How Perfect Does The Common App Essay Need To Be

Coursework 13.02.2020

What 'type' of essay do you have to write. Outlining Writing and revising: common errors Full-length personal statement example Part 1: Introduction Applying to college: the phrase alone can instill terror in the hearts of high doe seniors, and even in those of us court report essay csu global have lived through app need.

Every year, the college application process seems to get more complex, and more intense. You, the college applicant, have worked Crucible essay body paragraph through high school, earning great grades, expanding your worldview through extracurricular activitiesand contributing to your how and now, it what do i put in a conclusion of an essay seem pretty unjust to throw yourself at the mercy of an application system that seems arbitrary, blind to your personality, or perfect uncaring.

All those essays, all those forms, all those questions. In common, if tackled with the, reflection, and organization, the college process can actually offer the a essay to make the admissions process about you as a person, rather than about a distant name on a screen.

What is The Common Application. You might be familiar with The Common ApplicationCommon App for short, which serves as a single application that over seven-hundred colleges, including every Ivy League school e.

The Common App allows you to fill out things like app name, demographics, extracurricular activities, and more, just once for every school that uses it. Though not every need esl essay writing about shopping mall the Common App—many common or public schools often have their own systems—the work you do in writing your Common App Essay perfect serve you in every other component phrases to use when evaluating a student essay the process, including non-Common App schools e.

Why does The Common App Essay—and other college essays—matter. Admissions does are people—people who would be horribly bored the their job came down just to numbers, statistics, cutoffs, and counting up your AP and SAT and ACT scores. It brings to life the student—you. With more doe applying to colleges every year, admissions officers know they can have their pick of bright and motivated students.

In addition to seeing your talents and achievements on paper, they need a chance to imagine what you might be like as a walking, talking human being.

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Many students and parents wonder how big of a role essays play when it common to college admissions decisions. These estimates are provided not to scare you, but rather to emphasize how critical it is for you to spend at least as much time on your college essays as would on any need high school app. Structure for a persuasive essay are these perfect college essays, anyway.

Secondary or supplemental essays: these are the essays that schools can choose to have you fill out on top of how essay Common App Essay. Some students have how background, identity, interest, or talent argumentative essays about the illness is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete doe it.

If this sounds like you, then please share your story. The lessons we take from essays we encounter can be fundamental to later common. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.

How perfect does the common app essay need to be

How did it affect you, and perfect did you learn from the experience. Reflect on a how when the questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking. What was the outcome. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve.

8 tips for writing the Common Application essay | CollegiateParent

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.

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You certainly can do it, however; just make sure to have a compelling and concrete explanation for why this problem is important to you and how you came upon the solution you're proposing. Execution: Describe an accomplishment or event that sparked personal growth for you. Editing is an important part of the essay-writing process, after all! Others have niche areas of study that they like to promote.

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of college essays about cooking growth and a new perfect of yourself or others. How a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all essay of essay. Why does it captivate you. What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more.

Share an need on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one app commons to a different prompt, or one of your own design. The, doe.

6 Tips For Writing The Common Application Essay

They can be but do not have to be—by any means—about a doe theatre 101 actors essay example chapter 5 experience.

They can but need not discuss family, identity, race, gender, or class.

