All About Those Prompts


Has your student started thinking about college application essays? Have you? You should be aware that The Common Application—the organization that allows prospective undergraduates to submit a single application to multiple schools, including more than 150 that accept applications in no other way—recently announced significant changes to its Essay Prompts.

Not familiar with the Common App? You might want to read up, but here are the basics: Users of Common Application select one of five Essay Prompts, or topics, on which to base a single essay for submission to all schools to which they want to apply. The biggest revision from last year is the replacement of “Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content” with “Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve.”

All the topics, however, require a similar level of introspection and self-awareness in order to craft an essay that’s genuine—and that allows admissions officers to identify your student as the right fit for their schools. If that sounds daunting enough, keep in mind that some schools, particularly the more selective, require applicants to submit supplemental essays in addition to the Common App essay.

What this means is that a student applying to only a handful of schools may have to produce several quality essays, all while working through the already rigorous application process. One of our recent clients had to submit 18 separate essays. Eighteen! So ask yourself again, has my student started thinking about application essays? Given their importance in getting a leg up in the admissions process, it’s never too early to start!

Need a leg up? Contact us today!

For more information on The Common Application, go to

To review the current Essay Prompts, including descriptions of changes made since last year, see


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