There is a real disconnect between what Admission Committee Representatives in the Info Sessions say they are looking for and these essay topics. College Reps say they would like to know something interesting about you that isn’t revealed in your application. Your essay is supposed to add “texture” to your application. These new essay topics will produce really boring essays, with many students beating their own chests or writing sad tales about a death in the family or another type of loss. Bring back the topic of choice!
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]
Previous posts on the Common Application changes include a feature discussing the new prompts and word-limits , and Q&A’s with Common Application Director of Outreach Scott Anderson ; Common App Outreach Advisory Committee member Ralph Figueroa , Dean of College Guidance at Albuquerque Academy; Wayne Locust and Nathan Fuerst from Admissions at University of Connecticut ; and Vanderbilt University’s Dean of Admission Douglas Christiansen . Next up: our Q&A with Jeannine Lalonde, Senior Assistant Dean of Admission at University of Virginia.