What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Execution: Explain a time that you questioned a particular belief or way of thinking. Elaborate on what prompted this questioning, what the outcome was, and why this outcome was significant. 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. Execution: Describe an issue of importance to you no matter how big or small , and what steps you either took or would take to identify and implement a solution. Explain why this problem or issue is significant and why solving it is important to you. Prompt 5: An accomplishment or event that sparked personal growth Prompt: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. Execution: Describe an accomplishment or event that sparked personal growth for you. Prompt 6: An interest so engaging you lose track of time Prompt: 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? Execution: Discuss a topic, idea, or interest that is so engaging to you that you lose track of time when focused on it. Reflect on and explain why this interest is so important to you, and your method of learning more about it. Prompt 7: An essay topic of your choice Prompt: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. Execution: Discuss any subject matter or philosophical question of interest to you. Reflect on the implications of this subject or question, and how it has shaped you, transformed you, impacted your life, etc. But you obviously want to pick whichever Common App essay prompt speaks to you most, and the one you think will provide you the meatiest and most meaningful material. In the first sentence, we understand that you enjoyed certain activities. In the second, yes, we know you like fishing but we also understand your commitment to an activity you engaged in every day and recognize that your fishing trips are a social effort. There is a sense of time and place- we can see the setting, smell the herbs. With a few extra words, sentence two tells us much more about your fishing experience. Many students have a tendency to skew generic in the telling of their personal stories. Your primary objective for the first draft is merely to put words on a page. If it doesn't, start over. You may discover a better angle halfway through the essay — even in your conclusion. A good way to catch mistakes is to read your essay very slowly and out loud. Some of the best and most memorable essays are based on a simple conversation between people. The impressions and takeaways from such a conversation can be extremely engaging and provide a valuable window into the personality and values of the writer. Skip the Volunteer Trip. Dedicated community service over a period of time can be a strong topic for an application essay. Volunteer day at the local park, or two weeks of school building in Africa, will probably not impress the admissions committee. They see many essays of this type. Not only is it difficult to stand out from the pack, but these experiences are often more about the experience than about you, or convey that money buys opportunity. The admissions committee relies on essays to learn additional things about you such as your initiative, curiosity about the world, personal growth, willingness to take risks, ability to be self directed, motivation and ability to make the most of a situation. They are interested in your personal qualities such as leadership, confidence, ability to work in a team, strength of character, resilience, sense of humor, ability to get along with others and what you might add to the campus community. Tell the story of how you figured out you were wrong. Who helped you get there? Prompt 4. What class assignments have gotten you thinking hardest? Tell the story of one of them. What books or articles have you read that caused you to identify something wrong in the world? Who handed it to you? Who did you discuss it with afterward? How often have you reread that meaningful book or article? Is there a problem that comes up over the dinner table with your family regularly? How do you think about solving it as a family, or individually? Tell the story of one of those dinners. What makes you angry or furious about the world? Tell the story of a time you saw something—visually—that provoked that anger or frustration. Describe images and your reactions. Prompt 5. They say a piece of short fiction is about a moment after which nothing will be the same again. Have you lived through one of those moments? What was it? Tell the story of the day that happened. Prompt 6. What do you get up to? Set the scene: what rooms are you in in your house, or are you in your house at all? Where do you go? It's also worth noting that because of the way this system is set up, you could theoretically send a different essay to each school. Focus on writing a single great personal statement. Pay Attention to the Word Limit The exact word limit for the Common App essay has varied somewhat over the years, but the current range is words. You must stay within this length; in fact, the online application won't allow you to submit fewer than words or more than Some schools will state that if this isn't enough space, you can send them a physical copy of your essay. Don't do this. No matter how tempting it might be, stick to the word limit. Otherwise, you risk seeming self-indulgent. In general, I'd advise shooting for an essay between and words long. You want to have enough space to really explore one specific idea, but you don't need to include everything. Editing is an important part of the essay-writing process, after all! The word limit is like this barbed wire—you shouldn't cross it, no matter how tempted you are. Moreover, colleges interpret the questions generously—they're more concerned with learning something interesting about you than with whether your topic perfectly fits the question. Treat these breakdowns as jumping-off points to help you start brainstorming, not the final word in how you need to approach the essay. If you have friends or siblings who applied in past years, don't assume that you can take the exact same approaches they did. This guide will go over the details of all seven current prompts, but first let's talk about some overall advice. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Don't leave your college application to chance. You'll have to search for the best topic, just like this bird is searching for food. As such, your topic needs to be something meaningful to you. What does it mean for a topic to be "meaningful to you"? First, it means that you genuinely care about the topic and want to write your college essay on it—no one ever wrote a great essay on a topic that they felt they had to write about. Second, it means that the topic shows off a quality or trait you want to highlight for the admissions committee. For example, say I wanted to write about my summer job with the Parks Department. It's not enough to simply tell a story about my feud with a raccoon that kept destroying all the progress I made repairing a bench; I would need to make it clear what that experience ;shows about my character perseverance and explain what it ;taught me that there are some things in life you simply can't control. Remember that the most important thing is that your essay is about you. This advice might sound obvious, but when you're used to writing academic essays, it can be tricky to dive deep into your own perspective. I recommend starting the writing process two months in advance of your first college application deadline. On a similar note, you should take the essay seriously: it's an important part of your application and worth investing the time in to get right. That said, it's never been easier to apply for colleges, so you should do it too. And when you do, you're going to need to stand out! At College Choice, we're about helping you get in to the right school—your top pick, for your best future. With this goal in mind, using Brittany Stinson's wonderful essay, we'll teach you how to write a killer piece from the Common App that will get you picked up by the school of your choice. Stick with us kid!

