2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts

The Common Application essay prompts have not changed this year. Take advantage of the summer to brainstorm deeply and find fruitful topics from your unique background and experiences. Let your ideas marinate and organically develop; invest significant time now so that you can worry less later.

Over the next several weeks, I will share tips and advice on tackling each of the 2018-2019 Common Application essay prompts as well as school-specific supplemental essays. I will also share some of my thoughts on writing college admissions essays more generally. In the meantime, read through and familiarize yourself with all of the 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. 

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? 

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 

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. 

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 

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?


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. 

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