Your Common Application College Essay Prompts 2017-2018

Get started on the Essay of Your Life (Common App or Not)!

If you’re ready to start writing the essay of your life, and want our guidance, reach out here!

You can get your bearings on the college essay writing process (we think it can change your life) by reviewing the Common App questions below.

Or maybe you already know the common app prompts by heart (though not every school requires them) but you have no idea how to respond? Fear not, contact us.

We’ll get right back to you with hard questions, heart and humor–some of the best tools for tackling your college essay.

We’ll coach you to write the real, well-crafted answers admissions officers are begging for…

…that authentic self people keep mentioning? Yeah, you got it. You just have to put it into words.

And of course you can use our free sampler, available by request, to get your ideas flowing (as is true for some of life’s best stuff, you gotta ask!).

Those Common App Prompts– REVISED!

The Common Application Essay Prompts were revised to reflect a universal truth of meaningful conversation: ask a better question, get a better answer.

Listen to what your mind answers as you read the questions.  Take loose notes.

Not every college uses the common app, but their questions, which we repost here, will give you a sense of what the personal essay asks you to do and think about.

By the way: the Common App changes reflect feedback they received from their “constituents” who bothered to ask for better essay questions– which means if you have feedback, there’s a willing ear.

One of the hallmarks of a strong student and person– the one colleges hope to have on their campuses!– is you are not afraid to give feedback, but you are thoughtful about how you give it.

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]

Your stories will be better!

My colleagues and I are all over these new Common Application essay prompts– yeah, we’re that delightedly nerdy– because, simply put, they will generate better stories from applicants.  The phrasing will not force applicants to bend their stories to the prompt (which sometimes is awkward and belabored, or just a weak fit). Instead the improvements will allow the students to bend the Common Application essay prompts to fit the personal stories they most want and need to tell.

And this is the whole point, right?  Colleges want to elicit what is most true, most alive, and most relevant to their applicants?

Admissions processes should do whatever is possible to discourage predictable, canned responses, and encourage each individual to articulate him or herself with coherent freedom.

What kind of questions best help admissions officers learn who each applicant REALLY is, at least through the thin veil of writing, so they can guess who this person will be on their campus?

At Essay Intensive, we strive to help you get at the stories from your life that have mattered to you most.  Whether these stories are crises or commonalities, as long as you’re lit up by what you’re talking about, we want to help you say it in the freshest, clearest way possible.

This way, you leave the application process not only with your best shot at getting into your best fit or top-choice school, but also having learned about yourself.

From this process, you gain and keep priceless perspective on your one and only life.

Join us to answer these questions with verve and punch. We work with you one-on-one, in customized groups, and through partnering organizations.  Either way, we stay with you until you nail it. Contact us to get your writing on and your essay done.