The current prompts are the result of much discussion and debate from the member institutions who use the Common Application. The essay length limit stands at 650 words (the minimum is 250 words), and students will need to choose from the seven options below. The essay prompts are designed to encourage reflection and introspection. If your essay doesn't include some self-analysis, you haven't fully succeeded in responding to the prompt.

Because of their love and sacrifice over the years, I have been able to devote the time and energy necessary to academic accomplishment even though money has always been tight. In my senior year at XYZ High School, I have a 3.9 grade-point average and have been named Salutatorian of my graduating class. In addition to focusing on my own studies, I also worked as a math and science tutor throughout my years in high school as a way of contributing to my family's budget.

This nifty tool that helps you with what is often the hardest part of writing an essay: coming up with a thesis. The tool breaks thesis writing down into multiple boxes where you input your information in pieces. When you click Submit, the tool then automatically generates a thesis for you. You may have to tweak it a bit to polish it, but the hardest part is done for you! The page also has a useful little guide to structuring your essay.  
I’ve danced ballet since I when I was seven-years-old. But, even after almost eight years, I could still barely extend my legs as high as my peers nor could do as many pirouettes as them. My flexibility was incredibly subpar and I easily wore out my Pointe shoes, making them unwearable after a couple of months. Where the average lifespans of my peers’ pointe shoes extended into months, mine could barely last ten classes. I was the weakling of my class at Ballet Etudes, and I was too absorbed in my insecurities to do anything to better myself to become the dancer I aspired to be.
A & P A Farewell to Arms A Rose for Emily Accounting Advertising Affirmative Action Africa African History Agriculture AIDS Alcohol American History - American Analitical Animal Sciences Anthropology Antigone My Antonia Apocalypse Now Araby Architecture Argument Art History As You Like It Assisted Suicide Athlete Autobiographical The Awakening Barn Burning Beloved Beowulf Bible Biology Birthmark Blade Runner The Bluest Eye Business Canadian Culture Candide Canterbury Tales Capital Punishment Catcher in the Rye Cathedral Censorship Chemistry Chrysanthemums Climate Change A Clockwork Orange Cloning Admissions Essays Communication Compare/Contrast Comparing Literary Works Computers Conversation Creationism Creative+Writing Crime and Punishment Critical Culture Death in Venice Death of a Salesman Deductive Definition Desiree's Baby Dialog Dogs A Doll's House Drugs Eating Disorders Economics Cause/Effect Environment Essay Epic of Gilgamesh Eulogies European History History - European Physician Assisted Suicide Everyday Use Evolution Exploratory Expository Their Eyes Were Watching God Dr. Faustus Feminism Films Finance Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Freedom of Speech Essay Great Gatsby Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Gay Studies Genetic Engineering Geography Glass Menagerie Young Goodman Brown Graduation Speeches The Grapes of Wrath Great Expectations Gulliver's Travels The Handmaid's Tale Health & Fitness Heart of Darkness Henry IV & Henry V To His Coy Mistress The Iliad Immigrants & Immigration Importance of Education Essay Inquiry International Relations Internet Internet Censorship Internet Censorship Internet Pornography Internet Privacy Interview Invisible Man Jane Eyre Journalism Journalistic The Joy Luck Club King Lear Learning Literature The Lottery The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Macbeth Management Marketing Mathematics Measure for Measure Media Media Censorship Media Violence Media and Women Merchant of Venice Metamorphosis A Midsummer Night's Dream Military Movies Much Ado About Nothing Music My Papa's Waltz Mythology Neuromancer Nutrition Nutrition Observation. The Odyssey Oedipus Rex Oresteia Othello Overpopulation Paleontology Paradise Lost Philosophy Physics Place Political Science Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Pride and Prejudice Privacy Privatization Process Profile Proposal Public Health Public Schools Racial Profiling Racism A Raisin in the Sun Reflective Richard II & Richard III On the Road Romeo and Juliet School Choice School Violence School Vouchers Siddhartha Slaughterhouse-Five Smoking Social Work Song of Solomon Sonnets Sonnet 73 more... Sports Sports Stereotyping Steroids Steroids and Sports The Story of an Hour Sula Taming of the Shrew Teaching Technology Technology and Education Telecommunications The Tempest Test and Testing The Color Purple The Picture of Dorian Gray The Scarlet Letter Theology Things Fall Apart To Kill a Mockingbird Trifles TV Violence Twelfth Night Uncle Tom's Cabin Violence Virginia Woolf War on Drugs Wedding Speeches Wedding Toasts Welfare Where Are You Going Wife of Bath Women's Studies World History History - World A Worn Path Writing Wuthering Heights The Yellow Wallpaper

The essay is your megaphone — your view of the world and your ambitions. It’s not just a resume or a regurgitation of everything you’ve done. It needs to tell a story with passion, using personal, entertaining anecdotes that showcase your character, your interests, your values, your life experiences, your views of the world, your ambitions and even your sense of humor.


