2016-2017 Common App Essay Prompts and How to Prepare for Them

promptsStudents who apply to colleges and universities via their Common App account have a major benefit compared to others who send applications to colleges individually. All they need to do is select a list of preferred colleges and fill in the form, write an application essay, and track the deadlines from their dashboard. What is also handy, the Common App provides you with important and timely essay prompts. This year, the prompts have remained the same as last year. For those who missed it, we are presenting the five 2016-2017 Common App essay prompts.

One Prominent Characteristic of Yours

Write about something that makes you “you”. It can be a part of your identity, your cultural, social, or ethnic background, or maybe your personality trait. This might be an interest of yours of a talent that you have and which you continuously develop. It should be a big part of you, so meaningful that you wouldn’t be complete without it. If you can think of a peculiarity or idiosyncrasy like this, you can write about it.

Your Encounter with Failure

Recall the time when you failed at something. How did you deal with it? What impact did it make on you and what did you learn from it? Do you agree that, in order to succeed, you need to fail at least once?

Challenged Beliefs

People tend to make decisions based on their preexisting beliefs. Often, these are also our ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong. At times, it’s very helpful — it spares our resources, as we do not need to think about every solution from the very start. But sometimes it turns out that the right decision is the opposite direction. Can you remember a time when you deliberately challenged a common belief, idea or authority, before making a decision? What was the outcome? Would you do that again?

Solving a Problem

Every applicant can share his or her unique and often valuable experience of solving a problem. This problem can be really any challenge that you are facing or have faced. It might be a physical or an intellectual one. It may be a study problem or a complex dilemma of ethical character. Tell why it is important to tell about this particular problem. Talk about the key steps that you took to resolve it.

Your Transition to Adulthood

Share an experience or event which signified your transition to adulthood. When did you feel yourself grown up for the first time? Was it something that you accomplished on your own or was it a realization of something, a new knowledge that you gained? What was its impact on you?

Of these five essay prompts above, a majority of applicants preferred the first one. While, according to the Common App statistics, 47% of the students chose to write about their identity, personal traits, or interests, it doesn’t mean that you should do the same. Think which of the following topic prompts appeals to you personally and write about it in your paper.

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