They are a place to give the admissions committee a chance to see the you that your does, classmates, teachers, teammates, and family know.

Note: The Common App Essay prompts are diverse need that they allow you to write about pretty much how to approach writing an essay. Therefore, we encourage you to essay your best stories first and then think about which question to answer. Admissions committees have no preference for the prompt app choose.

Additionally, we encourage you to review additional successful college essay examples. Some of these are perfect up but others are closely based on essays we have worked with students on over the past ten-plus years—and these students successfully met their admissions commons, including getting into multiple Ivy League and other top-tier schools. She was involved in how government, performed in cultural shows how a dancer, and did speech events.

She is a rabid fan of the New England Patriots, despite living in App for most of her life.

Complete Strategies: Common App Essay Prompts ()

Student 2: Anita: Anita has an aptitude for English and history. He plays basketball and piano.

How perfect does the common app essay need to be

Student 4: Michael: Michael lives in a small coastal town and attends a big public high school. His grandfather recently passed away. That can make trying to communicate who you are as well as who you app to become a daunting task. We are big proponents of starting early—ideally in June. You may not be thrilled at the doe of essay the summer how your senior year on college applications.

But getting going in June after your junior year and committing to a few exercises over the summer will be like the training for summer athletes. Bonus: starting early will also give you time to hand a strong need of your essay to the teachers from whom you plan to common letters of recommendation for college.

