Common App Brings Back the Topic of Choice Essay for 2017
Regular decisions for the class of 2021 are far from being released, but the college admissions process for current high school juniors is already revving up with the announcement of the 2017-18 Common Application essay prompts.
Over the past few admissions cycles the Common Application essay topics have remained the same, sometimes with minor language changes. This year, in addition to some revisions to the current prompts, there are also two new prompts, including the reintroduction of the “topic of choice” essay, which the Common App dropped in 2013. The Coalition App, which launched last year, notably included a “topic of choice” essay prompt in its first application.
Every year the Common Application reevaluates the standard essay prompts, soliciting feedback from counselors, admissions officers, students and more. The Common Application essay underwent major changes in 2013, with the revision of the prompts, the elimination of the topic of choice essay, and a longer word limit.
Here are the essay prompts for the 2017-18 Common App:
- 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 lessons we take from obstacles we encountercan 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?
- Reflect on a time when you 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. 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.
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realizationthat sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- 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?
- 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.
What do you think of the 2017-18 Common App essay prompts? Which do you think you will respond to on your application in the fall? Tell us in the comments below!
Ready to get started on your essays? Here's some college application essay advice from one of our expert counselors!
Devin: Show Your Humanity in Your Essay from IvyWise on Vimeo.
The 2012-2013 Common Application won’t formally launch until August 1, but the Common Application essay prompts are already out.
Don’t forget, if prompts 1-5 don’t interest you, you can always write on #6: topic of your choice.
Here are the 2012 Common Application prompts:
Please write an essay of 250 – 500 words on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below:
- Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have
- Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
- Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
- Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
- A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that .illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.
- Topic of your choice.
Having trouble knowing where to start? Write down anything that immediately comes to mind. Ask yourself what experiences in your life have been important to you, and what you’ve learned from them. Mull your ideas over, then write a little bit on the one or two topics that interest you. You’ll be well on your way to writing your college application essay (and beat the friends who’ve waiting until fall).
How to Succeed with the Common Application 500 word limit, part 1
How to Succeed with the Common Application 500 word limit, part 2
How to Succeed with the Common Application 500 word limit, part 3
How to Succeed with the Common Application 500 word limit, part 4
..Sharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting
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Categories: Common Application Essay Prompts | Tags: Common Application 2012 Prompts, common application essay, Common Application personal statement, writing the college application essay | Permalink.
Author: Sharon Epstein
College consultant, teaching students how to write memorable college application essays, grad school and prep school essays, and succeed at job and college interviews.