Strategies for 2015-2016 Common Application Essays
Common Application Essay Choice 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.
Think of the Common App essay topics as starting points. As Yale Admissions says, "It doesn't matter which topics you choose, as long as they are meaningful to you. Your perspective—the lens through which you view your topic—is far more important than the specific topic itself."
2015-16 Common Application Essay Prompts: A Guide
Luckily for you, the former has prevented me from writing a long, sappy post about the latter. (I guess I've , anyway.) To mark the occasion, I figured I'd throw out something a little more entertaining: my Common App essay -- completely unedited, in all its original glory. I don't remember what the prompt was, but man, did I have fun writing it.
Hello parents and students! The time has come. The 2015-2016 college application season has officially begun. The Common Application essay topics have been confirmed and students all over the world are getting ready to warm up their creative brains and typing fingers and launch into essay-writing action. We at CEA love the new (and mostly improved) essay questions, which are quite similar to last year’s choices. The new prompts are refreshingly open to creative interpretation, allowing room for personal expression while also delineating some helpful guidelines for students to follow. While it is true that the Common Application essay prompts are quite flexible, it is still helpful to know just what admissions will be looking for when they read personal statements in each of these categories. What are these questions really asking? How do the prompts intend to pull students down the path of self-reflection? How can they be used to showcase a student’s best assets and personality? Below, I break down each of the five prompts, delivering tips and tricks for answering each of these provocative prompts. Keep in mind, students only have to choose and respond to one of the five choices- unless they feel like answering the other four just for fun. To any students for whom this is the case, please contact me immediately upon your college graduation because you’re hired. Now, for the breakdown!1. Think small: When writing the Common Application essay, too many students feel compelled to try and squeeze their entire life story into 650 words. This, friends, is impossible. It is almost always better to think small first. Find a story or event in your life that really meant something to you. Did you win a competition at the last second? Was your family stranded on vacation with no power for five days? Have you read something recently that blew your mind? Now ask yourself- are any of these stories representative of my larger, most valuable qualities? The perfect essay topic showcases your personality, passions and/or ambitions without trying to do too much at once. Talking about your family’s adoption of a three-legged dog and how your pet’s perseverance and quirky attitude influenced the way you live your life, will make a better essay than a super general diatribe on why you like dogs, for example. If you find yourself getting lost while writing, ask: what am I trying to say about myself, and am I using a specific, compelling example to tell my story?