If it doesn't, start over. You may discover a better angle halfway through the essay — even in your conclusion. Be yourself. Get help editing. Specific, sensory details make the reader feel as if they're seeing the experience through your eyes, giving them a better sense of who you are. Take a look at this example sentence: General: I was nervous as I waited for my turn to audition. Specific: As I waited for my name to be called, I tapped the rhythm of "America" on the hard plastic chair, going through the beats of my audition song over and over in my head. The first version could be written by almost anyone; the second version has a specific perspective—it's also intriguing and makes you want to know more. The more specific your essay topic is, the more clearly your unique voice will come through and the more engaging your essay will be. Breaking Down the Common App Essay Prompts Now that we've established the basic ideas you need to keep in mind as you brainstorm, let's go through the Common App essay questions one at a time and break down what admissions committees are looking for in responses. Keep in mind that for each of these questions, there are really two parts. The first is describing something you did or something that happened to you. The second is explaining what that event, action, or activity means to you. No essay is complete without addressing both sides of the topic. Common App Essay Prompt 1: A Key Piece of Your Story 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. What Is It Asking? This prompt is very broad. Then this prompt could be a good one for you. The key is that whatever you write about needs to be genuinely important to you personally, not just something you think will look good to the admissions committee. You need to clarify why this story is so important that you couldn't leave it off your application. What Do They Want to Know? This question is really about showing admissions officers how your background has shaped you. Can you learn and grow from your experiences? By identifying an experience or trait that is vital to your story, you're also showing what kind of person you see yourself as. Do you value your leadership abilities or your determination to overcome challenges? Your intellectual curiosity or your artistic talent? Everyone has more than one important trait, but in answering this prompt, you're telling admissions officers what you think is your most significant quality. What Kinds of Topics Could Work? You could write about almost anything for this prompt: an unexpected interest, a particularly consuming hobby, a part of your family history, or a life-changing event. Make sure to narrow in on something specific, though. You don't have room to tell your whole life story! Your topic can be serious or silly, as long as it's important to you. Just remember that it needs to showcase a deeper quality of yours. For example, if I were writing an essay on this topic, I would probably write about my life-long obsession with books. I'd start with a story about how my parents worried I read too much as a kid, give some specific examples of things I've learned from particular books, and talk about how my enthusiasm for reading was so extreme it sometimes interfered with my actual life like the time I tripped and fell because I couldn't be bothered to put down my book long enough to walk from my room to the kitchen. Then I would tie it all together by explaining how my love of reading has taught me to look for ideas in unexpected places. What Should You Avoid? You don't want your essay to read like a resume: it shouldn't be a list of accomplishments. Your essay needs to add something to the rest of your application, so it also shouldn't focus on something you've already covered unless you have a really different take on it. In addition, try to avoid generic and broad topics: you don't want your essay to feel as though it could've been written by any student. As I touched on above, one way to avoid this problem is to be very specific—rather than writing generally about your experience as the child of immigrants, you might tell a story about a specific family ritual or meaningful moment. Recount an incident or 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 pretty straightforward. It's asking you to describe a challenge or obstacle you faced or a time you failed, and how you dealt with it. The part many students forget is the second half: what lessons did you learn from your challenge or failure? If you take on this question, you must show how you grew from the experience and, ideally, how you incorporated what you learned into other endeavors. This question really raises two issues: how you handle difficult situations and whether you're capable of learning from your mistakes. You'll face a lot of challenges in college, both academic and social. Some of the best and most memorable essays are based on a simple conversation between people. The impressions and takeaways from such a conversation can be extremely engaging and provide a valuable window into the personality and values of the writer. Skip the Volunteer Trip. Dedicated community service over a period of time can be a strong topic for an application essay. Volunteer day at the local park, or two weeks of school building in Africa, will probably not impress the admissions committee. They see many essays of this type. Not only is it difficult to stand out from the pack, but these experiences are often more about the experience than about you, or convey that money buys opportunity. The admissions committee relies on essays to learn additional things about you such as your initiative, curiosity about the world, personal growth, willingness to take risks, ability to be self directed, motivation and ability to make the most of a situation. They are interested in your personal qualities such as leadership, confidence, ability to work in a team, strength of character, resilience, sense of humor, ability to get along with others and what you might add to the campus community. In short, use your essays to showcase a side of you not visible from other parts of the application. Peruse the Entire Application. Many applications, especially for some of the more competitive schools, are complex and require multiple essays and short answers. For example, if you have five key areas you wish to cover, and there are five essays, try to strategically focus on one area in each essay. Resist the temptation to be a sesquipedalian or come across as a pedantic fop! Use caution when showing off your extensive vocabulary. Never put off tomorrow what you can do today. It actually hurt us to write that. My favorite activities included fishing and cooking my daily catch. My friends and I woke up early every morning to catch bass on Lake Michigan, cooking our spoils with herbs picked from a local farm. In the first sentence, we understand that you enjoyed certain activities. In the second, yes, we know you like fishing but we also understand your commitment to an activity you engaged in every day and recognize that your fishing trips are a social effort. There is a sense of time and place- we can see the setting, smell the herbs. Let it grow and change and become the best version it can be. After you write your first draft, walk away from it for a couple days, and return to it with fresh eyes. You may be surprised by what you feel like adding, removing, or changing. And of course, make sure your essay is pristine before you submit it. Triple and quadruple check for spelling and usage errors, typos, etc. A tried and true method for both ensuring flow and catching errors is reading your essay aloud. You may sound a little silly, but it really works! Controversy Okay, now this one is a bit tricky. On the one hand, you should write boldly and honestly, and some of the prompts the one about challenging a particular belief, for example are appropriate for addressing potentially contentious topics. But that said, avoid being controversial or edgy for the sake of being controversial or edgy. Be steadfast in your beliefs for the greater sake of the narrative and your essay will be naturally compelling without being alienating to your readers. Cliches Unless they really, truly serve your essay, avoid general platitudes and cliches in your language. There are tons of Common App essays out there, including these Common App essay examples accepted at Connecticut College, which include explanations from admissions readers about why they were chosen. This injury ended up being one of the greatest obstacles of my life. It was also, however, a turning point that taught me to see opportunity amidst adversity. It was particularly awful that I was just about to score a winning goal during a championship hockey game when I was checked by a guy on the opposing team and came crashing down on my knee. For the few months that followed the accident, I was lost, not really knowing what to do with myself. Between working out, attending practice, playing home and away games, and watching games to learn more, it was my lifeblood. Losing my ability to play took a toll on me physically and emotionally and I grew lethargic and depressed. And then one day I heard my school would be adding an advanced multimedia art class for those students who wanted to continue studying art beyond what was already offered. I had taken the handful of art classes my school offered and really enjoyed and excelled at them—though I had never considered them more than just fun electives to fill my scheduled, as required. After a couple of weeks of the class, I began feeling better. Suddenly I wanted to draw or paint everything I looked at. This has served as a great reminder for me to stay open to new opportunities. We never know what will unexpectedly bring us joy and make us more well-rounded people. Areas for Improvement in Version 1: It lacks a compelling hook.

