Common Application Essay


Some of the Common Application Essay topics for 2017-2018 are the same as last year, some have been changed somewhat, and some new ones have been added. Students will need to create an essay in 250 to 650 words (strictly enforced) using one of the following topics:

  • 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 encounter can 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 realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself and others.
  • Discuss 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[m] 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.

Key features to any essay include the following: your specific interests or passions, a reflection of your personality, a degree of informality, honesty, self-deprecating humor, and energy/vitality.