Just Announced...Essay Prompts on the 2015 Common Application

The Common Application just announced the five prompts for the personal essay that will appear on the 2015-2016 application.  Because the common application is accepted by most universities, this essay will be read by almost every college to which a student applies.

"a story that is yours alone"

The purpose of the personal essay is to give the admissions reader a window onto the student’s personality, a look at who you are as a human being not simply a student.  This essay is a narrative, a story that is yours alone. The essay does not have to say something profound, but it does have to reveal a part of your character.

250 to 650 words

Because the online common application automatically places “character limits” on the personal essay (and in most cases, on the supplemental essays as well) the essay must truly be kept to the word limit noted.  For the personal essay, the word limit is now 650 words, with a minimum of 250 words.  The prompts are:

  • 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 failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • 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 or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

To learn more about composing a compelling essay as well as some of the “do’s” and “don’t’s” please contact ReadySetCollege for a detailed consultation.