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(Bonus: starting early will also give you time to hand a strong draft of your essay to the teachers from whom you plan to request recommendation letters. If your recommenders know what you’re saying about yourself, they can help tell the same story about you—only from a different perspective. This is crucial because your application is a chance to offer not only the facts about you but also a narrative of you—a sense of who you are, how you move through the world, and what you hope to become. That means each component of your application—your Common App personal statement, your secondary essays, your teacher recommendations, the classes you’ve taken—is a kind of episode in the story.)


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After freeing up that block in my brain that told me that I shouldn’t look at guys in a certain way, I could embraced the fact that I’m attracted to men (and people in general) in a lot of different, new ways. My growth as a person was exponential. I rewrote so many areas of my life where I didn’t do things I wanted because of social conditioning. Within two months, my world expanded to include polyamory. I looked back on my past relationship with my girlfriend and realized that I wasn’t jealous (angry, yes. hurt, yes. But not jealous) when she cheated on me. I realized that people’s needs — whether they are for sex, someone to talk to, someone to engage intellectually — don’t necessarily all have to be met with one person. It can be easier sometimes with one person, absolutely. But that’s not the only way. As someone who is both polyamorus and queer, I feel like parts of my family and large parts of my community marginalize me for being different because society has told them to. I want to change that.
Even a personal statement can have a thesis. It’s important to remember that, though your ending can be somewhat ambiguous—something we’ll discuss more later—your set-up should give the reader a clear sense of where we’re headed. It doesn’t have to be obvious, and you can delay the thesis for a paragraph or two (as this writer does), but at some point in the first 100 words or so, we need to know we’re in good hands. We need to trust that this is going to be worth our time.
If you already have, erase them from memory and write the story you want colleges to hear. The truth is, admission reviewers rarely know—or care—which prompt you are responding to. They are curious to discover what you choose to show them about who you are, what you value, and why. Even the most fluid writers are often stifled by fitting their narrative neatly into a category and the essay quickly loses authentic voice. Write freely and choose a prompt later. Spoiler alert...one prompt is "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. " So have at it.
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Overall, this prompt is what we at College Essay Advisors call a “choose-your-own-adventure” prompt. It has historically served as a fabulous catch-all for subjects that don’t fit within the confines of the other prompt options. A recent addition to the Common App’s prompt selection now offers even more freedom to applicants (more on that later), but students should still think of Prompt #1 as a topic of immense choice, reeled in by a few helpful guidelines.
“Unpredictability and chaos” are very abstract, not easily visualized concepts. They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. By instantly following up with highly finite and unambiguous illustrations like “family of seven” and “siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing,” Stephen grounds the abstraction in something that is easy to picture: a large, noisy family.
The Common App essay is the best way for admissions committees to get to you know you. While SAT scores, your past course load, and your grades provide a quantitative picture of you as a student, the Common App essay offers adcoms a refreshing glimpse into your identity and personality. For this reason, try to treat the essay as an opportunity to tell colleges why you are unique and what matters to you.
Another example could be “language,” discussing how it has evolved and changed over the course of history, how it allows you to look deeper into different cultures, and how learning different languages stretches the mind. A tip for expanding on these topics and achieving specificity is to select particular details of the topic that you find intriguing and explain why.
For this essay, try finding a part of your identity that will set you apart and highlight the unique perspective you will bring to the university. Try to avoid writing an essay that a school will most likely get a million different times — for example, an essay about your talent playing a sport or your early love of learning. Think about an aspect of your personality, family or upbringing that is truly special.
In addition to just science, I am drawn to State University for other reasons. I strive to work with the diverse group of people that State University wholeheartedly accommodates – and who also share my mindset. They, like me, are there because State University respects the value of diversity. I know from personal experience that in order to achieve the trust, honesty, and success that State University values, new people are needed to create a respectful environment for these values. I feel that my background as an American Sikh will provide an innovative perspective in the university’s search for knowledge while helping it to develop a basis for future success. And that, truly, is the greatest success I can imagine.
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