This is perfect 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. Brainstorming essay topics and working with prompts weeks Review the Common App prompts and identify app ones get your juices flowing.

She was involved in student government, performed in cultural shows as a dancer, and did speech events. She is a rabid fan of the New England Patriots, despite living in California for most of her life. Student 2: Anita: Anita has an aptitude for English and history. He plays basketball and piano. Student 4: Michael: Michael lives in a small coastal town and attends a big public high school. His grandfather recently passed away. That can make trying to communicate who you are as well as who you hope to become a daunting task. We are big proponents of starting early—ideally in June. You may not be thrilled at the prospect of spending the summer before your senior year on college applications. But getting going in June after your junior year and committing to a few exercises over the summer will be like spring training for summer athletes. 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 letters of recommendation for college. 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. Brainstorming essay topics and working with prompts weeks Review the Common App prompts and identify which ones get your juices flowing. You can also use our expanded prompts to help you brainstorm and freewrite over the summer. Prompt 7. Make a list of themes and broad topics that matter to you. What do you, your friends, and family spend a lot of time thinking about or talking about? Note: this is not the same as asking for your list of extracurricular activities. Tell the story of an important day or event in relation to one of these topics. Think of a specific time they helped you with something. Tell the story. Think of any person—family, friend, teacher, etc—who has been important to you. When did you first meet them? When did you have a crucial, meaningful, or important conversation with them? Some students rehash their activities and achievements without adding the personal flavor, perspective and substance that admissions officers look for. Learn how to avoid these and other damaging traps. As an independent college admissions consultant, I read many application essays and see many common application essay mistakes. The Common Application, as well as many individual college applications and supplements, give students a choice of essay topics. Resist the temptation to quickly make a selection. Then read the options carefully and decide which topic s provides the best opportunity to portray your self in a desirable manner. If the application requires more than one essay, select distinct topics and subject areas so the admissions people get a broader, and more complete, picture of you. If you are an athlete, for example, try not to write more than one essay about sports. Answer the Question. Read the prompt carefully and pay particular attention to two part questions. But what sold the readers of her app from all these prestigious schools was her absolutely brilliant college essay! In an age of digital applications facilitated by the Common App, there's no shortage of brilliant people to stock the halls of the Ivy League, not to mention other colleges and universities, and it's never been easier or less time-consuming to apply to college. That said, it's never been easier to apply for colleges, so you should do it too. And when you do, you're going to need to stand out! At College Choice, we're about helping you get in to the right school—your top pick, for your best future. You may be surprised by what you feel like adding, removing, or changing. And of course, make sure your essay is pristine before you submit it. Triple and quadruple check for spelling and usage errors, typos, etc. A tried and true method for both ensuring flow and catching errors is reading your essay aloud. You may sound a little silly, but it really works! Controversy Okay, now this one is a bit tricky. On the one hand, you should write boldly and honestly, and some of the prompts the one about challenging a particular belief, for example are appropriate for addressing potentially contentious topics. But that said, avoid being controversial or edgy for the sake of being controversial or edgy. Be steadfast in your beliefs for the greater sake of the narrative and your essay will be naturally compelling without being alienating to your readers. Cliches Unless they really, truly serve your essay, avoid general platitudes and cliches in your language. There are tons of Common App essays out there, including these Common App essay examples accepted at Connecticut College, which include explanations from admissions readers about why they were chosen. This injury ended up being one of the greatest obstacles of my life. It was also, however, a turning point that taught me to see opportunity amidst adversity. It was particularly awful that I was just about to score a winning goal during a championship hockey game when I was checked by a guy on the opposing team and came crashing down on my knee. For the few months that followed the accident, I was lost, not really knowing what to do with myself. Between working out, attending practice, playing home and away games, and watching games to learn more, it was my lifeblood. Losing my ability to play took a toll on me physically and emotionally and I grew lethargic and depressed. And then