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Another (perhaps more powerful) tactic with this essay is to write about a more foundational failure and then assess its impact on your development thereafter.This allows you to tackle more meaty questions about ethics (perhaps you cheated on a test and felt horrible about it), morality (maybe you stole something, your parents berated you for it, and now you hate theft to such a degree that if you find money on the street, you turn it in), or the human condition (perhaps you made an insensitive comment or were close-minded in a particular instance).
Before discussing the specific prompts for the Common Application, it’s important to note that there are some general principles for approaching the Common App essay.
First and foremost, the essay is about telling colleges why you are unique and/or what matters to you.
This prompt is probably the most expansive in that you can choose any event that had a major impact on your life.
One option is to discuss a cultural process (such as Bar Mitzvah or Upanayanam in Judaism and Hinduism, respectively) that serves as a formal waypoint on a path to adulthood, but if you do so, make sure to discuss why the ritual made you “feel” like an adult, not just why you became one in practice.
It is absolutely critical that you nail the essay because the majority of your schools will see this essay.
ou’ll want to paint a portrait of yourself that is relatively accessible and has widespread appeal to many colleges (for example, if you are only applying to engineering programs at some of your schools, don’t focus your Common App on STEM at the expense of your other applications. You have several avenues through which you can tell colleges what matters to you, including but not limited to highlighting a central theme of your application that is tied to one or several of your extracurricular activities, focusing on a specific personality trait or strength, or highlighting a particular challenge that you had to overcome.This essay prompt is difficult for many students who grapple with the type of challenge that they should write about.The prompt itself provides three specific suggestions, but it should be clarified that the phrase “anything that is of personal importance” gives you a lot of freedom, allowing you to center your essay around essentially anything that can be loosely called a “problem.” Our advice is to pick a problem that deeply concerns you and make it clear to your reader why that topic matters to you at all, either through an origin story of how you became interested in the query or through an explanation of the potential consequences of the dilemma (depending on your topic).Sign up now to get early access to our platform and get guidance applying to college!With the Common Application for the 2016-2017 live as of August, College Vine’s essay team is sharing the following tips on how to write the all-important Common App essays for the upcoming application cycle.The one thing to keep in mind when responding to this prompt is to avoid sounding morally superior (as if you are the only person who went against this social convention, or that you are better than your peers for doing so).Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve.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.This prompt also represents an opportunity to consider questions of personal identity, whether that takes the form of racial identity, sexual orientation, gender, or simply one’s place within a specific community (even communities as unique as, say, players of World of Warcraft).With the topic of racial identity, it’s important to keep in mind the audience (college admissions counselors tend to be progressive politically), so this might not be the best place to make sweeping claims about reverse racism against Caucasian-Americans.