This year’s Common Application (aka The Common App) is out and students all across the country are toiling away to file theirs in time. While you may still have a few months before the submission deadline hits, that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to get started.
The biggest reason for kicking things off early is to get your brain in gear for the personal essay you’ll have to write.
Your personal essay (also known as your personal statement) is one of the most crucial elements of your college application, and should not be something you rush through. The personal essay is your chance to show colleges what a transcript can’t — it allows you to exhibit what makes you tick and why you would be a strong addition to a college’s incoming freshman class.
This year’s offering of essay prompts is one of the most diverse yet, and each is looking for something different. Before you start stressing over how you’ll ever get your essay done, read over our breakdown of each prompt. Understanding what these prompts are really asking will give you a better understanding of how to approach — and totally own — your Common App essay.
ESSAY PROMPT #1:
Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
What this prompt is really asking: What is an aspect of your personal character that is crucial to who you are?
The reason why it matters: These days there is no cookie-cutter student with a guaranteed ride to any school. Things are as competitive as ever and colleges want to see what a prospective student can offer beyond a GPA.
How you can tackle it: Think about the things you’re most passionate about in life. It could be art, sports, volunteering — heck, even playing video games! The point is to show that there are elements of your character that define you as an individual. Be sure to make it a point to show how this facet of your life has helped you learn.