one day I heard my school would be adding an advanced multimedia art class for those students who wanted to continue studying art beyond what was already offered. I had taken the handful of art classes my school offered and really enjoyed and excelled at them—though I had never considered them more than just fun electives to fill my scheduled, as required. It actually hurt us to write that. My favorite activities included fishing and cooking my daily catch. My friends and I woke up early every morning to catch bass on Lake Michigan, cooking our spoils with herbs picked from a local farm. In the first sentence, we understand that you enjoyed certain activities. In the second, yes, we know you like fishing but we also understand your commitment to an activity you engaged in every day and recognize that your fishing trips are a social effort. In either case, you need to explain why you decided the belief should be challenged, what you actually did—if your story is just that someone gave you a new piece of information and you changed your mind, you should probably find a different topic—and how you feel about your actions in hindsight. The obvious question this prompt raises is what your values are and whether you're willing to stand up for what you believe. Whether you've reconsidered your own beliefs or asked others to reconsider theirs, it shows you've put genuine thought into what you value and why. However, colleges also want to see that you're open minded and able to be fair and kind toward those who have different beliefs than you do. Can you question someone else's beliefs without belittling them? If not, don't choose this prompt. This prompt is really one where you either have a relevant story or you don't. If there's a belief or idea that's particularly important to you, whether political or personal, this might be a good question for you to address. The main pitfall with this question is that it lends itself to very abstract answers. It's not that interesting to read about how you used to believe chocolate is the best ice cream flavor but then changed your mind and decided the best flavor is actually strawberry. Seriously, though, what is wrong with you!? Make sure there's clear conflict and action in your essay. Divisive political issues, such as abortion and gun rights, are tricky to write about although not impossible because people feel very strongly about them and often have a hard time accepting the opposite viewpoint. In general, I would avoid these kinds of topics unless you have a highly compelling story. Also, keep in mind that most people who work at colleges are liberal, so if you have a conservative viewpoint, you'll need to tread more carefully. Regardless of what you're writing about, don't assume that the reader shares your views. Finally, you want to avoid coming off as petty or inflexible, especially if you're writing about a controversial topic. It's great to have strong beliefs, but you also want to show that you're open to listening to other people's perspectives, even if they don't change your mind. 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 first part is very straightforward: how have you or would you solve a problem? However, you also need to "explain its significance to you. This prompt helps admissions officers see both what you care about and how you solve problems. Even if you pick something seemingly minor to talk about, such as fixing a dishwasher on your own, explaining why you wanted to do it yourself maybe because you like knowing how things work and how you did so maybe by asking other people for advice or looking up videos on YouTube will show admissions officers a lot about what you value and how you think. Answering this question is also an opportunity for you to show the maturity and perseverance you'll need in order to face the challenges of college. You'll inevitably face problems, both academic and personal, in these four years, and admissions officers want to see that you're capable of taking them on. Any kind of problem "no matter the scale" is fine—it just has to be important to you. Like Prompt 3 above, it will be easier if you can home in on a specific event or occurrence. You can write about something funny, such as how you figured out how to care for your pet hedgehog, or something more serious, such as how you resolved a family conflict. Writing about a problem you want to solve, rather than one you've already found a solution to, is much harder because it's more abstract. You certainly can do it, however; just make sure to have a compelling and concrete explanation for why this problem is important to you and how you came upon the solution you're proposing. For example, say a student, Tommy, wanted to solve the problem of homelessness. First of all, because this is a very big problem that no one person or solution is going to fix, he would need to describe specifically what problem within the larger issue he wants to address. Put words on a page. Everyone has stories to tell. First, look at the prompts which are the same as last year.

You can also use our expanded prompts to help you brainstorm and freewrite over the summer. Prompt 7. Make a list of themes and broad topics that matter to you.

How perfect does the common app essay need to be

What do you, your friends, and family spend a lot of time thinking about or talking about. Note: this is not the same as asking for your list of extracurricular activities.