prompt. If you have worked on a notable project in or outside of school , this allows you to brag about it. Again, make sure to tie the story into your professional and academic goals. Coming-of-age tales are always intriguing, from Catcher in the Rye to the Harry Potter series, but again, connect your story to your future. Something to be careful with here is getting too dark or maudlin. Stories about extreme events i.

Welcome Changes to the 2015-2016 Common Application Essay

Well, what if it comes down to a decision between you and another candidate, and they are trying to balance your merits? The one who has more information and a nice personal essay will definitely win out. It shows you are willing to go the extra mile. Just do it. These are just a few pieces of advice to consider when facing the Common Application.

The Common Application can be daunting, but the payoff is worth it—and it definitely means fewer hand cramps over the coming months. If so, prove it to them! You must be logged in to post a comment. Remember Me. Log in. Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Google.

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  • If you talk about a background or the way you identify yourself, again, think of ways in which these qualities have shaped how you think and act. For additional advice, check out our infographic! Remember, however, that this question is not about the problem itself. Rather, admissions officers want to know why this problem was so personally important that it compelled you to act.

    Guide to the 2016-2017 Common App Essays: Writing About Failure (Prompt 2)

    They want to see how you generally identify and tackle obstacles that may come your way. For tips on how to write about this essay topic, click here. Caution: A common mistake is to talk about an issue in the abstract and not explore why the topic matters to you.

    2017–2018 Common Application Essay Prompts

    Rather, they want to know why you care so much about it your motivations and why you, based on your personal experiences and knowledge, think the cause is worth addressing. Ultimately, your response to this prompt, just as in all of the Common App essays, should tell a story that reflects personal intellectual and emotional growth.

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    Revised topics 2. The best way to show your potential for success is by talking about a challenge you faced while pursuing something you cherish.

    Common Application Essay Prompts

    You should explain why the issue mattered to you and what motivated you in trying to solve it. In some cases, that might mean becoming aware of your own prejudices or shortcomings. Above all, you should be talking about how your viewpoint of the issue and life in the bigger picture was altered by this experience.

    How did this encounter expand your viewpoints of the world? F or more tips on this topic, click here! More importantly, the question seems to have shifted from asking why you acted the way you did to exploring how the dilemma arose in the first place. In other words, admissions officers want to hear about how a certain belief or idea prompted you to think critically and form your own opinion.

    While what triggered your questioning is likely external, keep in mind you should be focusing on its impact on you as an independent thinker. That is, an appropriate answer would require that you explain 1 your values and perspectives, 2 the events that triggered your encounter with a conflicting belief this may mean how you realized the limitations of your own values , and 3 how your perspective was affected by the experience. Caution: We recommend avoiding discussions about religion or politically charged topics that could potentially offend admissions officers. Again, focus on 1 briefly describing the context of the issue you discuss, 2 identifying the event or realization that compelled you to change, and 3 explaining how this experience shaped your personal development. Check out our guide for prompt 5 by clicking here. New topics 6. We believe the purpose behind this question is to encourage you to show admissions officers what really makes you tick.

    Make sure to develop a well-rounded explanation of your passion. Nothing is completely rosy, after all. Some aspects you might think about include: Are there any drawbacks to your high curiosity for this topic? Have you ever hit any roadblocks while pursuing this topic? If so, how did you resolve them? Or, does that not even matter to you?

    New: Common Application Essay Topics for 2016-17

    Have you had to make sacrifices along the way? How did those situations change you? For more information about this new essay topic, check out our infographic! It was a standard question until its removal in Welcome back, Prompt 7! As awesome as this category sounds, here, we would like to share some words of caution. Be careful, however, and understand that the purpose of admissions essays is to introduce yourself to the admissions committee. With that said, make sure the topic you choose highlights one of the following areas: Your analytical abilities and intellectual curiosity.

    However, if your target schools only require the Common App essay, you might want to choose another prompt so that you have the chance to actually talk about you! Personal growth not already covered by Prompts 1—6.