How to Write the Common Application Essays

How to Write the Common Application Essays 2017-2018

A Common App essay is an important tool that helps the adcoms get better acquainted with an applicant in order to understand his or her abilities and inclinations in the context of admission to a particular educational institution. Limited in length (with the word limit of 650 words) the essay requires an applicant’s ability to craft a concise but informatory paper. While the applicant’s grades and SAT scores only convey a quantitative characteristic, the best way to learn each applicant’s personality is reading his or her Common Application essay. That’s why the applicants may consider the essay as a unique opportunity to introduce themselves to their possible future alma mater and display their creative capabilities in a most eloquent way.

Since the essay will be submitted to a great number of colleges and universities, its content should be kind of multi-purpose while more particular creative affections should be kept aside for supplemental essays. In other words, try to be a conspicuous and eloquent writer and craft a paper of what you love most be it politics, archaeology, or your favorite music style. Here you can be freer to express yourself than in a job interview. For example, you definitely need not follow the well-known five-paragraph essay pattern.

In the present post, we would like to provide a few tips that will explain you how to write the Common Application essays 2017-2018 to attain a maximum result. As a general approach we suggest that you have in mind some basic suggestions that will help you display your identity. First, you should help the adcoms understand who you are and why you are applying. Write about your inclinations, talents and experiences and explain how you think you would benefit from taking a particular course type. Secondly, you should follow a few simple rules, which are quite general and similar for a wide range of essay types. Namely, try to be fairly descriptive – “show don’t tell”, be specific – don’t get distracted by secondary issues, and avoid repeating other people’s thoughts (clichés and quotations). And thirdly, follow one (or more if suitable) of the prompts generously provided by the Common Application Community to orient and guide your creative flow. And now let us try to help you interpret the current seven prompts for the benefit of your essay. This guide will help you answer the questions that may arose on the first glance at the prompts.

Prompt #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.

The prompt offers an applicant the opportunity to share a personal experience that is truly meaningful and may perfectly display his or her identity. An inconvenient hobby like collecting Peruvian antiquities can certainly attract attention. However, the topic need not be absolutely unique, as your aim is not to shock the admission officer. You may tell about your relationships with relatives or friends, your practice in sports, music or arts. An appropriate subject would be your dominant personal trait. For instance, an experienced traveler could tell how his or her inclination to visit new places helps in learning important facts and making friends.

Being interested in something does not always mean being engaged in it. So telling about your interest is a nice way to let know about another side of your personality. For example, if you play the piano and at the same time are an aficionado of Boston Celtics, it imparts a fresh trait to your essay.

Prompt #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?

This prompt is about your experience in dealing with adversities. You may choose to write about an obviously non-critical problem like failing to win at a beauty contest or about a really serious occasion that impacted your personality and left strong consequences in your development. You may share your recollections about a failure that nearly made you give up and stop looking for a solution. But certainly your audience would love to learn what you did next, that is what your response was.

For example, some day in the past you broke with a friend as a consequence of a quarrel.  You can reassess your decision and identify who was actually wrong and why. Did you undertake any action to settle the conflict? If you think you were wrong, did you apologize?  Your analysis of both sides in such a conflict would show your position and would be welcome. Maybe that experience has changed the way you behave in a personal conflict. From that individual quarrel, you can pass to ethics and moral values

If you fortunately have not the above-mentioned kind of experience, maybe you recall a repeated annoyance like a colleague’s irritating habit to say the same joke many times. Tell about your response to the situation.

Prompt #3

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

This prompt is quite difficult to develop into a full-fledged story, because most people of student age have never been engaged in any activities that involve real ideological struggle. But there may be a more probable alternative. For example you supported a person who was for some reason considered an outcast in your class as sometimes (not so seldom) happens among the school community. Such your deed speaks for itself and displays important traits of your personality.

Prompt #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.

The prompt assumes different responses. It may be either a problem that you have actually resolved or one that you only plan to address. That former is an experience – just recall a relevant situation from your past. Even a young person surely has had a more or less serious problematic situation that he or she managed to fix. Obviously the adcom officers will be first of all interested in the abilities that you displayed in the process.

We advise you against such trivial small challenges as the need to pass an exam. Attaining good treatment from a person that was previously biased against you would sound much more interesting and strongly speak in your favor.

The other way to address this prompt is sharing your plans to overcome some negative phenomenon. Certainly this is a place where may you choose an ambitions problem that you intend to solve in the future. Your response will benefit if you tackle an original problem somehow related to you community or to your personal experience. The choice of a global problem like “curing AIDS” for your essay is definitely worse.

Prompt #5

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

The prompt suggests you to choose in your past something that in one way or another promoted you in your carrier or personal development. You can easily use for this prompt simple examples of your cooperation in some activity with a relative, friend or colleague. For instance, you helped your parents work in the garden and you acquired relevant skills, realized the particular features of that kind of work and learned something new about yourself (like the level of your endurance for physical work, a liking for outdoors activities or a willpower to make yourself complete a tedious toil).

Overall, the scope of responses for this prompt is wide. Among the events that spark personal growth may be an exciting film, a concert of a talented violinist or a casual acquaintance with a professional.

Prompt #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?

The prompt makes you recollect something really impressive that once happened to you. An event so strongly termed must have changed your life and you must remember it well. But certainly the prompt does not only mean an instantaneous event when you learned about that captivating topic or idea, but rather a stage in your personal development during which you realized its attractiveness. In any case such a strong impression never passes away and its consequences are with you now be it in the form of your current occupation, political attitude or a hobby.

Your response should focus of convincing the readers that your passion is truly worth enthusiasm. For that purpose you can use all your descriptive talent. For instance if it is cooking, you should do your best to describe all the skills necessary to make a decent dish. You should be able to tell the reader which garnish suits best for meat dishes and which pairs of flavor do not blend together well. And how to develop your cooking skills into chef’s artistry.

Prompt #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.

A totally free and open-end prompt. At the same time risky and promising. You may choose it if the topic you wish to write about does not align with the rest of the prompts.

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